Skip to Content

Dancing Popcorn

Why not share this post!

This simple toddler science experiment is so much fun!

Spark your toddler’s curiosity with this dancing popcorn science experiment. With just a few kitchen ingredients, they will be dropping ‘wows’ and ‘hows?’ watching popcorn kernels drop and rise over and over again.

Dancing Popcorn

Dancing Popcorn

Truth be told this activity is not just for toddlers. While setting this experiment up, and explaining what we were about to do, I was sitting on the edge of my seat as much as Mr 3. Science play is the best!

There are so many opportunities to learn through play while exploring scientific concepts and this experiment is no exception.

While watching popping corn dancing with air bubbles, Mr 3 was learning about states of matter, cause, and effect, making predictions, building his vocabulary, and refining his pouring skills.

All eagerly, because of science!

Dancing Popcorn

What you need for a dancing popcorn science experiment:

We used a tall jar as the main vessel for our experiment. This was to allow for plenty of dance moves to be made by our corn kernels.

The tray was used to catch any spills that may happen.

How to set up your dancing popcorn science experiment:

The first step in setting up your dancing popcorn science experiment is to pour the water into the jar.

The next step is to add the bicarbonate of soda.

Pour the bicarb into the water before using the spoon to stir. It will take a few minutes of stirring to dissolve the bicarbonate of soda. Simply stir until it can no longer be seen settling on the bottom of the jar.

Dancing Popcorn

From here, add the popping corn kernels.

Take a few moments to make some observations.

Has the popcorn started dancing?

Are any kernels floating or sinking?

Are there any air bubbles forming around the kernels?

Dancing Popcorn

These inquiry questions will draw your child’s attention to the finer details of what the experiment is presenting.

The next step is where the real science happens and some dance moves!

Time to add the vinegar.

Dancing Popcorn

Slowly pour the vinegar into the water. We went a little heavy-handed and the jar overflowed with bubbles!

As the main event of bubbles settled, we were able to see the dancing popcorn.

As bubbles of gas, created by the chemical reaction between the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, gathered around the popping corn kernels, they rose to the top before dropping back down again.

This happened time and time again, resulting in the kernels going up and down even though the jar was not being touched.

Mr 3 loved watching the popcorn kernels dancing up and down. We would watch the bubbles form and guess which would go up next. When they settled he sent them on their way in a whirlpool with his spoon.

Science with kids is so easy with experiments such as dancing popcorn. It is all taste-safe which is perfect for toddlers and they just love watching the chemical reaction time and time again. A great way to fill half an hour at home with pantry play ingredients!

For more fun toddler activity ideas why not join our Facebook Group or follow us on Instagram – follow @myboredtoddler and use #myboredtoddler.

Follow us for more toddler activity ideas


50 Easy Toddler Activities
Science Experiments for Toddlers
Fun and easy science activities for toddlers and preschoolers - My Bored Toddler

About the Author

Dani is a busy stay-at-home Mum of 3 and an early childhood teacher in training who is passionate about play-based learning throughout early childhood. For educational play ideas that you can do at home and parenting tips visit Play Inspired Mum Check her out on Instagram  andFacebook