Here’s how I like to set up experimentation for my two-year olds. I use trays on a low table. I spread baking soda on the tray and then fill small squeeze bottles with vinegar.
- Keep the tops on the squeeze bottles twisted down low so it doesn’t all pour out so fast that the joy is gone immediately. Then it becomes more about pouring rather than observing the reaction.
- Have a funnel that fits in the top of your squeeze bottles handy for refilling the vinegar. Unless you have an unlimited supply of bottles you will be doing this A LOT.
- Put some dish soap in the squeeze bottles. Not only does it make the vinegar come out a little more slowly but it makes the reaction slower.
- Put a little liquid watercolor in the squeeze bottles. I just use primary colors. This way you have something to talk about with the kids who aren’t impressed by the bubbles.
- Have more baking soda standing by. When the bubbles stop but there’s still vinegar left, you can add more. You may need to dump the trays periodically.
If you do this outside then cleanup is a breeze. Just dump the trays outside and clean them with the hose (or let the kids do it). You can also do this activity in the sensory table, but for some reason there seems to be more squirting in eyes at this age when you do it there.
Need a refresher on the chemical reaction itself? Baking soda + vinegar = water + carbon dioxide + sodium acetate (more or less).