This never gets old. NEVER. My big kids at home are as intrigued as my preschoolers when it comes to this simple science activity. We have done different versions of this baking soda reaction experiment, but creating lava during our dinosaur theme may be the most creative to date. And my preschoolers went crazy for the imaginative play aspect that was involved!
Affiliate links included in this post.
Dinosaurs in Lava
Setting up this baking soda science activity is so easy! This is one of the reasons that I consider this a must-do activity, especially with preschoolers.
You probably have the supplies on hand!
In my classroom we used multiple trays on the table so that all of my preschoolers could participate at the same time.
Simple sprinkle baking soda all over the tray bottom. I put an empty glass jar (I save our salsa jars to use in my classroom for water, paint, and sorting activities.) in the middle of the tray and added vinegar to fill almost half of the jar.
I found the plastic dinosaurs that were able to stand up on their own from our toys along with pretend plastic trees and rocks from our toys. I set them up around the trays to resemble a village of dinosaurs.
To make the activity a little more fun, I added a few drops of orange liquid watercolor to the vinegar in the jar. This definitely is not necessary, but my preschoolers loved it!
COLOR TIP! If you want to add color to your vinegar, go with orange over red. Red mixed with the white baking soda makes pink, which may not give the lava color you may be looking for.
Baking Soda & Vinegar Lava!
Before my preschoolers could begin to experiment with the baking soda and vinegar reactions, they had to be reminded (or taught!) again how to use a dropper. This is an important step because it’s a multi-step process that needs to be understood to be successful — and not frustrated!To help my preschoolers, I showed them how to put the dropper into the cup, squeeze, let go, and then drip, drip, drip on to the baking soda. “Squeeze and let go. Drip, drip drip.” Saying it while they were using the droppers helped too!
The chemical reaction between the vinegar, which is an acid, and baking soda, which is a base, creates carbon dioxide. The reaction we saw were all the bubbles that we pretended were bubbly lava.
Using the small droppers allowed for this activity to last a long time. The drops on the baking soda occurred, but still left plenty of baking soda left for more science fun!
As more lava filled the trays, my preschoolers pretended to save the dinosaurs and take down the trees. There were lots of giggles, screeches, and excitement over the baking soda and vinegar reactions. And this was an awesome activity to go along with our dinosaur theme!
Do you have a dinosaur lover on your hands? Check out these other must-try activities!