I love integrating rainbows into my preschool lesson plans for March! St. Patrick’s Day is a favorite holiday of mine, and I always associate it with rainbows. So this week’s #PLAYfulpreschool theme was definitely a huge hit with me! 🙂 I’m sharing an idea for some fizzy, scented rainbow science and sensory play today! Ever since we put together our icy, fizzing letters, I’ve wanted to try it out with a rainbow version!
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explore rainbow science that fizzes and smells delicious
Start out by making the scented baking soda “ice” cubes. For each of the colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple), I used the following “recipe”:
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons Jell-O powder
- 1/4 cup water
- Food coloring (optional)
Combine the baking soda and Jell-O powder in a bowl, then add the water and mix. To make the colors brighter, add a few drops of food coloring to the water before pouring it in. This results in a somewhat pasty mixture, so don’t be alarmed that it’s not a liquid. If it’s too thin it won’t set correctly.
Use a spoon to add the mixture to the ice cube tray. I found that the above recipe gave me enough to fill one ice cube tray per color. If needed, tap the ice cube tray on your counter to ensure the mixture settles into the tray evenly.
Place the ice cube trays in the freezer. Once they’re frozen through, remove from the freezer and get the rainbow science going immediately. I’d suggest arranging the cubes in rainbow order.
Exploring the scented rainbow
Now it’s time to bring on the condiment bottles and eye droppers filled with vinegar! Let the children pour and squeeze as they sit fit. Be sure to listen closely as they make observations about what they’re seeing. Ask open-ended questions to really get the children thinking. Encourage the children to experiment to find out the answers to their questions along the way.
I’ve done this experiment a few times with the kids at home, and they already have plans for another try later this week! Here are some of the comments and questions I’ve heard:
- “I can hear it fizzing! Can you hear it fizzing? Hey, what’s making the fizzing sound?”
- “I can smell the vinegar right here [putting nose right by the bowl of vinegar], but I can’t smell it once it’s all mixed up there [pointing to the pan with the experiment in it].”
- “It feels all cold and squishy now!”
- “Why’s it all turning brown? Is it supposed to turn brown when all the colors are together like that?”
- “Hey, I need a new pan please. With lots of vinegar. And a towel probably. I’m going to just use some of the colors. Maybe it won’t turn brown this time.”
This rainbow science experiment allows for an amazing amount of learning (for a variety of age groups)! Here are some of the topics I’ve discussed with preschoolers and elementary-aged children:
- Colors – tons of color identification, along with a discussion of the order of colors in a rainbow
- Color mixing – put just two colors into a pan and let the children see what happens when the colors dissolve and mix together
- The physics of rainbows – while this rainbow science experiment doesn’t delve directly into light and wavelengths, the question “why are the colors in the rainbow always in the same order?” may arise and lead to a great opportunity to discuss this (and plan for further science experiments)
- Chemical reactions – when baking soda and vinegar react, they create the gas carbon dioxide (which makes the bubbling and fizzing)
- Endothermic reactions – when baking soda and vinegar react, the temperature lowers
- Tons of sensory exploration – seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching! It’s a taste-safe experiment so there could be tasting, as well but it wouldn’t taste all the great!
Would your children enjoy our little rainbow science experiment? If you try it, I’d love to hear about how it goes!!
A Full Week of Playful Rainbow Theme Ideas
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
More #PLAYfulpreschool rainbow fun
Rainbow Letter Formation Sticky Wall by Still Playing School
Language Activities for Preschoolers: Rainbow Climb by Growing Book by Book
Rainbow Sensory Bin by Tiny Tots Adventures
Inventing Their Own Songs to Encourage Creativity by Capri + 3
Rainbow Domino Game by Rainy Day Mum
Rainbow Patterns with Blocks by Mom Inspired Life
Scented Rainbow Science and Sensory Play by Fun-A-Day
Preschool Engineering with Rainbows by Natural Beach Living
Design a Rainbow Technology Connection by The Educators’ Spin On It
Disappearing Rainbow Colors by Learning to Walk
Creating Salty Rainbows with Preschoolers by Life Over C’s
Rainbow Ice and Salt Experiment for Preschool by Powerful Mothering.
more ideas to check out
- Top Sensory and Science Activities for Kids
- ABC Learning for Kids with Icy Fizzy Letters
- “I See a Rainbow” Preschool Color Book
- Jell-O Soap Foam Sensory Play
- Super Easy Gold Slime Recipe