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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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
- Clear container
- Baking soda
- Rice (We used a short grain brown rice.)
- Optional: Food coloring
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.
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.)
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.
Optional: Add a couple drops of food coloring and watch it slowly begin to mix into the solution.
– 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.
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.