Lifestyle & Parenting

Kid Activity: Elephant Toothpaste Experiment

June 18, 2024

The elephant toothpaste experiment is a fun and visually impressive chemistry demonstration that involves the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Here’s how you can safely perform the experiment:

Materials Needed

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2): Use a 6% or higher concentration. (Available in beauty supply stores, usually as hair developer)
  2. Yeast: Active dry yeast or instant yeast.
  3. Warm Water: For activating the yeast.
  4. Dish Soap: Any brand will work.
  5. Food Coloring: Optional, for visual effect.
  6. Plastic Bottle: A 16-ounce bottle works well.
  7. Tray or Large Container: To contain the foam.
  8. Safety Gear: Gloves and safety goggles.


  1. Set Up: Place your plastic bottle in the center of the tray or large container. This will catch the foam overflow.
  2. Add Hydrogen Peroxide: Pour about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of hydrogen peroxide into the bottle. Be careful, as higher concentrations can be caustic.
  3. Add Dish Soap: Add a good squirt of dish soap into the bottle with the hydrogen peroxide. This will help trap the oxygen and create foam.
  4. Add Food Coloring: If you want colored foam, add a few drops of food coloring into the bottle. You can mix colors for a more dramatic effect.
  5. Prepare Yeast Solution: In a separate small container, mix one packet of yeast (about 1 tablespoon) with about 3 tablespoons of warm water. Stir well to activate the yeast.
  6. Add Yeast Solution: Quickly pour the yeast mixture into the bottle with the hydrogen peroxide solution. Stand back and watch the reaction!

What Happens

The reaction you see is the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. The yeast acts as a catalyst, speeding up the reaction. The soap captures the oxygen, creating a large amount of foam that shoots out of the bottle, resembling “elephant toothpaste.”

Chemical Equation

2H2O2→2H2O+O22 H_2O_2 \rightarrow 2 H_2O + O_22H2​O2​→2H2​O+O2​

Safety Precautions

  • Wear Gloves and Goggles: Hydrogen peroxide, especially at higher concentrations, can irritate skin and eyes.
  • Perform in a Well-Ventilated Area: The reaction releases oxygen gas, which is safe but should be done in a well-ventilated area.
  • Supervision for Kids: If children are participating, make sure an adult is supervising.

This experiment is a great way to demonstrate an exothermic reaction and the catalytic process in a fun and engaging manner! Or, get the sticker here!


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