Elephant Toothpaste

One science experiment we have been wanting to try was Elephant Toothpaste. First of all my boys thought the name was hilarious and we had so many different theories as to why it was called that. Here's a few for you to have a quick laugh:

  • When we mix the ingredients together, an elephant will come out of the bottle brushing it's teeth
  • The reaction that the ingredients will make will have an explosion so big it's as big as an elephant
  • When we mix the ingredients, the shape of the toothpaste will look like an elephant 

And the one that we decided was the best... 

  • The reaction causes such a big overflow that the liquid that comes out is so big and it looks like toothpaste and there is enough there for an elephant to use! 

This experiment was fairly easy to do for the boys on their own once we did it once together. 

First make sure your children are wearings safety goggles for this science experiment. I bought ours at the dollar store for $2 and the boys loved them! They felt like real scientists. 

Here's what you will need for ingredients:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide (we used 3%)
  • Dry Active Yeast
  • Dawn Dish Soap 
  • Warm Water
  • Food Colouring
  • A narrow neck water or pop bottle
  • A funnel
Curiosity Box Elephant Toothpaste.jpg

A couple of things to note. I tried to find a higher hydrogen peroxide (you can apparently get 6 and 12% but in Canada I could only find 3%.  I went to Walmart, a drug store and a beauty supply store and none of them carried it. I think the experiment still worked out great with the 3% but it would be cool to try with the 6% and see the difference! 

First measure out your yeast. Either using 2 tbsp or 1 packet, place it in a measuring cup (about 3/4 cup) of warm water. Push the yeast down into the water, and let it sit.

Curiosity Box Elephant Toothpaste 1.jpg

 

While you are waiting, measure out 1/2 a cup of hydrogen peroxide using a measuring cup and a funnel and pour it into your bottle. It's best to use a narrow neck pop or water bottle for this experiment. 

We put our pop bottle into a glass container so it was contained and easier for clean up afterwards. You can also use a cookie sheet. 

Next add your food colouring.  Remember that your dish soap should be blue and it will change the colour too! 

Next add your dish soap. You can be pretty generous with this!

After you've added those ingredients, you are ready to watch science! Be ready.... 

Curiosity Box Elephant Toothpaste 5.jpg

Mix your yeast ingredients slightly with a spoon and then pour it into the funnel and into your mix. Quickly pour all ingredients in and then remove the funnel and watch the toothpaste rise to the top and pour over the container. 

Curiosity Box Elephant Toothpaste 6.jpg

Here's what happens: 

The foamy substance is created by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by using the yeast as a catalyst. The sodium iodide (yeast) reacts with the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by removing an oxygen atom. This pretty much produces water and oxygen gas (H2O + O2). Then what happens is the oxygen gas produced gets trapped by the soap which results in the foam reaction. The reaction produces oxygen gas, water and iodine. 

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The foam is totally safe to touch (and so soft and somewhat puffy!) - the peroxide (H2O2) is broken down in the reaction - so there isn't any left.  It leaves behind water (H20) and oxygen (O2) only - so it's completely safe to handle. If you were to use the stronger hydrogen peroxide, I would do some research first before handling it. 

You can watch my boys do their first "official" YouTube video on their own where they are doing the Elephant Toothpaste Experiment to explain everything to you! I was SO proud of them and I love that my oldest son at the end of the video asks you to follow our channel and like our video....what a kid!! LOL. 

Happy experimenting everyone!! 

-Cassie