Kid Science: Dancing Rice

This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.
How are you surviving the winter?  After snowing all day yesterday and racking up another 10 inches of snow, I am so ready for spring to come.  Only 47 days left!  (But who’s counting?)  You might remember a fun activity I shared a couple of months ago called Color Explosions involving baking soda and vinegar. (If not, you should totally check it out because it’s so much fun!)  I thought I’d throw another baking soda and vinegar experiment out there for you and your kids to try out!  This activity takes basically no prep time at all and uses ingredients you already have at home: water, rice, vinegar, baking soda and food coloring.

First, grab a clear container, such as a glass, and fill it with water so there is about an inch or so of space left at the top.  Add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda and stir it around.

Sprinkle some rice into the water.  (I’ve found that minute/instant rice works well since it’s not as dense.)

Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water.  After a short period of time, you should start seeing the rice “dance” up to the top and then sink back down.  This is due to the carbon dioxide bubbles sticking to the rice and the gas being released once it reaches the top.

You can also add a drop or two of food coloring into the glass for another aspect of visual fun.

Once the rice stops dancing, try adding a little more baking soda and vinegar to the water to see if you can get the reaction going again.

Notes:

  • The larger the container is that you use, the more baking soda and vinegar you’ll have to use to get the reaction going.  So if you find that nothing is happening, try adding a little more of each.
  • Try using different items and see if you can get them to “dance”, such as small pieces of spaghetti or raisins.
  • For older kids, it would be fun to turn it into a real “experiment” by teaching them about why the rice “dances”, having them make notes about how much baking soda/vinegar it takes to get different items to dance, trying different kinds of rice to see if they “dance” differently, etc.
  • Let your kids do as much of the activity as possible.  They will love being the ones to create the reaction!

I hope you have fun with this activity!  (Maybe it will help you from going crazy while your stuck inside this winter like we are.)

What baking soda and vinegar activities have you tried?

Kid Science: Color Explosions

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

As an adult, I forget sometimes how neat the simplest science experiments can be for kids.  So many of these experiments can be done at home with items you already own or are inexpensive to buy.  One such activity is combining baking soda and vinegar and watching the bubbles form.  Add some food coloring and dish soap and you’ve got an even better homemade explosion that will impress your little ones for sure!

While I was pulling out the supplies I needed, my daughter thought we were making some food and scooted her chair on over to see what was going on.  She watched closely and I let her help in the prep as much as I could.  She asked multiple times what I was doing, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.  Here is what you need to do this fun experiment:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Food Coloring

First, put the baking soda into a small container, such as a cup or bowl.  I used about 1 Tbsp of baking soda per glass.  Then, drop some food coloring into the cups.  You can use more or less depending on how bright you want the color to be.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Put some water in a different container and pour at least 1 Tbsp of dish soap in, stirring slowly to mix it around.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Pour some water into the baking soda and stir it around.  Don’t pour too much in, otherwise the water to vinegar ratio will be off and you won’t get as good of an “explosion”.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Place your cups/container on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan to catch any liquid that overflows when you pour the vinegar in.

Pour the vinegar into a measuring cup and give to your child to pour into the cups.  Watch their faces as the baking soda reacts to the vinegar and creates some fun color explosions!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Because the baking soda and vinegar create bubbles, the dish soap you put in will also help increase the explosion.  You can also give them a spoon to stir the mixture around and see if they can get the reaction going again.  My daughter loved mixing the colors together and stirring them around on the pan.

Color explosions are a great year round activity:  In the summer, you can do it outside and easily rinse it off the sidewalk/driveway.  In the winter, you could also create a snow volcano.  I think the next time we do this, I will try using different sizes and shapes of containers to see which ones give the best explosion!

Find 7 other colorful hands on kid activities HERE!

Have you tried baking soda and vinegar experiments before?