Baking Soda and Vinegar Science: Dancing Rice

Make rice dance with this cool baking soda and vinegar science experiment for kids! You’ll just need a few items from your kitchen to create this exciting science activity.

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Cool Science Experiment for Kids: Dancing Rice with Baking Soda and Vinegar

My kids always love science explorations involving baking soda and vinegar. The chemical reaction created by these two ingredients leads to all kinds of fun with carbon dioxide bubbles!

In this science activity children will explore what happens to rice that has been placed in water as a chemical reaction with baking soda and vinegar takes place. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Dancing Rice Science Experiment for Kids

Materials for Dancing Rice Science Experiment for Kids

 

Directions for Dancing Rice Science Experiment for Kids

Note: I encourage you to let children add the ingredients all on their own. It could get messy (so do this in a an area you can easily wipe up), but allowing the kids to do this activity independently will allow for all kinds of exploration and observations.

1. Pour one cup of water into your clear container.

2. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water and stir.

add baking soda to the water

 

3. Sprinkle some rice into the mixture. What happens to the rice? Why do you think this happens? The rice sinks to the bottom because it is denser than the water. (If your rice doesn’t sink, it might be less dense than the water. Try a different kind of rice, broken pieces of vermicelli, or raisins.)

add rice to the mixture

 

4. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the water. What happens? Why? The vinegar reacts with the baking soda in the water creating bubbles of carbon dioxide.

 

5. Observe what happens over the next few minutes. Eventually the rice will begin to “dance”.  As bubbles of carbon dioxide adhere to the rice, the rice is brought up to the surface. Once it reaches the surface, the gas is released, and the rice falls back down again.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment: Dancing Rice

 

Optional: Add a couple drops of food coloring and watch it slowly begin to mix into the solution. Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment: Dancing Rice

Notes

– As the chemical reaction slows down, add a little more baking soda and watch what happens. Then try adding more vinegar. Can you make the rice continue to dance?

– If you are using a larger container, be sure to use larger amounts of baking soda and vinegar.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment: Dancing Rice

Want to go even further?

Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.

  • What else can you make “dance” in the solution? Try small pieces of spaghetti or raisins.
  • Experiment with different types of rice. Do they all “dance” the same?
  • Try our Dancing Raisins science experiment.
  • Make your own colorful chemical reactions science lab. (This is Lucy and Theo’s favorite!)
  • Why is the Statue of Liberty green? Try out this science experiment to discover why.


 

Comments

  1. What a fun experiment! Can’t wait to try this with the kids! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Was disapointed in this one.
    No matter what we did, we could not make our rice “dance”
    Maybe it was the type of rice we used, I don’t know.
    We tried Basmati and Jasmine
    Am going to buy some brown rice to see if this makes a difference.
    Was fun adding the ingredients though and waiting to see what reaction would occur.
    Thanks Deb

    • Sorry it didn’t work out, Debbie. At least with science the fun part is trying out new ideas when the first one doesn’t work. So glad you are not giving up! 🙂 We used short grain brown rice in ours. Also, you might want to continue playing around with the addition of more vinegar and baking soda. If it just doesn’t work at all, you can always use just carbonated water like we did in our dancing raisins activity. Please keep me posted!

  3. Sorry for a silly question but is the rice cooked or raw?

  4. Linda Skuce says:

    I really like this idea! What fun to show the majic of science. However we can’t use food in experiments at our school. Perhaps small pebbles will work or fish tank gravel. Thanks for the idea!

    • Thanks, Linda! I’d love to hear what you guys end up trying. I think that is one of the best parts of science- kids predicting and trying out different ideas! 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    It didnt work at all???

  6. Anonymous says:

    Unpopped popcorn kernels work great, too!

  7. Love this idea! We just bought a large bag of rice. My son made a rain stick and is really enjoying sensory play with rice using different items we transferred from his sandbox to the rice sensory bin. (You can see the items I’m referring to if you visit my site).This is another great idea we can use with the bag of rice I bought. Thank you!

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