School-aged children can use this fun experiment to understand simple reactions between acids and bases. You will better understand sequences of events, measuring, mixing colors, and being creative in making a pumpkin. You will practice various cognitive skills in this activity. It is also an easy way to spark an interest in science that can support future exploration! Celebrate your inner scientist with accomplishments and discoveries.
Cookie sheet or a flat tray
A small cup (to cut out a circle for the pumpkin)
¾ cup of baking soda
Yellow and red food coloring (or orange)
¼ cup of Vinegar
¼ cup of Water
Green or brown pipe cleaners
This recipe makes about 4 pumpkins
Let's Get Started!
Step 1: Set out your bowl and spoon. Measure and add ¾ of a cup of baking soda to the bowl. Then add ¼ of a cup of water. Next, add 1 drop of red food coloring and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. This will make an orange color paste. Mix together really well.
Tip: add ½ of a cup of baking soda
and ¼ cup of water, add food coloring,
and mix well.
Then add the remaining ¼ cup.
It mixes easier this way!
Reminder: ½ + ¼ = ¾
Reminder: red + yellow = orange
Step 2: Lay down aluminum foil, it should be enough to cover your work area (around 2 feet). This prevents your orange paste from sticking to the counter! Dump your orange paste from your bowl onto the aluminum foil. Pat the paste until it is about a ½ inch thick. (You can use a rolling pin if you have one.)
Note: you can make it as thick as you want, but you will need to add more vinegar to see the reaction take place, and make your pumpkin fizz.
Step 3: Use your small cup to cut out a circle shape in your paste. If you want to make more than one pumpkin flatten the scraps of the paste and roll it out again to make it big enough to cut another circle out.
Step 4: Cut your green or brown pipe cleaner 3 inches long, and wrap around your finger to make it curly.
Step 5: Stick your pipe cleaner into the top of the pumpkin, pat the paste around and on top of the stem so it sticks. This is the stem of your pumpkin!
Step 6: Take your pumpkins and move them to your cookie sheet.
Step 7: Pour around ¼ of a cup of vinegar into a glass. Next, pour the vinegar on top of your pumpkins.
Watch the reaction and the pumpkins fizz!
Why do they fizz? This is called a chemical reaction. Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid, when the two are mixed it creates a new substance- carbon dioxide. Which makes bubbles!
Step 8: You can play with the new pumpkins in the pan if you want! It is fun to squish with your hands.
Step 9: Wash your hands!
Step 10: Help clean up! This science experiment is a little bit messy but super fun. Always remember to help clean when you are done having fun.