Minty Reindeer Toothpaste

Activity for ages 3 to 8.

Mixing up a batch of this sparkly reindeer toothpaste is sure to get any little scientist excited about chemistry.  This pepperminty holiday twist on the popular Elephant Toothpaste demontration uses just a few ingredients but the results are amazing!  If only my kids toothpaste could be as fun reindeer toothpaste, maybe I wouldn’t have to nag them to brush everyday.
Super fun Christmas science for kids. Make reindeer toothpaste! My kids will love this.

Getting Ready

For this demo you’ll need make a quick run to the beauty supply store as well as gather a few supplies from around the house.

  • A clean 12-16 oz plastic bottle (one with a narrow opening is best)
  • 1/2 cup of  20-volume (6%) hydrogen peroxide liquid (This is a higher concentrated hydrogen peroxide that you can find at a beauty supply store. It is often called “developer”.)
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • food coloring (optional, about 8-10 drops)
  • plastic glitter (optional, metal glitter may react with the peroxide so make sure it is plastic glitter)
  • peppermint essential oil (a few drops for that wintery smell)
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • warm water
  • small cup or bowl
  • funnel (optional)
  • baking pan or something to catch the foam
  • safety goggles

Making the Toothpaste

Once we had all of our supplies, I called my kiddos over and explained we were going to make reindeer toothpaste.  We started by mixing the 1 tablespoon of yeast with 4 tablespoons of warm water.  Both A and Q took turns mixing the yeast until most of the clumps were gone, but they did end up needing a wee bit of help with the last few sticky chunks.

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While we waited for the yeast to bubble a bit, we turned our attention to the plastic bottle.  My 3 year old, Q, added a squirt of dish soap, while my 5 year old added several drops of wintery blue food coloring.

Next, we added several good shakes of plastic silver glitter to the bottle using a funnel.

DSC_0271I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil.  We tried using peppermint extract but the alcohol in it caused the reaction to fizzle.

Finally, I added a 1/2 cup of the 6% hydrogen peroxide solution to the bottle and gently swirled it around to mix it.  We couldn’t find our kiddos’ safety goggles so I quickly poured the yeast solution into the bottle using a funnel.  The reaction was immediate, I could barely get the funnel out before the foam had reached the mouth of the bottle!  You can see how fast the reaction is in during our second time making the reindeer toothpaste.  There’s no funnel this time to get in the way of all that foam!

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Both A and Q were amazed and couldn’t stop staring as the foam oozed over the edge of the bottle and down the side and filled the pan.

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Of course they couldn’t resist touching the sparkly foam and while playing with it noticed the bottle was warm!  “It’s hot!” they exclaimed and then hesitated to touch the foam again.

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After I explained that it was safe, they both demanded that we do it again.  Good thing I got the large bottle of peroxide!

The Science Behind It

The yeast we added to the hydrogen peroxide acted as a catalyst , a helper, that sped up the breaking down of the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.  The oxygen gas became trapped by the soap and made the massive amount of bubbly foam that oozed out the top of the bottle.  The bottle felt warm because the breaking down of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen is an exothermic reaction.  It produces heat.

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The specific enzyme that acts a a catalyst in yeast is called catalase, a common enzyme found in almost all living organisms exposed to oxygen including people.  So what do you think will happen when you pour hydrogen peroxide on a cut? It reacts with the catalase enzyme in your body and the hydrogen peroxide breaks down forming oxygen bubbles on your skin!

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11 Comments

  1. Eva /Kid Minds

    My kids are huge fans of activities in which foam is gushing out and all over the place. It’s even more fun when they can stick their hands in it. Looks like a fun projects for us to do!

    Reply
  2. britnet

    this is a really fun experience with my ten children!!!!

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Wow! So fun!
      I hope they loved it!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  3. susan

    the experiment was amazing

    Reply
    • Ashley

      We are thrilled that you enjoyed it!

      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  4. Pam Johansen

    So is using the developer completely safe for preschool kids? I have been leery of trying it from what I had read on other sites. I don’t have access to safety goggles for a whole group of kids, but really like for them to be able to do the pouring. Regular hydrogen peroxide isn’t nearly as much wow factor.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hi Pam,
      We totally understand your concern, but you are right in the fact that regular peroxide does not get the same results. Like with any chemical, we can’t say that it is completely safe to use with kids. However, we have had many people try this experiment and love it!
      If you don’t have safety goggles for your entire class, could you do it in a small group so all of the participants could wear goggles?
      I hope that helps!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  5. Gloria Avila

    I”m getting ready to order your books but why don’t you list the table of content.I’m afraid odering the same activities that the endless stem challenges has. Are the 50 stem geniuos activities included in the endless stem challenges? What about the kindergarden Stem Activities are they included in the endless stem challenges packet? Please let me know I need to order soon.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hi Gloria,
      Thanks for reaching out.
      All of our products are digital downloads, so we don’t sell any books that you would order.
      If you have our Endless STEM Challenge Bundle, you likely have our printable activity.
      In the post about Kindergarten STEM Activities, there are some activities that are explained on the blog and do not have a separate download (or you can download for free). Other activities are from different blogs, so you would need to click on their link to see the specific details.
      If you’re worried about ordering a duplicate, you can always email me at hello@playdoughtoplato.com and I can check for you.
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  6. ROSIE

    GOOD IDEA..THANK YOU FOR YOUR IDEAS!

    Reply
    • Ashley

      You are very welcome, Rosie!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!

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