Two of the most ordinary ingredients and a small plastic container combine for some science fun. Have you tried baking soda vinegar rockets? This activity is best done outside. Once the rocket is fueled up, stand out of the way. It shoots off with quite a pop and can hurt if it hits a body part.
Scrounge through your junk drawer for a small plastic film canister, the kind where the lid fits inside. Pour some vinegar in a dish. Your child can measure out three spoons of vinegar and carefully pour them into the film canister. Spread out one or two squares of toilet paper. Using a dry spoon, have your child scoop out two spoons of baking soda and mound in on the toilet paper. Fold this up to make a small packet. Have the lid right close. Kids can put the paper and soda ball into the container and adults quickly snap on lid. Turn it over, place on the ground, and step back. Start counting down.
Likely, the rocket will shoot up into the air with a loud pop before you even get to the words blast off. Watch where the plastic container lands so you can do it again. Proportions do not have to be exact, but generally a bit more vinegar than soda.
Here’s a link to a pdf about the Film Canister Rocket from PBS Kids. Kids can draw and color on a piece of paper and wrap it around to make a rocket. There are several other variations on the Internet to try too.
The kids liked hunting for the film canister. It usually wasn’t too far away. After doing this simple rocket science for awhile, we were hot and sticky. Fortunately, we had another kind of rocket for cooling down—a water rocket.
The water rocket is a sort of sprinkler. A switch with a button to push attaches to the garden hose. The switch has a short tube that feeds into a plastic rocket. When a foot presses on the button, the water from the garden hose blasts into the rocket and sends it up in the air. The rocket then dumps a small amount of water onto delighted kids. There wasn’t a lot of water at a time, but somehow the kids were soaked quite quickly.
Two kinds of blasts offs, baking soda vinegar rockets and a water one, made for great fun. Is there some rocket play in your child’s day?
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