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One of the easiest and most impressive dry ice experiments is the dry ice bubble experiment. Kids love seeing the giant smoking bubble monster grow and grow, and can safely touch and play with the bubbles. It’s a great sensory activity!
A few weeks ago we got a package of kosher beef briskets for a client video shoot. In the bottom of the box was a big bag of dry ice.
As soon as Eric and I saw the pieces of dry ice, we basically turned into mad scientists and started planning a science experiment. This was not a planned blog post, and photographed late at night in low light. But it was so fun I had to share.
Science experiments were one of my favorite childhood activities, and really got me excited about chemistry and biology (until high school ruined it for me but that’s a story for another time).
Whether it’s a simple baking soda art project, or making ice cream in a bag, even toddlers can fall in love with the wonders of science.
DRY ICE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS
Some of you may be thinking I am absolutely crazy for letting my toddler and preschooler play with dry ice.
But if you trust your kids to believe you when you tell them that touching the ice is dangerous, and that dry ice can NEVER EVER go in their mouth, you should be good to go. Just make sure to provide adult supervision.
For safety we had oven mitts to handle the dry ice, as well as tongs to drop it into our glass bottle.
DRY ICE SCIENCE
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide gas, and changes directly from a solid to a gas. This process is called sublimation.
The fog you see when dry ice is put into liquid is from the carbon dioxide gas and water vapor.
In this dry ice experiment, the ice is dropped into soapy water.
When the dry ice sublimates, the carbon dioxide and water become trapped inside the soap film bubbles. When you pop the bubbles, you release the “fog”.
HOW TO DO THE DRY ICE BUBBLE EXPERIMENT
Using thick oven mitts or leather gloves, place a few pieces of dry ice in a bowl before you get started.
You will also need a tall glass jar or vase (the skinnier it is the more dramatic the “bubble monster” effect), warm water, dish soap, and tongs. Food coloring is optional.
Fill a glass jar halfway with warm water and add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
Use the tongs to drop a chunk of dry ice into the warm water.
Add a squirt of dish soap to the water.
Watch the bubbles build up and start pouring out of your jar! The bubbles are safe to touch and play with.
TIPS FOR DRY ICE EXPERIMENTS
You want to use warm water for your dry ice experiments. Notice that as the water cools off, less gas is produced. We simply poured out the water (leaving the dry ice) and added more warm water and soap.
We added blue food coloring to match the fun blue of our Dawn dish soap, but you don’t need to color the water.
Make sure to let your kids explore the different stages of the experiment. Start with them blowing slowly on the dry ice in the bowl to form “fog”. My kids called it “dragon breath”! Then let them see how it bubbles into gas in the water before adding the soap.
As stated before, always use very thick gloves like oven mitts or leather gloves to handle dry ice. Or use tongs. Do not touch the dry ice directly!
Dry ice is poisonous if inhaled in large quantities. This experiment only used a couple piece of dry ice so it was not an issue. But make sure you are in a well ventilated area. If you have lots of extra dry ice to melt, put it outside.
WHERE TO BUY DRY ICE
Not sure where to find dry ice? Try calling your local grocery stores like Safeway, Walmart, Albertsons. Many of them carry dry ice.
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