Sensory play is so engaging for kids of all ages. Here’s how to use baking soda, vinegar and glitter to create magic potions that fizz!
Updated February 2021
Summer and sensory play! They just go together. I love that the warm weather means those of us with aversions to mess can breathe a little easier by taking it all outside! Sensory play is at its best outdoors where kids can engage all of their senses.
In the past few weeks, my go-to activity when sibling tension gets high or when a playdate reaches a lull has been the awesomest, easiest, most engaging bit of sensory wonder…
Fizzy glitter potions!
It’s an incredibly simple set-up with a few ingredients that you probably already have around the house. These glitter potions have kept my kids (and their friends) occupied for long stretches of time, especially in that late afternoon pre-dinner witching hour.
Ready to find out how to bring fizzy glitter potions, giggles, and intense expressions of concentration and wonder to your own backyard?
How to Make Fizzy Glitter Potions
Here’s what you need to set-up a fizzy glitter potion station…
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Liquid watercolor or food coloring
- Ball jars, glasses, or other clear containers
- Pipettes if you have them
- A tray to contain the mess (or go tray-free if you’re outdoors, whatever you prefer!)
Time needed: 1 hour.
- Set up the glitter potion station
Set out a container with baking soda and spoons (I just used regular bowls from the kitchen).
Fill a few glasses or jars with vinegar and add food coloring or liquid watercolor as desired.
If you have pipettes, it definitely makes for really fun squeezing as the vinegar fizzes into the baking soda. Spoons work, too!
And of course, set out some shakers of GLITTER!
Seriously, my favorite part about fizzy glitter potions is that you just can’t go wrong.
- Let the potion making begin!
My kids like to start by spooning some baking soda into an empty glass and then they start squeezing different colors of vinegar on top. The fizzing part is pretty exciting, as you can see on our friend Z’s face below!
- Keep on experimenting!
As the kids continue to add more of baking soda, vinegar and glitter, you can often see the layers build up in the glass or jar; it looks amazing!
Keep adding glitter, baking soda, vinegar, and repeat, repeat, repeat.
My kids usually do keep doing this until they run out of baking soda and vinegar (so far, we haven’t been able to shake out all the glitter, but there is still time left this summer!)
Extend the Sensory Play!
Once we’re out of baking soda and vinegar, we end up with glasses filled with layer upon layer of this baking soda + vinegar + glitter mixture.
So what’s next?
In my kids’ world, stir it all together and turn it into a goopy paste!
If your kids don’t naturally do this, you can try posing an open-ended “I wonder…” question, such as “I wonder what would happen if you mixed that all together?” or “I wonder what that would feel like in your hands?” (Talking to your kids about their sensory play is a lot like talking to them about their art.)
At our house, usually all of the liquid ends up dumped out onto the trays or the table, and the paste gets spread all around (can you tell we’ve done this a whole bunch of times this summer?) They also love to use the glitter paste to make “yummy” food creations.
Glitter salad, anyone?
They can keep at this for hours and hours; on this occasion, I had to eventually pry them away to eat dinner (which, unfortunately, involved neither glitter salad nor glitter sandwiches!)
And I love that clean-up is such a snap when this kind of messy play is outside. Hooray!
If you haven’t tried sensory play with baking soda and vinegar, I hope this inspires you to channel your inner scientist / artist / chef / mess-maker!
More Sensory Play Ideas
- Baking Soda & Vinegar Science Experiments for Kids
- Why Sensory Play is Important & 10 Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids
- 11 Awesome Sensory Materials for Kids
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