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Painting with vinegar on baking soda

painting with vinegar on bakng soda

Three kids, mesmerized, sitting happily around a table, creating magic with the simplest stuff. Without stopping. For over 40 minutes. I kid you not.

What do you do when you want to hang out with your adult friends who are spending the weekend, but the kids just want you to play monster and chase them all around the house for hours on end? You bust out a cookie sheet (perfect use for the one that my husband has ruined by blackening a few too many vegetables on it’s gentle surface) a lot of baking soda, some white vinegar and food coloring. Oh and glass droppers, which you can often get at your local pharmacy, or, of course, online. (These, by the way, are a good thing to have on hand for all sorts of uses.)

It’s very simple:

  • Set the cookie sheet out (or smaller cake pans, if the kids each need their own surface) and fill it with a generous amount of baking soda. You may want to put a towel underneath, in order to protect the table.
  • Fill small cups (or the compartments of an ice tray) halfway with vinegar.
  • Put a few drops of food coloring in each cup. Show kids how to use droppers and squirt colors onto the vast whiteness of the baking soda trays. Watch them marvel at the fizziness that ensues.
  • Sit back and relax, while your kids play for a good 30 to 45 minutes, if not more, with no need for adult intervention. It is truly a gift from the gods.


If you choose, you can get all science class about the experience and explain to them that carbon dioxide is released when acids (like vinegar) and bases (like baking soda) combine and react to each other. Or you can just keep the whole thing feeling more like a magical arts and crafts show. Up to you.

Oh and a shout out to the excellence of my friend Nancy, who brought all of the above supplies with her to our house (along with her family) this past weekend. A lovely morning was had by all as a result of her foresight. They are welcome at our place any time.

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