The Twelve Days of Science! Day 8: Candy Cane Elephant Toothpaste!

On the eighth day of Christmas Science, my mommy made with me… Candy Cane Elephant Toothpaste!

Chemistry and Christmas go hand in hand, and today’s experiment is no exception! This is one of our favorite chemistry experiments and it’s perfect for this time of year! So come and learn about exothermic reactions, atoms and molecules, and foamy experiments! Just make sure you bring your safety goggles and gloves…

Materials Needed:

Salon strength Hydrogen Peroxide (you can get a 6% solution at a salon or beauty supply store, 3% at the drugstore. Salon strength will give you a better reaction!)
1 or 2-liter bottle (we used a vase, the bottles will give more of a toothpaste look)
1 pkg or 1 Tbsp of active dry yeast
Small bowl of lukewarm water
Dish Soap
Food Coloring
Gloves and Safety Goggles!


1. Put on your gloves and goggles!

2. Prepare your yeast as you would if you were baking bread. Stir the yeast into warm water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. As you watch the yeast begin to bubble, you’ll know that it’s alive and kickin’!

3. Pour approximately 1/3 of a cup of hydrogen peroxide into a container.

4. Add a squirt of dish soap to the peroxide, then add your food coloring. Gently swirl to mix.

5. Add your yeast and stand back!

What’s Happening?

Hydrogen Peroxide is similar to water in that it is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen. However, while water is H2O, Hydrogen Peroxide is made of H2O2 (there’s a joke about this that comes to mind…)! This extra oxygen atom can break off really easily once the yeast is added to the mix!

The yeast chomps through the hydrogen peroxide molecule, releasing the oxygen. When it does, it also creates a lot of energy in the form of heat. This is called an exothermic reaction!

The fun thing about all of those bubbles, is that they’re filled with oxygen! The dish soap traps all of those extra O’s in bubbles, building into a foam that you get to play with!

Just make sure you remember your gloves. 🙂


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