Alrighty Parents, this next experiment is one that you’ll definitely be working with your kiddos on to ensure safety. Remember, handling items like fire and flames can be dangerous and children should never be left unsupervised! In fact, it’s important that parents are also careful – Mister C gets his fingers really close to the flame at one point. Don’t worry, you’ll see it happen in the video! Toasty!
Creating your own DIY at-home fire extinguisher is lots of fun because it allows you to explore the magic of science. Kids, and parents, get a kick when doing this activity because it really seems amazing that an “invisible” gas like carbon dioxide (CO2) is actually extinguishing the flame! Creating your own fire extinguisher is not only fun, but it’s a great way to explore chemical changes. Plus it’s super dooper easy! Grab the following items and let’s get started!
- Clear plastic cups or jars – You’ll use these to contain the chemical reaction and capture the released carbon dioxide
- Votive candles – These don’t need to be fancy at all. Just functional!
- Baking Soda – I used the old stuff from the fridge! Worked beautifully!
- Vinegar – Who doesn’t love to make their house smell like vinegar! 🙂
- Paper Towels – We alway need paper towels, so you’ll see them on almost all of my lists!
- Have some fun mixing the baking soda and vinegar to get a feel for the reaction that takes place. Try different amounts of each to see how the two agents interact. It’s fun to make a mess, so enjoy this time with your little one and talk about the bubbles you see and why they are occurring when you mix these two items together. **Remember, chemical changes create something new and cannot go back to their original state.
- Once you’ve practiced a little, it’s time to extinguish some flames
- Light the candles
- Create your chemical reaction
- Carefully pour the CO2 over the candles (be careful not to pour liquid over them though)
- Watch in amazement as the candles extinguish.
The chemical reaction you have created produces Carbon Dioxide which is heavier than Oxygen. Fires need oxygen to breathe and continue burning. When you pour the carbon dioxide over the flame, you are suffocating the flame by replacing the oxygen with carbon dioxide and the flame goes out! Pretty cool right! It’s not magic…It’s Science!!!