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Want to some science fun and spread some holiday cheer as well? Try this fizzy Christmas tree science experiment. Combine the messy reaction of baking soda and vinegar with the festive season and you’ll have the best time.
There are so many variations of this activity because it’s always so much fun to do and get messy with your kids.
>> Related: fizzy science experiments
You can’t go wrong with this science project, it’s messy and fun and you already have everything you need in your kitchen.
I only had food coloring gel on hand, not the liquid so I mixed it in with the water first to dissolve it so it makes it super easy to mix it in with the baking soda.
When I finished mixing, it looked fine but I left it with my daughter to mix and then it started to look slushy and wet.
When I tried to shape it, it wouldn’t stay in shape and kept flattening out so I had to add more baking soda. Luckily I had an extra box on hand but really only needed a little bit more.
My daughter enjoyed adding sprinkles to decorate her trees.
Then she went to town. I only had a small pipette for adding in the vinegar. She eventually found this too slow so started dumping in the whole cup of vinegar, this was a lot more fun.
Why yes this did turn into a giant mess, luckily it was contained in the baking pan.
She had a ton of fun sticking her hands in and feeling the paste and playing with her pipette while adding more vinegar.
She kept grabbing clumps of it and squeezing it in her hands. She had a blast. And listening to the fizzy reaction was kind of soothing. She was upset that it didn’t sizzle as much at the end.
I’m telling you, you already have everything you need right now in your pantry. All you need is time to put it together. My kids are huge fans of mixing and pouring chemicals together, in other words, baking so this feels the same.
What is happening when baking soda and vinegar are mixed together?
There are two reactions that are happening. The first is an acid-base reaction where the acid (vinegar) and base (sodium bicarbonate) are mixing together to form two new chemicals: carbonic acid and sodium acetate.
Then, the carbonic acid begins to break down into water and carbon dioxide gas which forms all of the lovely bubbles you see in this reaction.
Need more info and see the chemical formulas here: equation for the reaction of baking soda and vinegar.
This reaction never gets old. You can adapt it to any seasonal them you’d like.
- 1 box of Baking soda
- Green food coloring
- 1/2 cup of Water
- 1 cup of Vinegar
- Add the green food coloring to 1 cup of water.
- In a large bowl, slowly add the water to the baking soda so that you form a paste that is consistent with a grainy toothpaste. I did not use my entire 1 cup of water.
- Add the sprinkles and sequins to the paste.
- Have your child use their hands to form the paste into a Christmas tree form on a baking sheet.
- Use an eyedropper, small cup or spray bottle to add vinegar to the Christmas tree baking soda mixture.
If you find your mixture is too runny and not holding up its shape, then add more baking sode.
If you find that your mixture cannot be formed into a shape because it is too dry, add more water a little bit at a time.