Messy science is so fun, especially with young children. And this fizzy apple volcano science experiment is a messy-yet-safe fun science activity for little hands! You can talk about apples, chemistry, colors and sensory explorations all in one simple yet enormously educational activity. And no fancy ingredients required! Just use some common household items, for an explosion of fun!
This fizzy apple experiment is a twist on the baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano classic. We’ve all done these science projects. Mix baking soda and vinegar for a bubbly reaction that looks and acts kind of like lava oozing down the side of a volcano. Well for this fizzy volcano, we’re using an apple!
For more fizzy science, try these experiments.
This fizzy apple volcano science experiment relies on the chemical reaction between an acid and a base. Baking soda — or sodium bicarbonate — is a mineral base. And vinegar — or acetic acid — is, well, as it says, an acid. When a base and an acid mix, you get a salt (sodium acetate), water and carbon dioxide.
The fizzy-ness comes from the quick release of the carbon dioxide as the chemical reaction is happening. Carbon dioxide causes the bubbles in the water that is created as the liquid vinegar dissolves the solid baking soda. And.. fizz! A reaction that looks very cool.
Start your fizzy apple volcano science experiment with an apple. It doesn’t matter what kind you choose. You could even use an apple that’s going bad and won’t be eaten — a good choice, because after this experiment, you aren’t going to want to eat the apple anyway.
This part should be done by the adult, so keep little fingers away. Use a sharp knife to core the top of the apple, so you have a little cone-shape in the center. That’s what will hold the baking soda.
Now you can get the kids involved. Have them loosely fill that cone-shaped hole in the apple with baking soda. And add a few drops of food coloring for a more colorful fizzy volcano effect. You could try combinations of colors and see what happens too!
Once your apple has been filled and colored, it’s time for the main event. Carefully and slowly pour the vinegar over the baking soda. The reaction will start immediately! Bubbly fizzy liquid will ooze down the apple and into the tray around it. It’s messy. It’s colorful. And it’s amazing!
Keep pouring until all the vinegar is gone and all the baking soda has been dissolved. Then clean up and do it again!
As you pour the vinegar, the acid and base molecule bonds break and form new molecules. The energy released is what forces the reaction to keep going.
Physically, the liquid and solid are combining to become a new liquid and a gas. You can talk to your kids about the states of matter as you watch the reaction happen. And it’s the gas coming out of the liquid that causes the bubbles — much like the fizziness of soda pop!
There are so many ways you can extend the learning with this fun fizzy apple volcano science experiment. Whether you talk about chemistry, or the colors, or the sounds, sights and feel of fizzy science, you can use this as a bouncing off point — or fantastic finish — to your unit on states of matter, apples, color mixing or the five senses!
- 1 medium to large apple
- ⅓ to ½ cup of Baking soda
- Cup of Vinegar
- Food coloring (blue, green, purple)
- Cut the core out of the apple with a knife. ***This step should be completed by an adult.
- Set the apple inside a tray.
- Fill the hole in the apple with a scoop of baking soda.
- Drop 3-5 drops of each color of food coloring onto the baking soda.
- Pour the vinegar onto the baking soda and watch what happens!
- Continue to pour the vinegar in until you run out of either the baking soda/vinegar.
- Repeat the steps above if desired, refilling the hole with baking soda, adding food coloring, and pour the vinegar on top.