Exploding Elephant Toothpaste
This Science activity is super simple to set up and so much fun for kids of all ages!!
It's nick named Elephant Toothpaste because it looks like toothpaste as it oozes out of your bottle. With just a quick stop at a pharmacy to pick up a vital component, you'll soon be the coolest parent around!
Large Tray or Dish - Even your Roasting Dish will work!
A bottle with a small neck
Small container or cup and stirring spoon
Funnel - we made ours from Paper
1 Tablespoon of Detergent
1 Tablespoon of Active Yeast
100/125mls of Hydrogen Peroxide 6% solution (not 3%)
3 Tablespoons of Warm water
Food colouring (optional)
1. Put the detergent into the bottle.
2. An ADULT needs to pour the Hydrogen Peroxide into the bottle. Be careful not to splash onto your skin or wear gloves (kitchen ones will be fine)
3. If you want to add food colouring, pop it in now.
4. Give the bottle a swirl to mix the detergent and Hyrogen Peroxide together.
5. In your cup dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
6. Pop the funnel into your bottle.
7. Pour the yeast solution into the bottle.
8. Quickly remove the funnel and the watch the Elephant Toothpaste ooze out.
Tips for helpers:
- If the water is cold the yeast won’t activate for the experiment. If the water is too hot the yeast can die.
- Children can play with the foam after it reacts and comes out of the bottle. However please be aware if your child has sensitive skin or reacts with detergents.
- I used blue food colouring in one round. When the children played with the foam afterwards, they looked a little like Smurfs as the food colouring had dyed their hands.
- You can pick up a small bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide 6% solution, from your local pharmacy as its typically used as a cleaning agent. The 3% solution will create less foam. Like when using any other cleaning product, adult supervision is needed.
The Science behind it:
The foam made is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles.
Did you notice the bottle got warm? Your experiment created a reaction called an Exothermic Reaction – that means it not only created foam, it created heat too!
The foam produced is just water, soap and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left down the drain.