Dancing Frankenworms

Activity for ages 2 to 5.

This simple kids’ science activity is perfect for little mad scientists who like seeing creatures come alive before their eyes.  Like our fizzing popsicle paint and magic balloons, this kids’ science experiment uses baking soda and vinegar to make gummy worms dance.

Check out the simple step-by-step below and then join The Plato Pack so you can access DOZENS more jaw dropping (but easy prep!) science experiments kids will love!

Awesome Kids Science Make Worms Dance!!

Getting Ready

First, I grabbed a bag of gummy worms and a few common household items:

Gummy Worms

Baking Soda

Vinegar

Cutting Board

Sharp Knife

2 Clear Cups

I cut the gummy worms in quarters.  {I found it easier to do with a wet knife or one dusted with baking soda to prevent the worm from sticking to the knife.}

So cool! This kids' science activity makes worms dance!!

Next, I had my 4 year old, A, measure out 3 tablespoons of baking soda and stir them into a glass filled with 1 cup of warm water.  I handed her the pile of cut worms {we cut 3 worms in 12 pieces} and had her mix them into the baking soda and water concoction.

Love this kids' science activity!! Make worms dance.

Now came the hard part, A had to wait a whole 15 minutes for the worms to soak in the baking soda mixture.

DSC_9122

While we waited we filled the second clear glass with vinegar.

As soon as the timer buzzed A ran to the worms and very carefully fished them out with a fork.  We started by placing just a couple worms in the vinegar and they instantly started forming bubbles.  After a few second the worms were covered in enough bubbles that they started rising from the bottom, writhing their way to the surface.

Awesome Kids Science Make Worms Dance!!

After several minutes A wanted to add more even though the first worms were still dancing about.  It turns out the extra worms just sat on the bottom, too weighted down by the other worms to rise.  So in this kids’ science experiment, less is more, with about 4 worms being the best.

A, delighted she could make gummy worms come to life, couldn’t wait to show her little brother.  He really thought they were alive and stared at them trying to figure out how we did it, then refusing to eat any of the remaining worms from the bag.  Super cool kids science. Make worms dance!!Quick and simple with lots of “oohs” and “aahs”, this kids’ science experiment is sweet in more ways than one!

The Science Behind It

When you add the worms soaked in baking soda, the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the bicarbonate in the baking soda.  

And when an acid and base react carbon dioxide gas bubbles form.  

These gas bubbles form on the gummy worm and as the gas bubbles rise to the surface, they pull the gummy worm up with them, making them wriggle and dance.  

As the gas bubbles burst, the worm falls back down until enough bubbles form to pull it back up.

The bubbles will continue to form until all the baking soda on the worm is used up and the worm will stop wiggling.

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54 Comments

  1. JC

    This did not work at all for us. We tried it for a science fair project and followed the directions in the post exactly but no dancing. They just laid on the bottom 🙁

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hi JC,
      I’m so sorry that the experiment did not work for you. The ratio can be sensitive depending on the gummy worms.
      You could try it with a higher concentration of baking soda, or you could also try it with sparkling water.
      Hope that you have better luck next time.
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  2. Mary Chaney

    Good morning,
    Our summer class tried the experiment with the worms. It seemed to be working with the bubbles attaching to the worms, but they did not dance. They only laid at the bottom of the vinegar jar. Is their a certain percentage of vinegar to use? The vinegar we used was 5% acidity. We will try this again at a later date.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hi Mary,
      Thanks for reaching out.
      I’m sorry the experiment didn’t work.
      Please check to be sure you sliced the worms lengthwise into pieces, so they are very thin. An entire worm is too heavy to “dance.”
      Also, make sure you allow sufficient time for the worms to soak in the baking soda mixture.
      Hope that helps!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply

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Hi, I’m Malia.

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