The erupting snowman – a Christmas science experiment

We have had a lot of fun with this little Christmas science experiment. It is so simple, it is definitely worth a try if you have a few minutes to spare and want to give the kids a good laugh.

Here is what you will need:

Erupting Snowman

  • A small jar, or similar, decorated as a snowman. We covered ours in modeling clay and painted it but you could get the kids to paint a jar or decorate it as they wish. (The jar I used here is 100ml volume but you can alter the size.)
  • Some water (I used 40mls)
  • Washing up liquid (I added about a tablespoon)
  • Baking soda (also know as bread soda or sodium bicarbonate, but NOT baking powder… they are quite different)
  • A teaspoon.
  • Something to stir with
  • White malt vinegar (I used 40mls)

Here is what you do:

  • First add the water and then the washing up liquid.
  • Next add a heaped teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Give it a good stir.
  • Add all the vinegar, quickly,  stand back and watch’s the poor snowman’s brains explode… that’s got to hurt!
  • And once your poor snowman has recovered, you can give him a quick rinse and do it all over again!

The Science bit:

It is all down to the vinegar and baking soda, when the two are added, they react rapidly together and one of the products of the reaction is carbon dioxide gas (CO2). This gas mixes with the diluted washing up liquid forming a white bubbly foam that erupts out the top of the snowman.

Simple! Seasonal! Science!

Happy Christmas.


Looking for some more #science and #craft ideas for the Christmas Season? I have two guest posts on the lovely Where Wishes Comes From blog; Click the links below to pop over and have a look. There is lots more to see over there as Sadhbh is running a Craft Advent special, a different activity every day!

Chromatography Christmas Trees
Chromatography Christmas Trees
Ho Ho Ho Santa Sound Tubes
Ho Ho Ho Santa Sound Tubes





Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

6 thoughts on “The erupting snowman – a Christmas science experiment

  • March 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Trying this but “attempting” to swap the snowman for an easterbunny – wish me luck!

    • March 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Oooh, great idea Matt, good luck with it (I want to try it now!)

  • January 16, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Will be trying this out, this weekend! The mad scientist in me !!

    • January 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Hope it worked for you Tom! Always good to keep the mad scientist within happy 🙂

  • December 17, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Ooh, this looks great-and easy enough to get the minis involved!

    • December 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      It really is simple Aedín and lots of fun, I hope your lovely little minis enjoy it

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