At Home With Hands On!

Fizzy Valentine Play Dough (2/3/16)

MATERIALS:

  • cornstarch (1/2 cup)
  • baking soda (1/2 cup)
  • hair conditioner (as needed)
  • food coloring
  • vinegar
  • bowl
  • cake pan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take your bowl, and mix the baking soda and cornstarch in it.
  2. Slowly begin to add hair conditioner into the baking soda and cornstarch mix. This is what will make your play dough “doughey!”
  3. Add in your choice of food coloring to the mixture.
  4. Knead, knead, knead! Keep mixing all those ingredients together to get a nice and squishy dough. (If the dough is too sticky, add more cornstarch. If the dough is too dry, add in a little more conditioner).
  5. When you have your play dough at the consistency you like, go ahead and place it on your cake pan to mold it into a shape! (In honor of Valentine’s Day this month, shape it into a heart! Or better yet, find a Valentine’s Day cookie cutter to cut a mold out of the dough)! The possibilities are endless.
  6. To make the reaction longer, go ahead and slowly (SLOWLY) pour the vinegar onto your dough. After a second or two, you should see it begin to fizz! Keep adding vinegar to the dough and watch it fizz away!
  7. Take notes on the reaction happening – what would happen if you changed the mixture to more baking soda and less cornstarch? Would water work as well as conditioner? Explore!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

This fizzy Valentine’s Day dough reaction is a fun alternative to the classic science fair volcano experiment – same reaction between vinegar and baking soda, just a different way to explore it! (You also get the added bonus of having some play dough to build and play with until you decide to fizz it away)!

So why does vinegar react with baking soda to make our heart bubble away? Our baking soda (which in chemistry terms could be referred to as a stable base), reacts with our vinegar (which is an acid). When these two come together, they react to form an entirely new substance – carbon dioxide! Simply put, vinegar and baking soda have a lot of energy when they are mixed together, which is the reason they like to explode and fizz things away!