Fizzy Puddle

 
 
This activity hits so many areas: It’s a sensory activity outdoors featuring water and science! It’s not quite baking soda and vinegar but uses the same chemical reaction. And on top of all of that, it’s just plain fun!
 
We made a puddle fizz - and we didn't bring any vinegar!

(E was 2 years and 8 months old.)

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To make a Fizzy Puddle, you’ll need:

  • A puddle.
  • Baking soda.
  • Kool Aid or similar drink mix powder.
  • Container.
  • Spoon (not strictly necessary but gives better control).
  • Food coloringtempera paint and/or other types of paint (optional).

 

How to get a baking soda and vinegar reaction without vinegar:

Kool Aid and other similar drink mixes contain citric acid that reacts with the baking soda when water is added.

Simply mix some baking soda and some Kool Aid in a bowl and add food coloring or paint if you want to make the color pop more. {Red flavors like cherry or strawberry won’t need any help but yellow flavors in particular tend to not be very intense on their own.}

The mixture does react with liquid paint or food coloring, so only add a little bit of color, or use powdered paint or food coloring.

 

E LOVES puddles. She always has but now she gets to explore them in bare feet and short sleeves which makes it even more fun.

We have a cracked concrete area in our backyard that fills up with water every time it rains. It also dries up fairly quickly in the heat but we’ve been getting a decent amount of rain lately, so we’ve had our own private puddle to do with whatever we feel like for several days in a row.

After a pretty hard rain, E started the day right after breakfast by exploring the puddle.

 

Splashing around the puddle.
 

Watching her, I thought it would be fun to try getting the puddle to fizz with the old baking soda and vinegar trick.

In an attempt to keep it simple, I decided to skip the vinegar and go for mixing baking soda and Kool Aid that I knew would start reacting in a similar way as vinegar and baking soda once it got wet.

I pulled out Lemon Flavor Aid for the first batch. To boost the color intensity a bit, I added a few drops of yellow food coloring.

It wasn’t enough to color the dry mixture thoroughly, just enough to add a little interest while not starting the chemical reaction.

 

Holding the baking soda and Kool Aid mixture.
 

She spooned the mixture into the puddle and soon noticed that it worked best where the water was shallow at the edges of the puddle but not TOO shallow.

 

Spooning the mixture into the puddle.
 

She experimented with different heights to drop the baking soda and Kool Aid mixture from,

 

Dropping baking soda and Kool Aid from a standing position.
 

squished the baking soda that didn’t immediately react into the water with her fingers

 

Squishing baking soda into the puddle.
 

and got her feet in there as well.

 

Feet in the mixture.
 

Although she never dumped the bowl and carefully spooned the mixture where she wanted it, it didn’t last long, and she asked for more.

This time, I used Grape Kool-Aid and added a bit of blue tempera paint.

Again, it wasn’t much paint but this time, I saw a little fizz when I prepared the mixture. I think that’s because tempera paint and Kool Aid react even without help from the baking soda, so it didn’t take much with the added baking soda.

That also meant that it fizzed more than the yellow batch.

 

Blue fizz.
 

I love the way the blue paint washed out into the water.

 

Blue fizz with blue paint washing out into the water.
 

E started playing with the mixture with her spoon

 

Playing with the mixture with a spoon.
 

and made a thick blue paste.

 

Spreading the blue mixture on the ground.
 

After that, it was time to wash the spoon

 

Washing her spoon in the puddle.
 

before she turned it blue again 😉

 

Swishing her spoon through the blue mixture again.
 

Of course she had to try this batch with her feet as well – and thanks to the tempera paint, they actually changed color this time 😉

 

Blue feet.
 

After she’d gone through the second batch, she was done and asked for a sponge to clean out the bowl

 

Cleaning the bowl.
 

then kept herself busy for a while wiping off everything in sight 😉

 

Wiping the patio.
 
 
Wiping a pillar.

 

 

What I learned:

  • Coloring the mixture with tempera paint improved the reaction, although I thought the color looked a bit more interesting in the first batch. I don’t think E really cared either way, she would’ve had just as much fun if it had been white.
  • The reaction wasn’t visible in deeper water but if the spot was too dry, it didn’t properly get going.

 


Additional suggestions:

  • If you don’t have a puddle handy, try this in a sink, bathtub or bowl but it might not be easy to hit the sweet spot where there’s just enough water. {Or bring water and make your own puddle 😉 }
  • Make a colorful puddle with colored baking soda, then add vinegar for a more traditional chemical reaction. {Definitely check out the link below for awesome pics!}

 

Inspiration: Growing a Jeweled Rose’s awesome puddle activities.

 

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