Looking for an easy kid’s science project? My son and his mate recently made elephant toothpaste (um…what??) for their Science Week project this year and had an absolute blast.
If you’re after something colourful and cool to get their scientific brains bubbling, then Elephant Toothpaste is a winner.
Okay, first things first, what the heck is elephant toothpaste?
It’s a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing liquid and dry yeast. Together they form a chemical reaction that turns into an oozing, bubbling mess. I suppose it resembles what elephant’s toothpaste would look like, if elephants brushed their teeth.
We first discovered the stuff through YouTube where scientific madman Mark Rober makes epic elephant toothpaste experiments in his swimming pool. He also makes something called Devil’s Toothpaste which is even crazier!
Of course, we weren’t going to be able to do an experiment of this caliber because A. Our pool has water in it. B. I don’t have the funds to purchase 8 million kilograms of dry yeast.
But we could make elephant toothpaste on a smaller scale. And you can too. Here’s how to do it:
What you need:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dry yeast
- Dishwashing liquid
- Food colour
- Warm water and a small bowl and whisk
- Different bottles and a funnel
- Plus gloves and googles
How to make elephant toothpaste:
- Choose your bottle and place the funnel into it.
- Pour 200ml of hydrogen peroxide into the bottle. We got this from the first aid section at Woolies.
- Add a big squirt of dishwashing liquid into the bottle (about 3 tablespoons).
- Add several squirts of food colouring into the bottle. This is just to make the elephant toothpaste look pretty.
- Place 1 and 1/2 packages of dry yeast (about 12 g) into 45ml of hot water. You can get the dry yeast package at the supermarket. Mix using the whisk for three minutes.
- The next, step is the fun bit. Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle and remove the funnel.
- Watch the foam slither out as the yeast reacts with the hydrogen peroxide.
Now, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your elephant toothpaste. Choose a bottle that has a small opening or a flask. Play around with different sizes too.
My son and his mate decided to mix all the experiments together at the end and play around with the mixture but we don’t recommend doing this at home as the hydrogen peroxide can be hot.
However, if they insist, make sure they wear gloves and an apron as the stuff stains!
If science is your children’s vibe, then check out this other easy kid’s science project – exploding a watermelon using a rubber band.