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Your Kids Will Go Crazy for This DIY Erupting Rainbow

Kelly Dixon is the blogger at SmartSchoolHouse.com and author of Crafts for Kids- Year Round Activities for Holidays, Parties, & More. Smart School House is a place for DIY crafts, activities for kids and families, easy recipe ideas, tra...

Work a little education into your kids' fun with a cool rainbow experiment

Cold weather is almost behind us, but then we're onto spring break. Raise your hand if you're looking for some new indoor entertainment for your kids!

I'm Kelly Dixon from Smart School House and I'm here to share a fun, easy indoor activity with you. The best way to prevent your kids from going nuts in the house is to plan activities as often as possible. Kid-friendly crafts and activities don't have to be expensive though. Today's "experiment," as we'll call it, uses ingredients that you most likely have in your kitchen already. If the sun isn't shining outside, we might as well create rainbows inside.

More: 10 St. Patrick's Day Green Food Recipes Kids Will Love

Chances are, you might have done this experiment at school when you were a student. If not, it's so easy. Kids love to make explosions or watch things react to form bubbles. While this rainbow doesn't explode everywhere (that just isn't necessary, right moms?), it will definitely erupt and bubble over each container.

Work a little education into your kids' fun with a cool rainbow experiment

To get started, you will need:

  • Small plastic containers
  • Rainbow food colors (I used the gel kind found at a craft store)
  • Plain white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A hard and easy-to-clean surface (a little soap and water will do the trick)

To make an exploding rainbow:

  1. Place a drop of food coloring at the bottom of each plastic container.
  2. Fill up each container 1/2 way with vinegar
  3. When your kids are ready and eager with anticipation, drop 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda into each plastic cup.
  4. The mixture will start to fizz, then it will bubble, then it will rise, and before you know it the colors will explode over the containers and melt into each other on the table!

The reaction happens quickly, so be ready! If there is leftover liquid in the containers, add a little more baking soda or vinegar and watch it happen again.

Hint: Carbon dioxide is a gas that's created when vinegar (an acid) is mixed with baking soda (a base).

Work a little education into your kids' fun with a cool rainbow experiment

If you're in the mood to teach your kids about what is going on, there are a few different approaches you could take.

For younger kids, discuss the mixing of the colors. Ask questions about what happens when certain colors mix. Maybe even have them make predictions about what they think will happen before the experiment starts. At the end, have them observe the mixed colors and tell you about what they find.

For older kids, have them write down their predictions first (just like they are used to doing in school). They can even draw a photo if that is easier for them. Next, bring up some buzzwords like acid, base and gas. Once the rainbow is done exploding, have them write down what happened. Then have them discuss, draw or write out their conclusions.

You've played, you've learned, you've stimulated their little minds, but best of all you've had fun.

More: When to Make Your Kid Put Down Their Cellphone

Originally published February 2015. Updated March 2017.

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