It sounds like you can’t lose, right? Vinegar plus baking soda equals a spectacular reaction no matter how you do it. Giving your toddler a little something to play with will buy you a little bit of time to get some chores done, and they’ll be experiencing a science reaction all at the same time!
Well…that’s the theory.
In theory, you put your vinegar in ice cube trays, add a little food coloring (or, if you’re smart, add the food coloring, then pour the vinegar into the trays; a measuring cup works great for this), and freeze it, then pop it out right before you’re ready for your child to play. You dump a box of baking soda in a box or a bin, add the vinegar cubes, and watch the fun begin! There will be lots of fizzing, and plenty of giggles!
Again, that’s mostly theory.
Unfortunately, when you drop the vinegar into the baking soda tub, it’s, well, frozen.
And it melts…kind of slowly.
Your toddler might reach in and stir it around a little. If you’ve used it to make fun shapes (like cars!), it might be a little bit more fun. Hey, the car is stuck in the snow! Look at the snow falling down on the car! Look at the…
Yeah, that’s about it.
Even in hot little toddler hands, the vinegar just didn’t melt fast enough to cause the full baking soda reaction. It melted; the baking soda turned funny colors and clumped together; but there was little to no fun fizzing reaction. It wasn’t just the baking soda, either—it was tested with a splash of vinegar straight out of the bottle, and it still seemed to work just fine.
Unfortunately, the project itself was…kind of a flop.
Mom verdict: Well, you live and learn. This one won’t be coming out again.
Toddler verdict: But Mommy, I liked the cars! (Okay, so freeze the cars with water instead…this might have the makings of a future project, anyway!)
Big kid verdict: Hey, it made pretty colors when you got tired of it and melted the rest in the bathtub!