BFG Dream Potions

For her last birthday, T had a ‘story’ themed party. The children came dressed as book characters and we had several activities based around some of T’s favourite books.
My favourite of all of these was making dream potions, inspired by The BFG! I have to admit that being 4, we haven’t actually read the book to T yet…but she has seen the 1989 film. What a classic!

You will need:

• Washing up liquid
• Bicarbonate of soda
• Distilled malt vinegar
• Glitter
• Cabbage water

The process:

  1. First make the cabbage water by roughly chopping a red cabbage and boiling until the colour is extracted. Strain and put to one side to cool.
  2. Assemble your ingredients in containers – we used some nice bottles I found in Flying Tiger along with some beakers from a science set.
  3. Think up names for the different ingredients. Have a look at the book for inspiration or come up with your own!
  4. Start by giving each child a jar containing some cabbage water.
  5. Allow them to add ingredients as they wish, EXCEPT for the vinegar…save that until last.
  6. Enjoys their oohs and aahs as their dream potions change colour!
  7. When their dreams are ‘ready’ allow them to add the vinegar (‘liquid imagination’, I think we called it). Make sure you have a tray or a mat underneath! This gets messy!
Three jars can be seen. Red liquid is being poured from a glass bottle in ti the jar in the foreground. Other beakers can be seen in the background.
Adding the cabbage water to the jam jars.
Birds eye view of a jam jar with cabbage water topped by a liberal sprinkling of blue glitter
Plenty of glitter of course!
I repeated this activity again with T at a later date and she really enjoyed watching how the colour changed! She also experienced with what happened when she added the bicarbonate of soda first or the vinegar first. Putting the vinegar in first caused a much bigger and more explosive reaction! It was also great to observe the rich language she was using as she experimented: vocabulary such as ‘erupt’, ‘reaction’, and ‘experiment’. She was really noticing what was happening and enjoyed making her own observations, particularly the fizzing sound as the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda reacted with each other!
Three jam jars stand in a puddle of foamy, glittery liquid. Two of the jars are overflowing with bubbles form the reaction. There is also a small red beaker.

The science behind it

Red cabbage water is a pH indicator. It will change colour based on the acidity of whatever it comes in to contact with. As the children make their potions, the cabbage water will start to change colour.
Bicarbonate of soda reacts with the vinegar which makes the potions bubble and fizz!
Top of a jam jar overflows with pink foam sprinkled with blue glitter

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