A witch’s potion science experiment for all ages
We love to share fun Halloween science experiments that are educational and entertaining too.
That’s why we are so pleased to share this colourful and exciting magic potion activity by Wendy from Oh Happy Play Day!
It looks so much fun that we’re pretty sure no child would be able to resist joining in the fun – even if they aren’t usually keen on science.
Read on to find out how to set up this witch’s potion activity at home – with just a few simple materials!
Creating a Halloween party science station
If you’re hosting a Halloween party for kids, you might be looking for ideas for activities that they can enjoy independently – so you can have a free moment whilst they explore and play!
These Halloween potions are perfect for this. You can simply lay out the materials, prepare the potions base, whip up the foam and have it all ready for kids to explore when they arrive.
To create a potions activity station, all you need is:
- Halloween props (bats, skeletons, eyeballs…whatever you have already or think your kids will especially enjoy!)
- Deep tray or dish (make sure it cannot easily be tipped over)
- ‘Potions’ bottles or Halloween mini cauldrons
- Scoops and droppers
- Aquafaba (see instructions below)
- Citric acid
- Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- Food colouring
If you aren’t familiar with citric acid, it is a weak acid found in citrus fruits and it can be purchased in powdered form. It is often used in cooking and cleaning.
Make sure you buy food-grade citric acid to be extra safe.
How to set up your magic potion science activity
First, gather all the materials so you can have them ready close by. It’s best to leave setting up this activity to the last minute, as the aquafaba will look and feel the best if it is freshly made.
Start by making the potion bases. For this, you’ll need the potions bottles (or cauldrons), citric acid, baking soda and food colouring.
1. Add baking soda and citric acid to each potion bottle in a 1:1 ratio. If you want to, Wendy advises that you can use less citric acid and the activity should still work.
2. Add a few drops of food colouring. Use a different colour for each potion to make the activity as colourful as possible.
3. It’s important to keep these potion bases dry until they’re ready to be played with! As soon as water is added the chemical reaction will take place and the potions will fizz and bubble out of the bottles.
The next step is to make the aquafaba.
Aqua-what? If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t worry. It’s safe, easy and cheap to make!
Aquafaba is a creamy foam made by whipping up the liquid found inside a can of beans.
Most types of beans are suitable but we recommend using chickpeas as this method is tried-and-tested. Wendy used navy beans to make hers.
1. Drain the liquid from a can of chickpeas and pour it into a blender. You can also pour it into a large bowl if you want to use a handheld mixer.
2. Store the chickpeas in an airtight container in the fridge so that you can use them for cooking!
3. Mix 1/4 tsp cream of tartar with the chickpea liquid.
4. Blend or whip the mixture for about 5 minutes until it is fluffy, creamy and white with stiff peaks forming.
It may be possible to make aquafaba without cream of tartar, but it won’t hold its shape as well and may not last as long.
If you don’t have cream of tartar, you could try using a small amount of vinegar – we’ve heard this can work, but we haven’t tried it ourselves.
Doing this cool science experiment with kids
Once you have all the materials prepared, lay it out as per Wendy’s photos or in any way you like.
Invite kids to come and explore your potion activity station!
You can show them what happens when water is added to the potions, or simply let them explore and discover it for themselves!
Remember to have a small container of water ready for them to use.
You might also want to have multiple potion bases made up in different containers if you are going to do the activity with multiple children. For a Halloween party, we recommending making up at least one per child.
As with all experiments, we recommend kids wear protective clothing and goggles when doing this activity – particularly as acid and a fizzing reaction are involved.
Kids should also wash their hands thoroughly after playing with the magic potion activity station.
Using this fizzy potion activity with kids of all ages
If you’re wanting to enjoy this educational activity with both younger and older children, here are a few tips to help them all get the most out of the experience.
1. Ask older children to create their own potion bases or help younger ones to make them. Encourage them to think about what they predict will happen when they add water.
2. Ask older kids to try to explain the chemical reaction. What has happened? Why?
Younger children should be able to explain what has happened on a basic level (i.e. lots of bubbles appeared, there was a fizzing sound etc.), and older children should also be able to make a guess as to why this has happened.
3. To explore colour further, give children the food colouring and let them add different combinations of dye to the potion bases. What colours will they make? How do they know?
4. Exploring the potion station as a sensory activity is great for younger children as it helps them to develop their fine motor skills and discover different sensations.
Older kids can also enjoy the activity as a calming ‘time-out’ opportunity that can relieve stress and help them decompress.
The science behind baking soda potions
Here’s a simple explanation of the science behind this cool activity.
The baking soda and citric acid don’t react whilst they are dry. However, once water is added, this allows them to mix because the citric acid powder dissolves in the water.
Once the baking soda and citric acid mix in the wet mixture, a chemical reaction happens.
They both change chemically, and a lot of gas is formed. This gas is carbon dioxide – the same gas used to make the bubbles in fizzy drinks!
As carbon dioxide is produced, it fills the liquid mixture with lots of bubbles and makes it overflow in a colourful, fizzy mess!
We hope your kids have fun with this cool science for Halloween! You may also like this Halloween cotton bud skeleton idea.
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