1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution, which can be found at a beauty supply store or hair salon)
- 1 Tablespoon of dry yeast
- 3 Tablespoons of warm water
- Liquid dish washing soap
- Glow in the dark paint
- Bottles of all shapes
Schedule enough time for setup, experiment, and cleanup. Remember that this can get messy so tell everyone involved that they have to pitch in for cleanup afterwards. Allow enough time for everyone to participate and enjoy the experiment.
Contain the splash zone. Experimenting with oozing foam can be fun at any age but it’s easy for kids to get carried away. Whether you plan to conduct the experiment in the bathtub, out in the yard, or use a large baking pan or plastic bin, minimize cleanup by preparing a contained space.
Find the right amount of hydrogen peroxide. The amount of hydrogen peroxide will determine how much foam you generate. While you might have some 3% hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet, you can also go to a beauty supply store to find 6% as it usually is not readily available at grocery stores or drug stores. Beauty supply stores will sell 6% hydrogen peroxide as bleaching agent.
Mix 3 tablespoons of water with yeast and let sit. You can let the kids do this step. Allow them to measure out the yeast and mix in the correct amount of warm water. Have your little one stir it to get out all the clumps.
- Depending on your child’s age, you can have them use a fun spoon and stirring tool. You can also have the put on goggles and a lab coat. Kid safety goggles can be found at your local hardware store
Add dish soap, food coloring, and half a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bottle.Make sure everyone wears gloves and safety goggles before handling the hydrogen peroxide. Do not let your kids handle the hydrogen peroxide unless you think they are old enough.
- If your child is too young, have the little one squeeze the dish soap and food coloring into the bottle. You can also add glitter to make it more fun. Make sure the glitter is plastic and not metal-based because peroxide should not be used with metal.
- Stir the mixture yourself or have your child do it if old enough. Be sure that the hydrogen peroxide is not spilled.
Pour the yeast mix through a funnel into your bottle. Quickly stand back and remove the funnel. You can allow your child to pour the yeast but if she is young, keep within arms distance to ensure the bottle doesn’t spill onto her. Use a short bottle with a wide base for stability. Make sure the neck is narrow to increase the effect.
- The fungi in the yeast immediately cause the hydrogen peroxide to decompose and strip off an extra oxygen molecule. The yeast acts as a catalyst as it causes the hydrogen peroxide molecule to release an oxygen molecule. The stripped off oxygen molecule takes the form of a gas and once it hits the soap it creates fluffy foam bubbles, while the rest stays as water. The gas looks for an escape route and the foam “toothpaste” gushes out of the bottle.
- Make sure the yeast and hydrogen peroxide are mixed well for optimum effect.
Feel the heat. Observe how the foam gives off heat. The chemical reaction is known as an exothermic reaction so heat is given off. The heat is not enough to cause any harm so you can definitely feel the foam and play around. The foam is just water, soap and oxygen so it isn’t toxic.