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Science Play – A Rainbow Eruption

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The school holidays have began and one of my goals is to up the science play. Mr 10 loves science and is like a sponge for intel around the subject.

With the two girl around, I needed to come up with an interesting experiment that was also safe for them to be involved in.

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar experiments are always a win at our place but I was keen to come from a different angle and incorporate our Rainbow play theme into the mix.

Keeping in mind my children’s interests, I set up some ‘Rainbow Eruption Trays’!

To make these trays all you need is:

  • Baking Tray
  • Food colouring
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Straw
  • Figurines

To start with drop small amounts of food colouring on the bottom of the tray.

Gently cover the base of the tray with bicarbonate of soda. The colour will be absorbed by the fine white powder. Simply add a little more to these spots to cover them over.

Position the figurines in the substrate to make a little scene using figurines suites to your child’s interests.

Mr 10 loves dinosaurs. His long term goal is to become a paleontologist and discover new dinosaurs around the world. Dino’s were a must for his tray!

Miss 4 and Miss 18m are animal obsessed so I chose a few of our plastic zoo animals for their tray.

Play to your child’s interests. If they aren’t interested in the activity, a child isn’t going to enjoy it or learn anything from it.

I used quite a shallow container to hold the vinegar. Next time, we will use a narrower one so more vinegar can be trapped in the straw resulting in a more dramatic reaction.

Place the straw into the vinegar and then seal the top of the straw with a finger. This will trap the liquid into the straw when lifting it up, out of the vinegar container over above the bicarbonate of soda in the tray.

Break the seal on the top of the straw by lifting the finger to allow the vinegar to flow and land in the tray.

The reaction should be evident straight away! It’s starts by bubbling and sizzling and then reduces to looking almost like craters.

Continue dipping the straw into the vinegar and dripping it over the bicarbonate. As the vinegar works through the depths of the bicarbonate, it will make its way to the colour which looks amazing as it bubbles away!

We were lucky enough to have some of the colours mix together and make new colours!

The kids loves watching the sizzle and it quickly turned into a colour search. After ten minutes or so, Mr 10 began to bring his figurines to life! One of his dinosaurs began breathing fire and it is always so interesting to sit back and just listen to the adventures that his imagination comes up with.

[wpvideo rIla5XoD ]

Our science experiment was a success! I haven’t had an activity keep all three of them entertained together for so long for quite some time. Other than purely entertainment, this activity also delivered the chance to refine some important life skills.

  • Sharing
  • Turn taking
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Cause and effect
  • Sequencing events
  • Crossing the midline
  • Science – chemical reactions
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Following verbal instructions

The bicarbonate ended up setting quite hard and crumbly. Miss 4 alternated between picking it into pieces and then using the base of our little plastic trees to press in flat again.

Throughout this experiment we spoke about lots of topics. From alkalinity reacting with acidity, why dinosaurs became extinct to primary colours and which make which colours when mixed together.

This really is a great activity for the whole family!

Dani D

Disclosure: This Blog does contain affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

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  1. This looks really interesting. I am sure my kids will love this. And I would like to join them in the play.

  2. I know I would have a lot of fun with it when I was a kid. Just seeing the reactions and then the color appearing would have been a lot of fun. And a lot of fun to talk about with dinosaurs.

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