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STEM Rockets for Kids

After my boys watched astronauts launch into Space, we wanted to make some rockets of our own! These vinegar baking soda rockets are a great STEM project to keep children entertained and incorporate educational aspects. 

As the kids integrated different ingredients, we spoke about how rockets take advantage of momentum when they launch and the power any moving object has. It was also a proud moment for my oldest to use certain scientific words like: combustion and scientific theory.

STEM Rockets for kids 

Materials:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Empty 16oz plastic bottle (We used a water bottle, but any bottle will do.)
  • Food Coloring (Whatever colors your little one wants. We chose red, yellow and blue to be festive for the Fourth of July.)
  • Rubber stoppers (These can be purchased online or at a local craft store such as Michaels or on Amazon. 
  • Pencils. Depending on how many bottles you’re setting up, you’ll need three for each bottle rocket.
  • Tape. We used Gorilla tape
  • Toilet paper, One-ply. Or, just separate two-ply.
  • Scissors
  • Funnel Not necessary, but it made it less messy.
  • An adult. Please do not let your child perform this activity alone.

Directions:

NOTE: I suggest you do this OUTSIDE! Even on a covered patio, these vinegar baking soda rockets will shoot pretty high and cause a mess on the ceiling. 

Step 1: Cut a long piece of strong tape for each baking soda rocket you’re going to launch. We did three. This was great practice for scissor use for Zachary, especially over the summer since he’s not in school or using them often. (Every step is designed to reinforce milestones and children’s needs for school.)

Step 2: Place one pencil at a time on the outside of the plastic bottle. Cover with tape while wrapping around the bottle and adding the rest of the pencils. Ensure the eraser side is pointed down near the opening of the bottle and is even with one another so the item is balanced once placed on the table. Use a funnel and fill each container with vinegar half way.

Step 3: Add desired food coloring.  We used about three to four drops each bottle. This can also be a great chance to add two colors and quiz your little ones on tertiary colors.

Step 4: Rip off a square piece of toilet paper and add one spoon full of baking soda in the center. You don’t want to add too much because the toilet paper needs to wrap around the ingredient and be shoved into the hole of the bottle. Adults may need to help – my children just kept covering the table with baking soda and playing in it instead. 

Get ready for the next few steps to occur QUICKLY!  Adults should be fully involved at this stage.

Step 5: Insert the rolled up toilet paper filled with baking soda into the 16oz vessel.

VERY QUICKLY put the rubber stopper in the open hole of the bottle, shake, and flip over with the eraser side of the pencils resting on your table.

STAND BACK and watch the rockets soar!!!

Have lots of fun, and BE SAFE!  This may not be the cleanest craft, but it was definitely one of the most fun!  

Gina Lawrence

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