DIY Science: Sudsy Rainbow

Turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab with a simple DIY science experiment that uses common household products! Don’t forget to use proper protective gear, like safety glasses!


    • Large tub
    • Vinegar
    • Food Coloring
    • 1/4 cup baking soda
    • 1-2 Tbsps liquid dish soap (Dawn works very well)
    • 2-5 Empty cups

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Watch Educator Alison perform the experiment on YouTube:


  • Add 1/4 cup of baking soda in a cup and drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap on top of the baking soda and give it a gentle shake. Place this cup in the center of your large tub.
  • Fill other cups with desired amounts of vinegar leaving room for food coloring and mixing. Remember, the more vinegar you use the more bubbles you will be able to make.
  • Add food coloring to each cup of vinegar and gently mix. The more food coloring you use, the more vibrant your suds will be.
  • Slowly pour each cup of vinegar and food coloring into the cup with the baking soda and soap. TIP: Hold the cup about 10-12 inches above the baking soda and soap cup to help the reagents mix.

What’s happening?

Vinegar is the household term for acetic acid. It is a chemical used in a great variety of applications. Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is another chemical commonly used for its properties as a base. When the two are mixed you have an acid-base reaction! This chemical reaction results in three new substances, water, carbon dioxide, and sodium acetate. The dish soap captures the carbon dioxide produced during the reaction and forms a fabulous fountain of foam!

Stay-At-Home Science: DIY Play Dough

Here’s a great project that combines kitchen chemistry with art! Make your own play dough using items you already have in the pantry, then use your imagination to create a play dough masterpiece.

Are you a visual learner? Watch the process on our YouTube channel.



  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ¾ cup of boiling water
  • 3 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs of cooking oil
  • Food coloring, essential oil (optional)


  1. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove 3 tbsp from your ¾ cup water and discard.
  3. Add oil, lemon juice, and optional food coloring and/or essential oil to water.
  4. Pour liquid into flour and salt mixture.
  5. Stir continuously until dough forms.

Note: when you’re done playing, store your play dough in an airtight container.

Let there be light!

Chemiluminescence Demo Video

Read on to learn about what’s happening in the video above:

Our scientist pours two solutions, labeled Solution A and Solution B, into two separate beakers (these solutions are respectively a Luminol mixture and Hydrogen Peroxide). [NOTE: Luminol is a “versatile” chemical that happens to be very good at demonstrating the turning of chemical potential energy into radiant, or light, energy.] He empties the two beakers into the tube apparatus, turns the lights off, then the magic happens as the solutions combine to make a glowing liquid! THIS is chemical potential energy turned radiant energy.

Some glowing “stuff” gets its light by way of a reaction called chemiluminescence. Chemiluminescent reactions are chemical reactions that yield light without producing much heat, which we think is pretty amazing. What else undergoes chemiluminescent reactions? To list a couple of common occurrences: fireflies and lightsticks.


Firefly. Photo courtesy of

Why are we particularly excited about glowing stuff? Because Pajama Jam is almost upon us (tomorrow night), and there’s going to be a ton of glowing stuff there – glow-in-the-dark bowling, glow-in-the-dark ring toss, glow-in-the-dark bead necklaces, and more! AND now you know why these things can glow without burning us – they are undergoing chemical reactions which yield light with the production of very little heat…unlike, say, the light produced by a conventional lightbulb.

Tickets for Pajama Jam are available online here. We hope to see you there!