Category: Fizzy Science

Fun science experiments that pop, fizz and erupt!

What’s fizzier: Limeade or Orangeade? Try this fun kitchen science experiment to find out. It’s chemistry you can sip!

Orangeade and Limeade drinks kids can make

We had so much fun making old-fashioned lemonade last week, that we ran out of lemons! But it got us thinking – can you use a similar acid-base reaction to make fizzy drinks with other citrus fruits? We had some limes and oranges in our fruit bowl, so we decided to find out!

We happened to do this in our backyard, as it was a warm autumn day and we’re trying to make the most of the sunshine. But you can totally do this in your kitchen too – actually, it would make a fun rainy day activity for those days when you’re stuck indoors…
 

Suitable for

Comparing the fizziness of homemade drinks is a fun kitchen science experiment that you could try with preschoolers, kindergarteners and primary school aged kids. My daughter Bumble Bee was 7.5 years old when we gave this a go.

 

How to make fizzy Limeade and Orangeade, and how to turn it into a science experiment

Ingredients

Ingredients to make Orangeade and Limeade

  • Limes (or other citrus fruit)
  • Oranges (or other citrus fruit)
  • Baking Soda
  • Sugar
  • Iced water
  • two matching glasses
  • Basic kitchen supplies (knife, chopping board, juicer, teaspoon, paper straws)

Note: Baking soda is also called bicarb soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate, and can be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. Baking powder is not the same as baking soda, and should not be used as a substitute in this recipe – unless you want to make a comparison of baking soda and baking powder part of the experiment of course!

Making limeade and orangeade for kids

What to do

We followed the same basic steps that we used when we made our fizzy lemonade earlier, except that this time, we used two different types of citrus juice, and we focused on creating a fair test to see the difference in the results between the two.

1. Cut a lime and an orange in half. (We used different knifes to prevent cross-contamination, or you could use the same knife if you washed it in between). Optional: Cut a slice of lime and orange, and set aside to use later as garnish.

Juicing half a lime

2. Juice the lime and pour into a glass. Take a small sip to taste. It’s sour!

Pouring freshly squeezed orange juice

3. Wash the juicer (to prevent cross-contamination), and then juice the orange. Pour some of the orange juice into a second glass, stopping when you have the same quantity of juice as the juice in the lime glass. We want the volume of liquid in both glasses to be the same, as that isn’t the variable that we’re testing. Take a small sip of the left over juice – hopefully you’ll notice that it’s sweeter than the lime juice, but still ‘citrus-y’.

Adding baking soda

4. Add the same amount of baking soda to each glass. (We added 1/4 teaspoon as this is the smallest measuring spoon we have, but 1/8 teaspoon would probably have tasted better for this volume of liquid. But, for the sake of the experiment, it doesn’t really matter exactly how much you add, as long as you add the same amount to each glass).

Making fizzy limeade and lemonade

5. Watch the juice in each glass fizz, foam and bubble! Take note of the differences between the two glasses. Which one fizzes higher? Is there a difference in the time that they fizz for?

6. Have a sip from each glass. How has the taste changed?

Adding water

Sipping limeade and orangeade

7. With the ‘experiment’ part of the project is now finished, but you can try adding some iced water and sugar to each glass to see if you can turn them into a tasty drink.

Making limeade and orangeade

To be honest, Bumble Bee didn’t really love the taste of her limeade and orangeade drinks, but she did like doing the experiment! Interestingly she did like lemonade we made earlier – probably the reason why most people make lemonade instead of limeade or orangeade!

If you’re wondering which juice ‘won’ on the fizziness factor, check out this video to see all the action!
 

 

(Note: you might notice that Bumble Bee used the same straw to stir the two drinks – she should have used two straws to avoid cross-contamination. But she did it too quickly, before I could point it out! Next time I’ll make sure to remind her about this beforehand…)

Fun facts

Conducting a ‘fair test’ is one of the most important things in doing primary school science experiments. A fair test, is a test where you change only one variable at a time, and keep all other aspects of the experiment equal. In this experiment, the variable that we changed was the type of juice that we used. We kept the size of the glass, the quantity of the juice and the amount of baking soda the same. By changing just one variable at a time, you can be sure exactly what caused any difference in the results.

