Does anyone else feel like they’ve been in “survival mode” parenting for way, WAY too long? The last few years have been seriously taxing for us as parents, and I sometimes feel like I’ve almost forgotten how to parent in a pre-pandemic way. Our options have been so limited with things to do out of the house, and with colder weather coming in for the winter it feels even harder to keep our kids engaged and entertained. 

When I’m feeling this way I tend to go back to the basics – to the things that I KNOW they will love. This activity is one of those things. Baking soda and vinegar is a combination that kids have been playing with forever, and for good reason. The reaction when the two meet is so surprising and FUN! We did this spin on baking soda and vinegar with our neighbors last summer and it was a hit, so I knew my kids would enjoy doing it again.

My kids were absolutely wild this weekend after we had spent most of it at home (thanks to a COVID exposure), so I needed something a little extra to keep them engaged while my husband and I caught our breath. Here’s what I did:

I grabbed a muffin tin from the cabinet and added a small amount of liquid watercolor into the bottom of each section. Then I poured a generous amount of baking soda on top to conceal the color underneath. I placed the muffin tin in our sensory table (we purchased this from Ikea several years ago, and it is one of the things that gets played with the most in our house) and also included a few small bowls of vinegar along with an eye dropper and a nasal aspirator! If you don’t have either of these things, small spoons or scoops are also great options. We have a set of sensory tools in the library that would also work really well! 

I also added some funnels after the play started to slow down!

I allowed this to be a self directed activity for my kids – I just left the materials out and let them take the lead. Kids have a great way of knowing exactly what they need to get out of an activity. My kids were so excited to see the color emerge from underneath the baking soda, and they spent a lot of time mixing the two ingredients together. Once they finished with that, things got a little messy! 

My oldest is currently obsessed with unicorns, and she was totally delighted when she had “unicorn hands”. I know this mess may feel a little intimidating! But I promise you the time they spend playing with and the development that’s happening is totally worth it. Keeping it contained in our sensory table makes clean up a breeze – putting it in a large tote also works well. Under the bed storage totes are great because they are typically large enough and shallow enough for kids to play easily. In the summer, I take everything outside to rinse off with the hose. When it’s too cold for that (I mean the other 9 months of the year in Laramie) I throw everything in the shower and rinse it off there. Easy! Give this activity a try and let me know how it goes!