Crafting, gifting, and creating, oh my! Valentine's Day preparations are in full swing and we are "loving" this time of year in our house. Taking a break from our many, many, MANY handmade Valentine creations, we will be sure to spend some time engaging our left brains as well with one of our favorite science traditions: Valentine's Love Potions.
Valentine's Love Potions take advantage of one of the most basic kitchen science experiments in existence: the vinegar and baking soda reaction. Of course, the holiday offers the most perfect chance to add dramatic flair! Chances are you will already have readily available at home everything you need to set up this experiment.
- Baking Soda
- Cups/Pipettes/Measuring Spoons
- Glass Candlestick Holder or Small Vase
- Deep Pan
- Red Food Coloring (Optional)
What to Do:
To begin with, set an enticing scene. I try to choose some fancy glassware, such as a $1 candlestick holder from your local dollar store, or whatever crystal I have. The glass really makes the experiment quite alluring. I place this reaction hub in a pan to avoid an experimental mess on the kitchen table. Then I set out the other ingredients, the vinegar and baking soda, in separate containers that are equally beautiful and/or delightfully tacky. I also set out the tools and coloring.
Now for some "romance!" I bring my children to the table and talk to them about what a potion is and concoct an elaborate story about how it simply can not be Valentine's Day without a love potion, and how important their endeavor will be. I explain that when the magic happens just right and the love is released in the air, they will know. Then, I let their little exploring hands go at it! As there are not many ingredients, it doesn't take long for them to manifest a reaction, and voila! You are sure to empty your supply of vinegar and baking soda as they attempt to create the potion again and again.
The science behind it, which is worth explaining especially to older littles, is this: baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When the two mix, they create a chemical reaction that releases a gas, carbon dioxide, which is what causes the bubbles.
The experiment really is quite beautiful, engaging and educational, and is sure to keep little cherubs busy for at least thirty minutes of exploring! We love to add dinosaurs and pretend it is lava, glitter to make soup, and whatever it takes to make the fun last after the allure of the potion has been scientifically explained. The kids are learning, and mama gets to see their faces light up, and maybe even accomplish a chore or two, which I believe would be Cupid making his mark!