Thursday, June 7, 2012


My boys are obsessed with making "potions".  The oldest, via his dad, had discovered the "volcano trick", aka, mixing baking soda and vinegar.

Recently, my oldest son (11) had a lot of fun mixing vinegar, water, baking soda, and food coloring for little "potions".  I couldn't believe just how long he occupied himself doing this.  Today, he was begging to do it again, and I got to thinking...

I could make this WAY cooler than it was...

So I did.

Basically, the four main ingredients remain the same: vinegar, baking soda, water, and food coloring.  The extras I threw in this time were whole cloves, cardamom pods, and fenugreek seeds.  Probably any whole spices you have lying around would work, even rosemary.  (Next time I'll throw in rosemary instead of the fenugreek... those little seeds were impossible to crush.)

I threw in the mortar and pestle, which added a whole new element of fun to this process for them.  My younger son (5) had problems crushing the spices at first, so I put some croutons in one of the containers for him.  Each boy got their own little mixing container with a long spoon and had a great time for quite a long time making their "potions".  When they were finished with each one, they simply poured the mixture into the sink and started again.

All of the ingredients (except for the water) were put onto a lazy susan for some extra fun.  

I had a couple of little rules to share, just so that you could avoid some of the issues that we encountered.  For instance, use only a very SMALL amount of baking soda in each potion or you'll get the volcano effect instead of the gentle "magic" fizzle effect.  Tell the kids to squeeze the food coloring very gently and get only one drop at a time.  (Though sometimes they'd accidentally get more than one drop, this kept them from squirting the stuff in and wasting it all... Well, for the most part.  I bet your food coloring has been languishing unused in your cupboard for like 3 years anyway, so I'm sure you'll have enough whether they use it sparingly or not.)

All in all, it was an extremely simple way for the boys to spend a large portion of their afternoon.  They finished at one point, but I left everything set up for them and, sure enough, they were back in the kitchen after only a little while making more potions.

I'm excited to have one more fun activity in my arsenal against them exclusively sitting on their rumps in front of the TV all day.  ^_~

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