They explode, they erupt, they are messy and boy are they fun! What could cause so much excitement? That’s right, baking soda and vinegar experiments. Go beyond the old baking soda and vinegar volcanoes and discover a world of new experiments to thrill your kids!
Chemistry for Kids – Sodium Bicarbonate and Vinegar Reactions
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We love science experiments around here, but, often for my own sanity, we keep things easy, by just playing with variations of our favourite physics or chemistry reactions. One of our all time favourites is the simple baking soda and vinegar experiments.
Immediately, I am sure you are thinking of the old fashion Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcanoes we all built as children. We love that experiment too, but you can do lots of other things with this awesome reaction that don’t involve a whole lot of paper mache construction.
A quick note for those not in North American. Baking Soda is also known as Sodium Bicarbonate in many parts of the world.
These activities explore the popular baking soda and vinegar reaction, which is a simple acid-base chemical reaction. Vinegar or Acetic Acid has the chemical formula CH3COOH . Baking soda is a base also known as Sodium Bicarbonate and has the chemical formula NaHCO3 . During this reaction the products are sodium acetate ( C2H3NaO2 ). Sodium acetate is made of 1 sodium ion, 2 carbon atoms, 3 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The other products are water ( H2O) and carbon dioxide ( CO2 ). Carbon dioxide is the gas that causes the bubbling during the reaction.
Here is the chemical formula of this reaction
C2H4O2 + NaHCO3 -> NaC2H3O2 + H2O + CO2
vinegar + sodium bicarbonate -> sodium acetate + water + carbon dioxide
Is the reaction endothermic or exothermic?
It takes energy to break the chemical bonds in baking soda and vinegar. When this happens energy is released when the carbon dioxide, sodium acetate, and water are formed. Since more energy was needed to break the baking soda and vinegar apart, the temperature goes down. This is called an endothermic reaction. That means Baking Soda and Vinegar reactions are endothermic.
Now we know the science, let’s dig into some fun experiments!
Here are our top 10 favourite baking soda and vinegar experiments that the kids love doing over and over and over again! The best part, most of these are super easy science experiments. Great for those afternoons when you need a quick, fun project that will appeal to any age.
Measuring Chemical Reactions – Fireworks Experiment
Baking soda and vinegar is the perfect reaction to start learning some basic chemistry principles including how to measure a chemical reaction. In this experiment we have a fun Fireworks inspired reaction (great for July 4th), followed by a deep dive into chemistry as kids learn how to measure a chemical reaction with simple kitchen supplies.
Building Bottle Rockets is such a fun activity for all ages, but especially as a year end celebration or summer camp activity. With this activity we are exploring the pressure and physics caused by a contained baking soda and vinegar reaction. And the results are spectacular!!
Greenhouse Effect Experiment
This powerful experiment demonstrates the heat capturing properties of greenhouse gases. An excellent project to do for Earth Day or as part of a unit study on environmental sciences and climate change. Create the Greenhouse Effect in a jar.
Hatching Dino Eggs
One of our most popular activities with everyone from the very young to the young at heart are these little Dino Eggs. Everyone dreams of hatching their very own dinosaur baby and in this fun activity you make it happen with a fizzy, fun and gorgeous chemical reaction.
Erupting Rainbow Rocks
Erupting rainbow rocks are a gorgeous, colourful science experiment that is so easy to do. Be prepared for lots of squeals of excitement and gasps of wonder as the rainbow of colours magically appear in the fizz!
Erupting Black Hole Science
We love studying space around here, and this is a fantastic activity for your star gazers and aspiring space travelers. Inspired by the first photographs of a black hole, we created this fun and interactive Space STEM Activity – Erupting Black Holes!
Magic Colour Changing Oobleck
Imagine changing the colour of something, simply with chemistry. This Colour Changing Oobleck activity was not originally meant to be a baking soda and vinegar reaction, in fact we were simply setting out to test pH. Then we saw those fizzy little reactions as our Oobleck changed colour. Accidental discoveries in science are so much fun!
Baking Soda vs Baking Powder
Got a budding scientist on your hands that wants to run their very own science lab? This is a fantastic activity for kids to put their investigation skills to the test. Make sure you use test tubes and beakers for the best lab experience. Don’t forget the lab coat. Your young scientists will love this investigative activity exploring the differences between baking soda and baking powder.
Balloon STEM Activity
Like our bottle rockets, in this activity we are capturing the CO2 gases that result from a baking soda and vinegar reaction. Using our STEM skills we tested different ratios to see how it affects the inflating of our balloons. We have done this experiment for Groundhog Day and Halloween. It is great fun and can be easily adapted for any theme and is super easy to do.
After years of failure we finally found success making slime with contact lens solution and baking soda. Well it didn’t take long for the kids to start asking… what would happen if we added vinegar? And our Erupting Volcano Slime was born!
Puking Pumpkin Volcano
Take your fall Halloween celebrations to a new level of “EEEWWWW” with Puking Pumpkin Volcanoes! This simple activity always delights the kids.
STEAM Chemistry Christmas Tree Activity
This is a great Christmas STEAM activity, but if you need something for a different time of year, simply switch out your Silicone Molds to change the theme of this activity for any holiday or event. We’ve done it for Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Dinosaur themed and more. Kids get to decorate their Christmas Tree then make it erupt in a colourful chemical reaction.
This easy science experiment glows under black light! Kids love the gorgeous glowing reaction and fizz. And it is simple enough they can do this experiment easily themselves. Be ready for them to ask to do it over and over and over again!
Have a great time exploring the amazing reaction between baking soda and vinegar! Your kids are going to have a blast!
Ready to dig into more Chemistry learning in a fun, interactive way? Try our Periodic Table of Elements BINGO game!
Have fun learning and exploring with chemistry!