A fun activity with the potential for tons of science discussion that will captivate the attention of children 1-4 years old? Oh yes, I'm sold! I first saw this activity on an August post at Biting The Hand That Feeds You. As I thought about it, I decided to do a mini-series about Fizzy Science for Preschoolers. I plan on doing a Fizzy Fun Preschool Science Activity post once a week for about a month. I'm homeschooling Kaia this year (her preschool year) and love to use science activities that the other kids can participate in. While everyone has fun doing the activity, the younger kids tend to ignore conversation that's over their heads. They still pick up more than you would expect them to, but they don't get stressed out about information they don't understand. The 2-year old here, for example, told me when he wanted "the vinegar to spray and make fizz!"
On to the fun! What exactly are we doing? We made Fizzing Sidewalk Paint with all the kiddos, then went outside and let them paint all over the carport. When they began to finish painting, I let them spray the vinegar on the paint and watch it fizz! The activity picked up life again as they sprayed all their paint and then painted more just to spray.
Fizzing Sidewalk Paint Recipe:
** Carefully add: about 1 cup of very warm water
** Stir in the water. You may want a little more/less to get the best texture possible. Cornstarch is difficult to work with, but if you give it enough water and frequently stir it, it will stay runny enough. Detailed artwork is not the goal today.
** Divide the paint into three bowls or cups and add about 3-4 drops of food coloring to each bowl. Carefully stir the color in well.
** Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and go outside for the fun! (Alternatively, you could paint on a cookie sheet on your kitchen floor, but that will get quite messy.) I used (and would recommend) cut up sponges instead of paintbrushes.
What topics could you discuss before, during, and after the activity? Here's a few: measuring, mixtures, colors and mixing colors, reactions, gas/liquid/solid, and acids/bases. Don't get carried away trying to teach everything, though. I didn't even bring up acids or bases because I'm going to wait until she has some more background experience with reactions. I did tell her that when you mix vinegar and baking soda they react to make bubbles. Lots of things react, and I'm going to wait a bit before we try to classify reactants.
This activity was a huge hit! My younger kids enjoyed it just as much as Kaia! Harry (15 months) loved painting with the sponges, painting with his hands, and watching/making the paint fizz!