If you want to try STEM activities for toddlers and preschoolers, start with easy, fun things! This fizzing rainbow experiment fits the bill perfectly and is so easy a toddler can do it!
My kids love STEM activities. Most of what we do is geared toward my fifth grader, but Bo, in preschool, also loves science experiments and STEM activities.
I made these toddler STEM challenge cards as a way to have plenty of toddler-friendly STEM ideas on hand at all times.
You don’t have to be a big kid to enjoy fizzing baking powder and vinegar rainbow science!
What are Toddler STEM Activities?
Toddlers can barely walk, so why should they be doing toddler STEM activities? A STEM activity (with elements of science, technology, engineering, and math) isn’t just about academic learning.
When toddlers and preschoolers complete STEM activities, they are learning about how the world works.
In fact, if you let a toddler or preschooler explore something on their own, you’ll find they use many of the basics of STEM thinking, which includes:
- Creating a Theory
- Recording Data
Toddlers and preschoolers naturally go through this discovery and learning phase.
With STEM activities for toddlers, the exploration and discovery is all open-ended, giving them the chance to see how things work together without the confines of strict academic learning.
This helps the children develop their creativity and sense of wonder, opening their minds to the excitement and joy of learning.
In fact, the toddler and preschool age group is one of my favorites to do STEM activities with!
Learn how to complete the fizzing rainbows baking sods and vinegar science experiment below!
The Baking Soda and Vinegar Reaction Explanation for Toddlers
Use these toddler STEM challenge cards to take your toddler and preschool STEM activities to the next level!
Bo loves rainbows and she loves hands-on activities. I made my toddler STEM challenge cards with her in mind (even though she’s a bit beyond the toddler stage).
The first card we pulled out said, “make a baking soda and vinegar reaction.”
Toddlers and preschoolers won’t understand the chemistry behind the baking soda and vinegar reaction experiment, but they can understand cause and effect.
Talk about how when you pour the vinegar over the drops of food coloring that it will start to bubble and a rainbow will appear.
The colors will mix beautifully and the kids will be delighted!
The baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction explanation
Why does baking soda and vinegar fizz when mixed together?
The answer is a chemical reaction! Toddlers won’t be able to understand that when baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) mix, they create a byproduct of carbon dioxide gas.
The gas escaping causes the fizzing rainbow. and the leftover liquid from the vinegar (now neutralized) is left to complete the colors of the rainbow.
What you’ll need for the baking soda and vinegar reaction:
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- toddler STEM challenge cards
- Baking soda
- 1/4 cup measuring cup
- Pipettes (we LOVE these and use them all the time!)
- Food coloring (we used red, green, blue, and purple)
Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment Set-Up
Before getting started, you’ll need to set up a bit.
First, place a layer of baking soda about 1/4 of an inch thick on your plate.
Make a rainbow with your food coloring by placing dots of color in a rainbow pattern.
Pour 1/4 of a cup of vinegar into the measuring cup.
Now you are ready to do the experiment with toddlers or preschoolers.
How to Do the Baking Soda and Vinegar Chemical Reaction with Toddlers
Give your toddler or preschooler a pipette, the plate, and the vinegar.
Show your toddler how to pick up the vinegar and squeeze it onto the food coloring. A rainbow will form and start to fizz.
Repeat the experiment until all the vinegar is used.
Bo really loved seeing the colors of the baking soda and vinegar reaction rainbow come to life and mix as she did this experiment.