Summer is approaching fast. The holiday I feel epitomizes the summer is Fourth of July. Outdoor activities, getting together with family, and fireworks. These Fireworks in a Jar are a great family activity to celebrate the holiday and teach little ones some cool science!
They’re cheaper and safer than real fireworks, perfect for toddlers!
I think most of us grow up with a healthy respect for the destructive power of fireworks. They’re loud. They’re fire. And they can go really far if you let them.
Last year was the first year my parents finally agreed to let my husband shoot arial fireworks from their ranch in the middle of nowhere.
My husband showed up with a massive package and several large blocks of fireworks. His eyes lit up as he showed me a large round block. Uh oh.
He could hardly contain his excitement as he explained that this bad boy shot 16 arial fireworks! 16! In one! The price tag gleamed on the side and nearly gave me a heart attack. Over $50 for less than a minute of excitement?
Fireworks have never been my thing I guess.
But I didn’t want to ruin his joy. So as the sun set, we began setting off the smaller fireworks while our two toddlers watched in awe, their hands tightly clamped over their ears.
I held the one year old while my sister-in-law held the 2 year old.
My husband, grinning with his ridiculously nice teeth, walked to the launchpad with the mega 16 firework. He lit the fuse. And ran.
His size 15 feet toppled the block to point directly at the family.
What I wouldn’t give to have had it on camera!
Red, white, and blue rockets shot at us! Loud, sizzling, and bright. I was around the corner of the house within seconds, my one year old clutched tightly in my arms. My sister-in-law ran back and forth, my husband mirroring her movements trying to block the fireworks from the laughing 2 year old with his retired-but-still-in-perfect-shape Defensive End Football body. Finally he pushed my sister-in-law to the side of the house.
No one got hurt. Nothing caught on fire. All it was was a really good story and an excuse for my mom to say “I told you so.”
For less dramatic fireworks this year, we’ll have a nice little chemical reaction in a jar. Complete with glitter and stars. Vinegar and Baking Soda.
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Be aware that vinegar is a mild acid and can cause skin irritation. Make sure your child doesn’t touch their eyes or drink it undiluted. Have a wet rag ready to dilute and wipe it from their skin if they touch the vinegar directly. Once it reacts with the baking soda, it is diluted and less acidic.
Supplies for the Frozen Fizzers Activity
- 16 oz Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup water
- Vinegar ( I recommend a gallon jug, just so you don’t run out by the time you get to all the fizzers.)
- Silicon Star Molds
- Food Coloring
- Star Confetti
How To Make the Frozen Fireworks in a Jar
You’re going to want to work quickly when you make your mixture. The baking soda will not actually dissolve into the water so it will separate. The faster you can get the mixture into the mold the better!
Steps to Make the Frozen Fizzers
1. Take a 16 oz box of baking soda and combine with 1/2 cup of water. Mix together until you have a thick paste.
Consider having extra boxes of baking soda on hand. The first box will make enough to fill 4 cube molds and 6 sphere molds. The sphere molds tend to settle and you may want to add extra as they settle.
2. Once you’ve got your paste, separate into bowls for each color: Red, White, and Blue. Add a generous amount of food coloring to the red and blue bowls. The white bowl doesn’t need food coloring.
3. Add the stars into the mixture.
4. Add the mixture to the star mold. I suggest adding multiple colors to each mold. As they dissolve with the vinegar the individual colors will come out in the vinegar. It’s a great show!
5. Freeze the mixture. The small molds allow these to freeze relatively quickly– about 30 minutes and they’re solid.
Keep them frozen until you are ready for the reaction.
6. If you’re making this into a science experiment, give your child a bowl of vinegar and a pipette. Show them how to sprinkle vinegar over top of the stars and watch the reaction!
For an even bigger reaction, mix a tablespoon of V05 per cup of vinegar and watch the reaction explode! Be sure to have a towel, a bin, or mop ready!
This activity definitely counts as a sensory activity! Vinegar’s strong smell helps their olfactory senses. As the reaction occurs you can hear the fizzing of the galaxies for auditory stimulation. And, as the stars shoot out from the galaxies, as they dissolve, or the bubbles fizz up, your child will be using their visual tracking skills. Way to go, mom or dad!
For more information on the importance of sensory activities, check out this post.
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