Chemical Reactions Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Conduct these fun experiments to help kids learn more about chemical reactions. Learn more about what materials you need to conduct the experiments, and find instructions for trying them with your students or children.

Fizz and Foam

Your students or children can learn and get messy at the same time with this experiment. You'll need the following supplies before you begin, increasing the amounts depending on the number of kids conducting the experiment:

  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. laundry detergent
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. vinegar
  • food coloring
  • 12 oz. glass
  • waterproof tray
  • teaspoon

Students should place their glass on the tray and then add the baking soda and laundry detergent. Next, they add the water and some food coloring before stirring the mixture. Finally, they should add the vinegar, resulting in a mass of foam that should cover the tray. You can also substitute grape juice for the food coloring to result in a color change during the foaming part of the experiment.

This experiment demonstrates the chemical reaction between the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda and the acid in vinegar, which produces carbon dioxide gas, sodium acetate and water. The carbon dioxide forms bubbles, which are held together by the laundry detergent.

Help your students or children learn more about chemical reactions with the lesson, What Is a Chemical Reaction? - Definition & Effects. You can have them work on this lesson before or after the experiment, reinforcing what they've learned.

Foamy Fountain

Now that your students understand basic chemical reactions, you can introduce them to the effects of catalysts! You can prepare for this experiment with these supplies:

  • 16 oz. soda bottle
  • 1/2 c. 20-volume (6%) hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tbsp. dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • liquid dish soap
  • food coloring
  • small cup
  • safety goggles

Keep in mind that this experiment is messy, so make sure you plan accordingly. It's also important that an adult handle the hydrogen peroxide, as it can irritate skin and eyes. So, before your students begin, go ahead and add the hydrogen peroxide to the bottles.

Your students will add 8 drops of food coloring to their bottle and then the dish soap, before mixing them together. In the cup, they should mix the water and yeast for about 30 seconds. Then pour the yeast water into the bottle and stand back!

This experiment will most likely be far more bubbly than the first. This is because the yeast serves as a catalyst, helping the chemical reaction take place very quickly. You can make this connection clearer by having kids add different amounts of yeast to their bottles, or adding the yeast and water separately to see how the reaction changes.

Your children or students can find out more about the role of catalysts in chemical reactions with the middle school chemistry lesson, Chemical Reaction Catalyst: Rates & Overview. Incorporating this lesson with the experiment can help students absorb this scientific concept while having fun.

Cold and Warm Reactions

Kids can learn about the effects of heat and cold on chemical reactions with this experiment. Get ready with these supplies:

  • baking soda
  • calcium chloride
  • water
  • graduated cylinder
  • 1/2 tsp.
  • 4 small plastic cups
  • 2 plastic containers
  • hot water
  • cold water
  • masking tape
  • pen

First, your children or students need to get ready by using the tape and pens to label two cups 'baking soda solution' and two cups 'calcium chloride solution.' They should then add 20ml of water and a ½ tsp. of baking soda to one of the baking soda cups using the graduated cylinder and mixing until the baking soda dissolves. Half of this mixture should be poured into the other baking soda cup.

Using the graduated cylinder, students then add 20 ml of water and ½ tsp. of calcium chloride to one of the calcium cups, mixing until the calcium chloride dissolves. They should pour half of this solution into the other calcium cup.

Next, students should pour hot water into one of their plastic containers and cold water into the other, not deep enough to submerge the cups. Students should put one baking soda and one calcium cup in the hot water, moving them for about 30 seconds, while a partner puts the other two cups in the cold water and does the same.

Once the solutions are appropriately heated and cooled, the students should combine the two warm solutions together and the two cold solutions together, watching how they react.

The hot solution should react much faster than the cold solution, demonstrating to students the effects of heat and cold on chemical reactions. They can find out more about the effect of temperature on chemical reactions with the lesson, Rate of a Chemical Reaction: Effect of Temperature. Using this experiment and lesson together can help students get the most from their study time.

Further Learning

Help your students learn even more about chemistry-related topics with the Chemistry: Middle School and Science for Kids courses. These self-paced courses include a series of video lessons like the ones mentioned above, and use interactive quizzes and worksheets to help students brush up on their science knowledge. Kids can even submit a question to an instructor if they get stumped.

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