This idea comes from Steve Spangler and it is such an easy and fun thing to do with the kiddos. I wanted to get this posted before Memorial Day weekend for some of you that might have BBQs planned or family trips or even camping trips.
Please try this if you have children (or boys in particular) because they will really think you are the coolest ever- I mean how often does Mom blow stuff up? (Your husband will think you are way cool too.)
There are a few ways to go about this that I will share, but here is what worked best for us (and I have been doing these every summer for 3 years now.)
- One pack of Mentos- we always get the mint kind
- One liter of Diet Cola Soda (the diet has less sugar so not as sticky to clean up. You can use any brand you find but Diet Coke has been the best for our experiments by far.)
- One sheet of construction paper or plain paper rolled into a tube and taped.
- One business card or piece of cardboard.
So what you want to do is get the entire tube of Mentos into the Diet Coke at once and you will get a geyser that shoots up into the air about 10-20 feet.
The only real trick here is that for the biggest bang you want all those little mints going into the soda at once. (Oh and get the heck out of the way once you do that.)
Steve Spangler actually sells a little test tube thing that you can buy for $6 and reuse over and over. This will guarantee success and you can get some different ways for the Diet Coke to spill out too.
We don’t bother with that- my husband just rolls up a piece of paper and feeds the mentos inside. The key to making your own is that it needs to be the right size. If it is too tight on the Mentos they won’t fall in and you want them to easily fall inside. If it is too loose they will fall on the ground and not into the liter of soda. We just roll up the paper and test it by holding it against the mouth of the open bottle of soda. The rolled paper should fit not quite inside the mouth of the soda bottle- about 1 inch in diameter.
Next you want to take the lid off the soda and please understand this will shoot up perhaps 25 feet in the air. So choose a spot where you won’t experience any damage and where a little pool of soda can easily be washed away.
Place a piece of cardboard or a business card on top of the mouth of the soda bottle. Put the Mentos tube on top of that.
Carefully yank away the card and the Mentos should all pour quickly into the bottle of soda. Run!
These will shoot up about 10-20 feet in the air. The highest is 25 feet and when we have had duds (because the tube was too big and the Mentos didn’t all fall in)- it went about 4 feet in the air.
It is hard to tell from the photos but a few of these got higher than the roof of the house (and there is my poor husband with a walking cast making a run for it to avoid a soda bath.)
I had a terrible time getting good shots of this but if you are the family photographer I suggest getting close ups of the kid’s faces if you can. It is really priceless.
Clearly I need to take my own advice and do a few more of these exploding Diet Soda geysers to get some close up shots of my little ladies.
They LOVED this and the minute I unpacked the mint Mentos from the bag my 5 year old was clapping her hands and asking if we were going to make geysers again this year.
If you want to explain the science behind this or for more details about how this all works, check out Steve Spangler Science.
And for more fun summertime activities for the kiddos, check out my pinterest board for children’s crafts: