For July, we wanted to go BIG and celebrate Independence Day in a loud, booming kind of way with some baking soda rockets for kids! These vinegar baking soda rockets are a great STEM project.
As a mom who proudly obsesses over details while spewing out as much educational information as possible during crafts or experiments, I could not wait until July. Knowing the boys are having fun and gaining new knowledge is a great feeling, but don’t be fooled.
It’s not always like a homeschool environment around here. Other times, I just let them paint the patio and hope that I gave them washable paint and it comes off with the hose.
For July, we wanted to go big! We wanted to celebrate Independence Day in a loud, booming way! So we decided to get a little scientific and make some baking soda rockets for kids!
As the little ones integrated different ingredients, I told them the story of our country’s independence. Whereas they asked excellent questions, most of them ended with, “And then we’re going to launch this bottle in the air, right??” It was also great for Mr. J to remember certain scientific words like combustion and scientific theory.
Baking Soda Rockets For Kids
- Baking Soda
- Empty 16oz plastic bottle (We used a water bottle, but any bottle will do.)
- Food coloring (Whatever colors your little one wants. We chose red, yellow and blue to be festive for the Fourth of July.)
- Rubber stoppers (These can be purchased online or at a local craft store such as Michaels. If you followed our posts, you should also have these handy from the beakers used during our volcano experiment!)
- Pencils (Depending on how many bottles you’re setting up, you’ll need three for each bottle rocket.)
- Tape (The stronger the better. We used Gorilla tape.)
- Toilet paper (One-ply. Or, just separate two-ply.)
- Funnel (You’ll thank me later, although a mess will occur regardless. Prepare yourself.) 🙂
- An adult! Do not let your child perform this activity alone!!
NOTE: I suggest you do this OUTSIDE! Even on a covered patio or indoors, these vinegar baking soda rockets will shoot pretty high and cause a mess on the ceiling. Trust me! Haha!
Step 1: Cut a long piece of strong tape for each baking soda rocket you’re going to launch. We did three. This was great practice for scissor use for Jordan and Ryder, especially over the summer since they’re not in school or using them often. (Every step is designed to reinforce milestones and children’s needs for school.)
Step 2: Place one pencil at a time on the outside of the plastic bottle. Cover with tape while wrapping around the bottle and adding the rest of the pencils. Ensure the eraser side is pointed down near the opening of the bottle and is even with one another so the item is balanced once placed on the table. Use a funnel and fill each container with vinegar half way.
Step 3: Add desired food coloring. A few drops will do. This can also be a great chance to add two colors and quiz your little ones on tertiary colors.
Step 4: Rip off a square piece of toilet paper, the thinner the better, and add one spoon full of baking soda in the center. You don’t want to add too much because the toilet paper needs to wrap around the ingredient and be shoved into the hole of the bottle. Adults may need to help – my children just kept covering the table with baking soda and laughing instead.
Get ready for the next few steps to occur QUICKLY! Adults should be fully involved at this stage.
Step 5: Insert the rolled up toilet paper filled with baking soda into the 16oz vessel.
VERY QUICKLY put the rubber stopper in the open hole of the bottle, shake, and flip over with the eraser side of the pencils resting on your table.
STAND BACK and watch the fireworks as these baking soda rockets for kids explode!!
1) Not standing back far enough = Jordan getting some vinegar / baking soda concoction in his eyes. Not fun, but rinsing with cool water fixed the problem immediately and he was back to shooting the next one. And wearing eye protection!
2) Not moving far enough away from the garage = A bottle shooting so high it rolled off the roof of our single story home and got stuck in the gutter. Dad loved that!
3) Not shaking the bottle enough after all ingredients are added = Small explosion, which can still be fun for younger children.
Have lots of fun, and BE SAFE! This may not be the prettiest craft, but it produces loads of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s”! Plus, what child doesn’t love to see things explode!
Looking for more awesome experiments to do with your child like these baking soda rockets for kids?
- Volcano Science Experiment for Kids
- STEM Project: Build a Battery Magnet
- Cotton Candy Experiment for Kids