February 21, 2012

"Elephant Toothpaste" Foaming Science Experiment

We did this awesome Foaming Science Experiment (from Science Bob) at my son's Super Science Birthday Party and it was a HUGE hit!  Mix together a few ingredients and you get an amazing eruption of thick, bubbly foam!  It does require a trip to a beauty supply store to pick up some extra strong hydrogen peroxide (or you can order it HERE on Amazon ) , but it's absolutely worth it.

It almost looks like toothpaste for an elephant, doesn't it?

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup 6% hydrogen peroxide (sold in beauty supply stores or online as 20 Volume Clear Developer )
  • 2 tsp. yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • dish detergent
  • food coloring (optional)
  • empty 16oz plastic bottle 
  • funnel
  • safety goggles
  • tray or container to catch the foaming fun

Here's what to do:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of the peroxide into the empty water bottle (Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so make sure you protect your eyes and skin and let a grown up do the pouring.)
  2. Add about 8 drops of food coloring to the bottle (optional)
  3. Add about 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish it just a bit to mix it.
  4. In a separate cup, combine yeast and warm water.  Mix for about 30 seconds until most lumps are gone.
  5. Now the fun begins!!  Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle ( using a funnel) and watch the foaminess begin.
  6. The foam is just water, soap and oxygen so it's safe to touch, but it will be warm because of the reaction!
Check out the fun the kids had with this at the Super Science Party!



And here it is on video so you can see the fun foaming fountain in action!!


 



Here's the science behind this experiment (from ScienceBob.com

 
Foam is awesome! The foam you made is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles. Did you notice the bottle got warm. Your experiment created a reaction called an Exothermic Reaction - that means it not only created foam, it created heat! The foam produced is just water, soap, and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain. 

This experiment is sometimes called "Elephant's Toothpaste" because it looks like toothpaste coming out of a tube, but don't get the foam in your mouth!


Sharing this awesome experiment at:

28 comments:

  1. super cool!!! What a fun idea for a party, too :)

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  2. This party looks like it was amazingly fun! I'm excited to try some of these (and more, I hope) experiments with my kids...

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  3. Oh how fun!!! I wish we had a beauty supply store here in this little town! I'll have to see if I can find some on Amazon! Thanks for sharing, Laura!

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  4. omg. you have like 500 repins on pinterest!

    this is so fun. would be fun to follow this up with the elmer books too...

    love it, laura!

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  5. That looks fun. I'm sure the kidos will love it. I'll have to remember this one.

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  6. As a science teacher, I often find great ideas on www.experiland.com for my students. They have the elephant toothpaste as well as some other really fun science experiments for kids to do at home!

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  7. Sorry forgot the link: http://www.experiland.com Enjoy!

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  8. Hi, where did you get the cute tubs? looks like they worked well to contain the foam. Thanks!

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  10. how much dish detergent are you suppose to put in?

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