We needed baking soda, vinegar, plastic spoons, food coloring, cups, and a cookie sheet. My mom had given me this stack of plastic cups, knowing they were little enough for the kids to use. They were perfect for this activity. I also got out a foil pan to contain our little experiment.
I lined up the spoons on my oldest (grossest) cookie sheet, and then I placed 2-3 drops of food coloring on each spoon. On one spoon, I tried to mix several colors to be brown/black.
Then I covered each spoon with baking soda. I found it easiest to use an extra spoon to scoop the baking soda and dump it onto each spoon.
I filled some of the cups with water and some with vinegar. My foil pan did not have a very flat bottom. I tried to put the cups on all the flattest spots, so I ended up with 11 cups total.
TIP: The vinegar cups ended up overflowing when they reacted, so I recommend only putting about 1-1.5 inches of vinegar into each cup (about 1/4 cup).
I carefully carried everything outside so we could get started.
I had Griffin and Nora wear older clothes in case they got food coloring on them. Nolan chose just to take off his precious Hulk shirt so it would be safe. :)
The kids actually did great taking turns. One child would pick up a spoon and carefully place it in a cup. As they stirred, we would first see if the cup had water or vinegar, and then we could see what color was hidden on the spoon.
Vinegar and yellow
Water and purple
And the fun kept going!
The cups after the activity:
The kids absolutely LOVED this activity. They sweetly asked if we could do it again. So...
I just rinsed out the cups and wiped off the spoons with a paper towel. Then I set it up for round two. We did it all again, taking turns in a different order this time.
The cups after Round 2:
The spoons after Round 2:
Then I told the kids they could play with the colored liquids. For just a second, I thought about teaching them about mixing colors. Then I let it go and watched them do what they wanted.
This was inevitable:
They really enjoyed themselves.
This activity was a HUGE success. I could have easily thrown away the cups and spoons (and even the foil pan) for easy cleanup. However, I'm anticipating that we'll be doing this again soon, so I just washed everything and kept it for future use.
When we came inside for lunch Nora said, "That was thun!" (her pronunciation of "fun"). Griffin later asked if we could do "that fun craft" again. I used about a third of the box of baking soda, and I still have plenty of vinegar (thanks to overbuying for Easter egg dying). We are going to keep working our way through our Summer List, but I do think we'll be coming back to this activity at some point.