Chemical Reaction Experiment

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Written by Marci Goodwin of The Homeschool Scientist.

Kids love the idea magic potions. Who hasn’t dreamed of mixing a little this and a little that to get an unexpected reaction?

Simple chemical reaction experiments are kind of like magic potions. Sometimes everyday kitchen ingredients, when mixed together, can do amazing things. These kinds of experiments are great ways to introduce kids to chemistry.

Chemical Reaction Experiment

You probably have all the ingredients for this magic potion in your kitchen right now. Grab the kids and tell them to prepare to be amazed.

Penny Chemistry Experiment

Supplies needed

  • 2 pennies (the dirtier the better)
  • vinegar
  • salt
  • paper towel
Chemical Reaction Experiment


Step 1: Note the color of the pennies.

Step 2: Place the pennies in a bowl and shake a little salt onto them.

chemical reaction experiment

Step 3: Cover the pennies and salt with vinegar.

Chemical reaction experiment

Step 4: Leave the pennies in the bowl for a 4-5 minutes.

chemical reaction experiment

Step 5: Remove the pennies from the bowl and note the color of the pennies.

Step 6: Rinse of the pennies under water.

Step 7: Place the pennies in a windowsill to dry.

Step 8: Note of the color of the pennies after a couple hours.

What’s Happening

The acetic acid of the vinegar reacts with the salt, or sodium chloride, to produce sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride is a strong acid and when combined sodium acetate they rapidly clean the surface of the penny. Since pennies are made of mostly copper, the cleaning process reveals the shiny copper color.

Rinsing stopped the chemical reaction that cleaned the pennies. Eventually, the copper will react with the oxygen in the air and the rinsed penny will dull. This will take a long duration of time.

chemical reaction experiment

However, the salt and vinegar left on the unrinsed penny causes a different reaction between the copper and the oxygen in the air. As a result, copper oxide was formed and the penny turned a blue-green color in just a couple hours.

Try this experiment at home with your kids. Vary the amounts of salt and vinegar and test the reaction time.

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This article was written by a Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers guest author. See the author's full bio in the body of the post.

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  1. I love this! My kids make “potions” on their own all the time (which generally means I have a lot of cleaning up to do and more mouthwash to buy) so I know they will love this experiment. Thanks!

  2. This is awesome! If there is one area where my teaching skills are lacking it is science. This experiment looks very simple and fun, and you explained it so well that I will be able to articulate the main points back to my girls when we try this out! Which we will, because I can already tell this would be a project my middle daughter would have a blast with. She is my budding scientist (poor thing had to have a mom with a lack of science know how). Thanks for sharing this!!

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