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Creative Bonding With Your Kids

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

This week in our after school art classes, we made experimental bi-carb soda and vinegar prints.

Artworks on the ground
Finished prints. Check out the bi-carb texture!

The kids loved it and were so engaged!

Some kids had mixed bi-carb and vinegar before and some hadn’t. It was great to see their surprise as it bubbled and hissed.

I thought I would share the process so you can try it at home. It is a perfect stay-at-home activity.

Most households will have these items and it is super easy to do.

Apart from that, this is what you will need to start:

* bi-carb soda

* white vinegar

* a dropper or pipette for each child (these can be bought cheaply from the chemist if you don't have one)

* 1 pair of scissors

* A4 paper cut in half. Start with around 4 sheets per child and cut more as needed.

* A glass baking tray or dish big enough to fit A5 paper. Use as many or as few as you want.

* ramekins or lids. 1 per child

* dyes such as ink, watercolour paint, food colouring or home made plant based dyes (an experiment in itself).

* a magnifying glass is an optional extra

* you will probably need an outdoor space as it is super messy

Art supplies on an outdoor wooden table
What you'll need for these experimental prints


How To Set Up.

It was a beautiful afternoon and I knew it was going to be messy, so I set up on the outdoor table outside and used the BBQ to put things out of little people’s reach, such as the inks.

You will need to:

* Lay out as many glass trays as you need. I used 1 tray between 2 kids, and got them to work across from each other.

* Pour vinegar in each ramekin or lid and place 1 at each end of the tray. Put a dropper or pipette in each. Set the vinegar aside for refills later on.

* Put a magnifying glass next to each tray.

* Keep the other materials handy.

TIP: Make sure you keep the dyes away from little people as it is not much fun to clean it off them, their clothing or their surrounds!


What To Do Next.

* Gather the kids! Get them to pair up and sit across from each other. We got up and swapped partners part way through, so partners don’t need to be final, if this is an issue.

* Ask the kids about the reaction process of bi-carb and vinegar and if anyone has experimented with it before. You can talk to the kids about the "why" while they are experimenting.

* Ask each child to pick a colour dye, and pour a little in their ramekin. Be mindful of what their partner’s colour is, so they don’t blend to make 'poo'.

TIP: If someone is set on purple, you might need to mix blue and red together as the straight purple we used, reacted with the vinegar and turned blue.

The kids love it when I use this term, they think it is hilarious!

Poo colours to be wary of when mixed together are:

· Green & orange

· Red & green

· Purple & green

· Purple & Yellow

These all happen to be complementary colours, which are colours across the colour wheel from each other. That is another lesson!

* Next you will need to pour a good amount of bi-carb into their tray. By that, I mean a pile about 3cm high or a 0.5cm layer across the base. It is up to the kids.

* Then it is up to the kids. Get them squirting and dripping and mixing the dye and the bi-carb and let them see what happens.

They can use their magnifying glasses to get a closer look.

Kids outdoors experimenting with a tree in the background
Looking the reaction with the magnifying glass

TIP : Make sure you take photos as you go. I am a big believer in taking photos so the parents and caregivers of my students can see the whole process, not just the end product.

* Once most of the bi-carb has been absorbed, the kids can start making prints of their experiment.

We had fun holding the prints up and talking about what we could “see” in them. Most people saw a person in this one.

People sitting around an outdoor table looking at art
What do you see in this print?

The kids can do this as many times as they like.

You will see that once there is too much liquid, it won’t work as well. The prints will all start looking the same.

This is where I got the kids to swap partners.

* Empty the dye and pour the coloured bi-carb into snack sized ziplock bags and start the whole process again.

* Keep doing it until the kids start to lose interest. The kids can use their prints to collage an artwork, or turn them into thank you or birthday cards, or draw their own pictures on.

TIP: The bicarb leaves a sparkly film which you will need to wipe off if you are planning on using them to draw on. I think pencil would be best to use as the bi-carb will gum up textas and pens.

I am still not sure what to do with the coloured bicarb. It looks so pretty. I think it will hang around until my partner gets fed up with looking at them and throws them in the bin!

Zip bags fill of dye coloured bi-carb on grass
Zip bags fill of dye coloured bi-carb

* Lastly is all the clean up! Have fun!

Outdoor wooden table with art and art supplies
All the mess at the end!


I would love to know how you went trying this at home.

Did to follow the process or add your own touch?

What did you use for dyes?

What did you do with your coloured bi-carb at the end?

Any other tips you want to share, or questions you have?

If the thought if all that mess freaks you out, there is still time to book into my holiday art workshops Tue 1/10/19 and Wed 2/10/19.

If you are interested in after school classes, I have just put up the program for term 4. You can read more about them and other classes on my bookings page here.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Each term I create an inspiration board on Pinterest to tie in with the program. It is a great way for the parents to see what we will be doing and I use the pictures as examples in class.

Last but not least, here is a curious King Parrot who wanted in on the experimental action! She was beautiful, and hung around for a while, while her mate sat on the fence.

Female King Parrot on a hanging garden pot
Curious female King Parrot

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