My 2-year-old son is a little too young to carve or paint his own pumpkin this year, so creating a “pump-cano” was the perfect fall fun activity for him.
This is an entertaining and simple activity for children of all ages and a great way to extend Halloween celebrations during the first week of November with leftover jack-o’-lanterns. It’s also a great time to remind kids that pumpkins are plants that grow as a vine. Along with squash and cucumbers, pumpkins are part of the plant family Cucurbita.
- A small pumpkin
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Red food coloring
- Dishwashing liquid soap
What to do:
- Remove the top of the pumpkin and hollow it out by removing all of the seeds and loose pulp. Carve a face or other design if you like.
- Place the pumpkin on a tray or protected surface because this is going to get messy.
- Pour about ½ cup of baking soda inside the pumpkin.
- Squirt some dish soap over the baking soda.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to a cup of vinegar.
- When you are ready, pour the colored vinegar into the pumpkin and enjoy the show.
You can repeat this as many times as you like.
What is happening:
This is an acid/base chemical reaction. The vinegar is acidic and the baking soda is alkaline, also called a “base.” Whenever you combine an acid and a base, the reaction produces a salt and water. In the case of baking soda and vinegar, there is a second reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This reaction causes the soapy mixture to bubble over, resulting in a satisfying lava simulation.
While “salt and water” sounds like a harmless product of this reaction, use good judgment and never take the risk of consuming your science projects.