An acid is something that has a low pH. Vinegar, buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, chocolate and honey are all ‘acids’. A base is something that is alkaline, or has a high pH. Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is the most common base that we use in cooking. When you combine an acid and a base (in the presence of liquid), a chemical reaction occurs that creates carbon dioxide gas (CO2). This chemical reaction can be used to add bubbles to fizzy drinks.

Fizzy limeade and orangeade - drinkable science for kids

Please note…

All kids’ activities on this blog assume attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.

Mixing together pantry ingredients is generally a safe way to explore chemical reactions with kids, however, please don’t let kids eat baking soda in its concentrated form (ie, don’t let kids eat plain baking soda by the spoonful) as it can cause toxicity if too much is swallowed. It is safe to consume when used appropriately and mixed with other ingredients.

Kids knife skills vary – use your own discretion as to whether you would like your child to try using a sharp knife, or if you would like to pre-cut the limes and oranges for them.

 
Fizzy limeade and orangeade science for kids

You can find more tasty experiments on our edible science activities page, including:

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How to make real old-fashioned lemonade from scratch, that really bubbles! Fun edible (or drinkable) science project for kids.

Make your own Fizzy Lemonade - a tasty science project for kids. GSK

I’ve been wanting to make homemade lemonade with the kids for AGES! It’s one of those classic “must-do” childhood activities, and if you make yours with an acid-base reaction like we did, it also doubles as an impressive & tasty science demonstration.

There are different ways you can add bubbles to (or carbonate) drinks. One way is to use something like a soda stream which forces carbon dioxide gas (Co2) from a pressurised cylinder into drinks, making them fizzy. Another way is to produce an acid-base chemical reaction, which creates the carbon dioxide from within the drink. That’s what we’ve done with our homemade lemonade recipe here. And the best bit is that our recipe doesn’t require a fancy soda stream machine – it uses common pantry items that you probably already have at home.

We’ve played around with acid-base chemical reactions in the kitchen before, like when we made Anzac biscuits, or our Violet Crumble honeycomb bars, and let’s not forget our homemade sherbet! There’s something so impressive about watching things froth up and bubble, especially when you get to taste them afterwards.

Our lemonade recipe will taste a little different to the store-bought lemonades that you might be more used to. Fair-warning that the baking soda does have a slightly soapy after-taste. But if you add enough sugar (!), and if your kids enjoy the process, then the results are certainly impressive and memorable . We made two glasses of lemonade, (reducing the quantity of baking soda in our second glass, until we found our ‘sweet spot), and my kids are asking to make more today, so I think that means it was a winner.

Drinking homemade lemonade

Suitable for

Tasty science is fun for any age! You could try this from preschoolers through to primary school aged kids – Bumble Bee was 7.5 years old when we did this at home.

Younger kids will be fascinated by all the bubbles in this demonstration, and it can start to develop their understanding of acid base reactions, and that ‘chemicals’ can occur naturally and be useful in cooking!

Older kids might like to turn this into an experiment (perhaps by studying the effect of varying the baking soda quantities) using the scientific method: form a hypothesis, create a fair test, by changing just one variable, and record results. They can share their findings in the comments below!

How to make fizzy lemonade - a tasty kids science project

Please note…

Mixing together pantry ingredients is a safe and fun way to explore chemical reactions with kids. The ingredients used here are all generally taste-safe, however, please don’t let kids eat baking soda in its concentrated form (ie, don’t let kids eat plain baking soda by the spoonful please). Baking soda is OK to taste once it’s with the other ingredients in the lemonade.

Kids knife skills vary – use your own discretion as to whether you would like your child to try using a sharp knife, or if you would like to pre-cut the lemons for them.

All kids’ activities on this blog require attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.

How to make old-fashioned lemonade that really fizzes

How to make Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Read More How to make Fizzy Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab! Create an amazingly frothy chemical reaction, to make your own honeycomb or violet crumble. Yum!

Homemade Violet Crumble - deliciously edible science project for kids

Australia Day is coming up, and I’m teaming up with a bunch of Aussie bloggers to bring you some fun ideas and activites to do with the kids (see the bottom of this post for all the suggestions). And I thought, for our contribution, we could dabble in a bit of yummy edible science.

