Science fun/magic potion making using a simple chemical reaction

A great simple science experiment for older children or a fun way to make pretend magic potions for younger children. (My son sees it as the later and spends hours and hours mixing up concoctions)


The best bit about this is that you can find all the ingredients you need in the kitchen (or after a quick trip to the shops.

You will need bicarbonate of soda as your alkali and either lemon juice or vinager as your acid.

Please note it can get very messy when the mixture bubbles over the sides or gets splashed. so I highly recomend placing a tray underneath your experiments or potions.


For a straight forward chemical reaction you can just add your bicarbonate of soda to the lemon juice/vinegar  (or vice versa).

When you combine the acid with a carbonite alkali they react to create salt, water and carbon dioxide. As the carbon dioxide gas is released it bubbles up and out of the liquid.


We like to make our potions a bit more magical and spectacular so I pour the lemon juice into different glasses (you could use any clear recycled containers or bottles)  and then mix a little washing up liquid and different food colours into each glass.


When you spoon bicarbonate of soda into the liquid to create the chemical reaction the washing up liquid turns the escaping carbon diaoxide into hundreds of tiny beautiful bubbles and makes a beautiful frothy foam to play with.


The fun doesn’t stop there, give them a spoon and a bowl and let them have fun combining the colours and mixtures to create spells and potions.


We like to add in some toy bats, insects and plants for authenticity but you could use any natural objects you find. And if you want to really get into it pop on a wizard/witches hat and make up your own spells to write down and read out loud.


If you enjoyed this you can also try creating reactions with lemon and lime halves (great for using up any leftovers from cooking). Just half the fruit and let them spoon bicarbonate of soda onto the tops.


Or how about freezing discs of bicarbonate of soda?

Carefully mix bicarbonate of soda with food colouring and a tiny bit of water and then freeze them overnight in tub lids  create frozen discs.


You can then drop small amounts of lemon juice or vinegar onto the frozen discs to make them bubble and fizz.


Another great idea is to build a volcano shape round a bottle of lava coloured lemon juice or vinegar, using clay or paper mache. Then when you add your bicarbonate of soda and get the reaction it looks like your volcano has gone off.

(We haven’t tried this yet so my friend kindly let us use photos of thiers in action)


Finally remember the escaping gas? You can use a balloon to show how much carbon dioxide is released as part of the reaction. Just put some bicarbonate of soda in a balloon (stretch it out/blow it up and deflate if first to make it flexible). Then carefully attach the balloon to the next of a bottle filled with lemon juice or vinegar.

Hold the neck and balloon firmly together as you shake the bicarbonate if soda from the baloon into the bottle to start the chemical reaction.


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