The mystery color experiment

All preschoolers love to see how baking soda and vinegar react.  We’ve added a new twist with our mystery color experiment…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

We’ve been solving mysteries in preschool and this mystery color experiment brought some science and excitement into our day!  For this experiment you will need liquid food coloring, baking soda, vinegar, cups, and spoons.  Begin by adding just  a few small drops of food coloring to your spoons.  Then gently cover the food coloring with a spoonful of baking soda so that the color is completely hidden.  This is where the mystery comes in.  The children won’t have any idea what color is hiding under the baking soda.  Your filled spoons should look something like this…

mThe mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

We filled enough spoons with food coloring and baking soda so that each child could recreate this experiment three times.   Next, you will need to add fill your cups about half full of vinegar…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

Notice that we also added larger trays to help contain the overflow when our baking soda and vinegar react, because it will surely bubble over.  Before beginning the experiment, we asked the children to guess what they think might happen when they stir their spoonful of baking soda into the vinegar.  At this time, you can choose to tell them that there is a color hidden under the vinegar and ask them to guess what color it may be or you could let this be another element of surprise.  We opted to let them guess what color they think might be under their spoon.  Then we invited them to stir their baking soda into their vinegar…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

The solution immediately bubbled over.  The color will magically appear after just a few short seconds of stirring.  You can let the children continue to use the vinegar that they have for their remaining spoons, but the effect will not be quite as dramatic.  It makes for a unique way to explore the blending of colors.  Some of our children were too quick for us and went ahead and mixed in their 2nd spoonful.  By their 3rd spoonful, we were trying to get around to provide fresh cups of vinegar to each child…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

After using up their remaining spoons, we brought out the pipettes (droppers) and filled each child’s smaller tray with baking soda for a second round of experiments.  We provided each child with a fresh cup of vinegar and then allowed them to choose a color.  We dropped a few drops of food coloring in their vinegar and then let the children explore this process…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

While our little scientists were busy creating chemical reactions, we were asking them questions to help compare and contrast the two experiments.  For example, we asked the children which experiment made bigger bubbles, the first or the second.  Asking questions helps to turn this playful activity into more of a process of discovery.  The children are no longer just playing in the baking soda and vinegar.  They are creating hypotheses.  They are questioning and predicting the outcomes.  They truly are becoming little scientists…

The mystery color experiment by Teach Preschool

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By |2013-02-26T06:00:41+00:00February 26th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. MIRIAM FERNANDEZ BORASO February 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    It’s a fantastic experiment! I promise I’ll try it!
    kisses & hugs from ARGENTINA!

  2. Amanda February 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I love this experiment idea. I feel our classroom is lacking in the discovery and science department. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jessica @ Play Trains! March 2, 2013 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Cool! Another great idea to Pin! I love the element of surprise.

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