Baking soda, Jell-O powder, and water were all I used for this simple experiment for kids! Girly Girl and Engineer wanted a “fun experiment” to do while Little Hurricane was napping (and it was raining yet again). So I grabbed a few items already in my kitchen and set it up. I called it a secret experiment, so they weren’t allowed into the kitchen until it was all set up. I think making it mysterious made them even more excited to try it out! 🙂
I placed a thin layer of baking soda in the bottom of a glass pan. Then I placed alternating lines of cherry and lemon Jell-O powder on top. I covered everything over with another layer of baking soda — just enough to hide the colors. Then I filled two glass bowls with water, setting the bowls out alongside plastic syringes and eyedroppers. Once that was all set up, I called the kiddos over.
In case you’re wondering, I chose water instead of vinegar for two reasons — (1) I wanted the activity to focus more on colors, and (2) I wanted to see if there would be any reaction without the vinegar. Jell-O powders have some acids in them, so I thought there might be a slight reaction.
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The kids came into the kitchen and got right to “work”. They loved using the syringes, and they were very interested to see what the mystery was. At first, both kids were surprised when they saw colors beginning to shine through the baking soda. Engineer, who’s used to my tricks, figured it out pretty quickly. Once the cherry and lemon scents became obvious, he yelled, “There’s Jell-O in here, isn’t there, Mama?!” I admitted that’s what I’d done, but encouraged them to keep going.
After a bit more water was added, Girly Girl noted that the colors had started to mix together. “Hey! It’s making it all orange!” From there, they were quick to add more water and mixed most of the colors together. They also grabbed the rest of the Jell-O powders to see if they could make the colors stronger.
As the kids were mixing everything up, Engineer noticed that there was a weird noise coming from the pan. “Mama, it’s fizzing! And I see bubbles!” He went on to smell the water, checking to see if it was vinegar. After that, he took a closer look at the bubbles. The reaction wasn’t nearly as strong as vinegar and baking soda, but there was still a reaction. In fact, the bubbling noise was a bit stronger, even if the bubbles themselves were a lot weaker.
Once everything was mixed together, Engineer and Girly Girl enjoyed just playing around with the mixture. They ran their hands through the mixture, measured it, and kept using the syringes to transfer it between bowls. The kids enjoyed themselves for about an hour and half with this simple sensory experiment.
Have you ever done simple experiments or activities that were a big hit? I’d love to hear about them! 🙂