Your child will love bringing gummy worms to “life” with this simple chemical reaction. Using baking soda and vinegar, the same ingredients that fuel the famous volcano science project, it’s simple for kids to create carbon dioxide bubbles on candy worms. The buoyant bubbles make the delicious creatures squirm and wiggle, as though they are alive.
What You’ll Need
- Measuring spoons
- Gummy worms
- Scissors or kitchen shears
- Baking soda
Safety Tips and Hints
- To avoid frustration, help your young kids cut the gummy worms into long, thin strips. For best results, each worm should be cut into at least four long strips.
- Some gummy worms work better than others for this experiment. If yours don’t move well, your child can add a teaspoon of baking soda directly to the worms and vinegar at the end of the experiment to create more bubbles.
What to Do:
Step 1: Make super-skinny gummy worms by cutting individual worms into several long strips. Cut each worm lengthwise at least four times. The skinnier you make your worms, the better they’ll work.
Step 2: Have your young scientist measure and mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a cup of warm water. Stir well.
Step 3: Drop the skinny gummy worms into the cup of baking soda solution, stir, and let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4: While the worms soak, fill a clear glass or jar with vinegar.
Step 5: When the 20 minutes are up, ask your child to fish the gummy worms out of the baking soda solution with a fork, and drop them into the glass of vinegar to make them wiggle.
The Science Behind the Fun
In this experiment, gummy worms float and move as the vinegar (acetic acid) in the cup reacts with the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) they've been soaked in. The chemical reaction forms carbon dioxide gas bubbles which float to the surface, pulling the worms with them and making them wriggle until the chemical reaction stops.
Test different candies to see whether they sink or float. Do any of them get bubbly when you drop them in vinegar? Put some colorful candy in a shallow plate of milk. Does the color stay in the candy or move into the milk?
© Quarry Books, 2016/Kitchen Science Lab for Kids
Featured Photos Credit: © Quarry Books