I originally got this activity idea from Busy Toddler. She calls it “Hidden Colors”, but my 3 year-old calls it “Vinegar Painting” so we’ll go with that here 🙂
The first time we did this activity, I think it occupied my son for a good 45 mins! And we’ve done this several more times since. We love it!
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Materials needed for Vinegar Painting:
- White Vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Food Coloring
- Cupcake Pan
- Large Plastic Bin (similar): We got our bin at IKEA
- Squeeze bottle or some sort of dispenser–We used a medicine dropper, droppers for kids, medicine syringe
- Art Smock
Step 1: Place cupcake pan in the large plastic bin, and drop food coloring into the cupcake pan.
I sometime even put two colors into one cupcake holder. Like yellow and green together to make a lighter green color.
Step 2: Scoop baking soda into the cupcake pan.
Make sure to scoop enough to cover the food coloring.
Step 3: Mix white vinegar with water.
In the squeeze bottle, mix white vinegar with water. 1:1 ratio. Since we don’t have a squeeze bottle, I mix it in a little bowl or cup.
Step 4: Put on the art smock, and have fun!
I usually get my son to put on an art smock before starting the activity. It ain’t easy getting food coloring out of clothes!
Let your child squeeze vinegar into the prepared cupcake pan. It’s so much fun watching them discover the different colors hidden under the baking soda. And they love the fizzy bubbling action!
Since we used a little medicine syringe, it actually took my son longer to complete this activity. It took a little while for him to get the hang of filling the syringe, but I think it was actually a great for fine-motor development as well! So I think it’s a great option for kids 3 and up.
Once your kids are done, you can dump out the used vinegar from the pan into the plastic bin, and there’s usually some more baking soda mixture left in the pan. So your kids can do it one more time.
My son usually ends up dipping the syringe into the colored post-fizzy mixture and “paints” the inside of the large plastic bin. This is why he calls in “vinegar painting”. Whatever keeps him occupied a little longer, I’m there for it!
If you like this “Vinegar Painting” toddler activity, make sure to read my post on Low-Prep Screen-Free Activities For Kids During Quarantine for more fun ideas for toddlers and preschoolers!