If you grew up in Australia in the ’70’s like I did, then you would surely know all about Violet Crumble bars – that delicious, crispy, golden honeycomb smothered in chocolatey goodness – and their claim that “it’s the way it shatters that matters”. (For the non-Aussies, Violet Crumble bars are similar to Crunchie bars – only better!)

Aussie violet crumble recipe - science in the kitchen

Well, I have good news folks. I’m giving you a really good excuse to make your own Violet Crumble at home, in the name of education. This is like an chemistry class in your kitchen, and any (or all) sugar content is instantly justified by making science fun. If you were making these for Australia Day, you could even call it patriotic. Don’t you think?
Read More Homemade Violet Crumble {a delicious edible science project}

Magic science

Product Reviewed: Magic Science for Wizards Only science / chemistry kit by Scientific Explorer

Age Range: labelled for 6+ year olds (however I think it could be suitable for keen 4+ year olds, with a lot of assistance).

Star Rating: 3 / 5 stars

The Good: Fun and easy introduction to some impressive fizzy and colour changing chemistry experiments that kids love. Includes enough supplies for each experiment to be repeated at least twice (and in some cases, dozens of times). Includes test tubes with lids and handy stand that can be reused for future science projects.

The Bad: Doesn’t deliver on all the ‘magic’ as promised by the packaging.

The Verdict: This would make a fun science-oriented gift for girls or boys that encourages an interest in chemistry.

Review Magic Science for Wizards Only

{This post contains affiliate links*. See my Gift Ideas for Girls who Love Science page for more product reviews and recommendations.}

Read More Review: Magic Science for Wizards Only Science Kit

Castle in the clouds - blending science and imaginative small world play, by Go Science Kids

The kids have been asking to do some more fun acid-base reactions ever since we made our erupting volcano a few months back. Did you know that by adding a small amount of dishwashing liquid, you can turn the classic baking soda and vinegar bubbly reaction into a frothy, foamy one instead? We used this theory to combine fun science with imaginative play, changing a castle moat into a ‘castle in the clouds’ small world scene. Fun!

This post contains affiliate links*.

To make a ‘castle in the clouds’ small world scene

We used:

  • White Vinegar
  • blue food colouring
  • dishwashing liquid (aka dish soap / liquid dish detergent)
  • baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate / bread soda / cooking soda / bicarbonate of soda)
  • a large bowl
  • a smaller bowl
  • castle & various figurines
  • blu-tack
  • jug and spoon
  • kids safety glasses (optional)

Read More Castle in the Clouds: science & imaginative play

Classic edible science activity – how to make delightfully fizzy sherbet that kids just LOVE!

Make delightfully fizzy sherbet - tasty edible science for kids
The Australian government put on some really fun science events throughout the year, and being a science-loving family, we try to go to as many as we can. Just a few weeks ago, we went to Science in the Swamp at Centennial Parklands, and had so much fun! One of the activities we missed out on however, was making sherbet. One of the friendly scientists from UNSW offered to show us, but unfortunately we’d gotten to the point of over-stimulation, and it was time to head home.

“Don’t worry” I said to the kids. “I’ll look it up, and we can make our own sherbet at home.”

And so we did!

Make fizzy sherbet at home for an edible chemistry lesson for kids

Suitable for

Edible science activities are a fun way to explore chemical reactions with young kids. Jewel was 5 years, 3 months and Bumble Bee was 2 years, 11 months here, but I think you could try this activity with almost any age group.

Our sherbet recipe is an adaptation from this recipe on the CSIRO website (which is a great site by the way, with loads of fun DIY science ideas).

And I’m pleased to say that this sherbet really fizzes! And it’s really yummy! And did I mention that it’s a really easy activity that takes less than ten minutes from start to finish? That’s worth three ticks right there. 🙂

make finger lickin' fizzy sherbet - tasty science for kids

Fun Science Fact

The ‘fizzing sensation’ of sherbet is formed by an acid-base chemical reaction between citric acid and baking soda (which is a base), in the presence of a liquid (which in this case, is your saliva), causing tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide (CO2) that tickle your tongue.

To make home-made fizzy sherbet, you will need:

Read More Delightfully Fizzy Sherbet