Mad Scientist Play - Colour Explosions

As a Mummy blogger I am a bits and bobs hoarder; Meaning I keep anything that has prospective crafting or activity purpose. Among my craft cupboards (yes there are many) I had a collection of empty bottles in different shapes and sizes from baby wash, hair conditioner, drink bottles, vases and so forth, plus squirts from hand washes and sprays from bench cleaners that I've rinsed out. I knew I would use them for something cool one day. Here it is!

In Australia its warming up, days are getting lighter and warmer for longer and so along with the Spring air comes lots of outdoors play. The usual bike riding, ball throwing, digging and playing around the yard is all good and fun but this afternoon I set up a mini science lab for Dimples to experiment with.

Dimples had 2 types of experiments to perform as a Mad scientist. I set up a plastic tub station of bottles, three bottles with white vinegar in them and a few drops of food colour, I chose our three prime colours so as they exploded out he would see them mix in the clear tray they sat in. Then in the other two (the vase and the tall bottle) I did a ratio of canola oil and coloured water for some lava lamp eruptions. We have done this before so Dimples knew exactly what to do.

Getting inspired by the set up and the brightly coloured bottles waiting he went and put on his dress up doctor kit, which became his Mad scientist suit, one of my caps that he dubbed a Mad Scientist cap and some clear safety glasses from Adventures Dads tool shed. He was set and ready.

Dimples first broke open some alka-sielter tablets (you know those tablets that are for upset stomachs, you probably have some in the medicine cabinet) and dropped them into the oil filled bottles. See above. The tablet sinks to the water then it fizzes away in the water which makes the coloured water bubble up and erupt into the oil in blobs but as we know it doesn't mix, so it makes it look like a lava eruption. Pretty cool. Dimples had a close up watch until it settled then tried a larger piece to make even bigger coloured eruptions.

The second experiment was vinegar explosions using coloured vinegar in bottles and bicarb soda. The blue worked so well that it did actually splash Dimples in the face. Lucky he had his scientist safety glasses on. The trick to making a good explosion is to be prepared with everything you need on hand, plus extra. Make sure you put enough vinegar in the bottle so that it is about 2/3 full with enough room for it to fizz/build up and spout out the top.  Use a bottle with a small hole, narrow neck and use a wide funnel so that you can get a shot of bicarb soda into the container in one hit.

Dimples had go after go, of course the very first time worked the best with a huge explosion erupting so quickly it exploded out the top of the funnel before he had a chance to move it. Then he tried the blue witha  huge grin and a very loud "Woah" as he shook his vinegar covered hands but each one still continued to fizz over for several tries and the colours that splashed out onto the tray started mixing and looking very cool indeed. Dimples noticed the colours that were mixing and swirled his fingers around in them.

Do you have a Small Scientist waiting to perform some experiments like these?  
I'd love to hear how it goes, leave me a comment below

Learning Concepts:
Science; Oil/Water & Vinegar/Bicarb
Colour recognition
Mixing Prime Colours
Role Playing & Pretend Play
Hands on

Ideas to Extend with:
Volcanic Explosions
Colour Mixing on Ice crystals
Do it in the dark; Glowing Vinegar Science
Mixing Prime Colours in bags

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  1. Oh my goodness, that looks like crazy fun!!!!!!! :D

  2. How much fun is this?! We've done a colored water thing before but I never thought to add a scientific twist to it. Great idea! He looks like he's so deep in concentration! :)

  3. Looks like so much fun! Love the safety goggles. My kids would really love this.

  4. So much fun with experimenting! I just love his little outfit and the serious face...brilliant!

  5. What a great post! It's math (measurement), science, dramatic play and just plain fun! Love the goggles the most!

  6. Fun! Great idea for Summer - will keep that up my "I'm bored Mum" sleeve. :)

  7. so much fun!!! Love that he is even wearing a white coat!

  8. Ha wonderful young scientist! Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library. I am featuring this on iGameMom "18 fun Science activities for kids of all ages".



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