Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fizzing letters

I am always looking for interesting and new ways to create fun and exciting learning opportunities for my daughter. She loves hands on and messy activities, so when I came across some children's activity sites that created some fizzy fun, I knew I had to give it a go.
The first site that gave me the inspiration for my fizzing letters activity was provided by They used the ingredients to create mini fizzy volcano pictures. Another great activity was making fizzy side walk chalk. I found this on
I wanted to add a literacy twist to the fizzy fun, so I came up with the idea of the fizzing letter game. Read on to find out how to play.
Who can play?
Children two years plus, but this depends on the child's age and stage of development.

As with all activities children need to be supervised and the area used made safe.
I would strongly discourage children to drink or eat any of the ingredients used in this activity. They may make them seriously unwell. 
Ensure the knife that you are using is blunt, so as not to cut little fingers.

What do you need?
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Vinegar
  • food colouring
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Patio/sidewalk/pavement depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on.
  • Chalk
  • Blunt knife
Questions to ask:
what do you think will happen when we put the liquid on the bicarbonate of soda?
What is happening?
what can you see?
why do you think the liquid is causing bubbles?
can you name the letters?

What did we do?
As always the first thing you need to do is prepare the area. This can be done by pouring the bicarbonate of soda onto the the floor, into 4 letter shapes, but you could do more depending on the age and stage of development of the child. I chose the letters J,K,M and L. Older children can also help out at this point by making their own letters.
To add another dimension, interest and possible colour recognition to the letters, I took a blunt knife and scraped it along the side of the chalk, making the coloured dust fall on the letters.
Before Bee was invited to play the game, I filled a spray bottle 3/4 of the way with vinegar and the rest with water. The activity was then ready.

Bee was curious as to what we were going to do. I explained that we were going to play the fizzy letter game. I would ask her what the initial letter of the words, jump, kick, mum and love were. Once she guessed the letter correctly she could squirt it with the vinegar and water solution. Not only was this activity promoting letter recognition but Physical skills too, as she would try squeeze the trigger on the spray bottle and aim with precision at the letters. 
At first Bee was surprised at how the liquid bubbled and fizzed. She commented on it being "fizzy like lemonade" and how the letter began to disappear once she had squirted a lot of liquid on it. She also noticed change of state as the powder changed to a fizzing liquid.

When all the letters had been washed away, Bee asked could she draw er own picture, who was i to pass up an important child initiated activity?! It seemed that she had been watching closely as she made a pattern on the floor with the bicarb, scraped the chalk like i did and squirted it. She seemed fascinated by the way her picture fizzed as it disappeared.
What did we learn?
  • Communication and language-Speaking and listening. Talking about what we are seeing and what will happen next
  • Physical development- Fine manipulative skills as she learns how to squeeze the trigger on the spray bottle. Hand eye coordination and precision when aiming the spray at the letters. 
  • Personal, social and emotional- joining in with a game and listening to the rules. Making relationships. Fun and enjoyment. self help skills and independence 
  • Literacy- Linking sounds to letters, learning how to read and write. Segmenting words so that she can find the initial letter.
  • Mathematics- making patterns and developing concepts of space and measurement. 
  • Understanding of the world- Experimenting with the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar solution. Predicting what will happen next
  • Expressive arts and design- Designing her own picture with the bicarbonate of soda

What could be done next?

  • For children who prefer visual clues, you could use objects and ask your child to guess the initial letter of the object.
  • Add scents such as vanilla, peppermint and almond essence to the vinegar solution, this will create a sensory experience
  • The purpose of this activity could be changed, so that instead of developing letter recognition you could promote shapes, numbers or even colours.
  • Try making the sidewalk chalk or fizzy volcano pictures that are mentioned above.

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