I will be honest when I first saw pictures of this experiment I thought it was something to do with toothpaste…WRONG! It is only called the Elephant Toothpaste experiment because when it comes out of the top of the bottle it looks like toothpaste, however it does not feel or taste (DO NOT TASTE IT) like toothpaste. Once I read more on it, I thought it would be a cool experiment my kids would enjoy.
The hardest thing with this experiment is getting the hydrogen peroxide, it is not the one you use on cuts so it is harder to find. I went to a few pharmacies looking for 6% hydrogen peroxide (the one for cuts is 3% and will not work for this) and none of them had it. I finally found it at a beauty supply store, but there it is called 20 volume hydrogen peroxide. Apparently it is used for coloring hair. So my advice is save yourself the trouble and just go to the beauty store first.
The girls thought it was really cool when the foam started coming out (which happens pretty fast after pouring in the yeast). They could not resist touching it to see what it felt like and they noticed that it was warm and did not feel like toothpaste at all but like the bubbles from a bubble bath. Once the bubbles stopped coming out they had fun playing with the foam for a bit and then asked if we could do it again, guess that means this experiment was a hit! Make sure you check out all our other Science Experiments for some more science fun!
What is happening with this experiment? The yeast you are using is acting as a Catalyst to quickly remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. The dish soap then catches the oxygen and helps to makes lots of bubbles. This process is creating an Exothermic Reaction, which means that it is creating heat. So you will notice that the bubbles are warm. Also the only reason this is called the Elephant Toothpaste experiment is because when it comes out of the top of the bottle it looks like toothpaste, however it does not feel or taste (DO NOT TASTE IT) like toothpaste.
Check out our SCIENCE board on Pintrest for more fun experiments!
Empty 16oz Plastic Bottle
1/2 Cup 6% Hydrogen Peroxide (or 20 Volume)
1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast
3 Tablespoons of Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Liquid Dish Soap
2 or 3 drops Food Color (optional)