If you weren’t already aware, Pinterest is one of the biggest search engines on the web. Yep, that’s right. It isn’t only for pinning recipes and decorating ideas that we’re never going to actually get around to; it’s also great for finding DIY activities to do with the kiddos. If you’ve got kids who love STEM stuff, you’ll find tons of ideas for them. More than you could realistically ever tackle, of course — but a lot, nonetheless. However, if you’re like us, you’re looking for fun, easy projects that don’t require a trip to eight different stores and a (literal) degree in rocket science. And those aren’t quite as easy to come by. Till today, that is, because we’ve got ya covered. Mama, say hello to elephant toothpaste.
We know what you’re thinking: What in the heck is elephant toothpaste? Great question. Simply put, it’s a chemical reaction with hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and yeast (yes, like the stuff you bake with). The end result looks like toothpaste but bigger. So much bigger! Elephant-sized, in fact — hence the name. But before we dive into the basics of how to actually make elephant toothpaste, a quick disclaimer: Do not try to brush your teeth with this stuff. We shouldn’t have to say it, but we do. Just in case. You never know… people are weird. But you aren’t, are you? You know not to brush your teeth with dish soap, right? OK then, glad we got that out of the way. Moving on.
So, with that said, let’s get to the science-y stuff. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make elephant toothpaste, including the recipe and materials required. Get ready for an afternoon of giggles (and, yes, maybe a little mess) with your kiddos.
How to Make Elephant Toothpaste with Your Kids
Here ya go — the what, the where, and the how. In other words, consider this your complete guide to making elephant toothpaste with your tiny, STEM-lovin’ humans.
- Yeast — You can get this from the baking aisle, of course.
- Dish soap — Any kind will do, but the “blue one” is preferred.
- Three percent hydrogen peroxide
- Warm water
- Empty container — A plastic soda bottle works great, but mix and match with different sized and shaped containers for extra fun!
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Large spoon — This is for stirring and stuff.
- Safety glasses — And this is for safety… duh.
- Apron — This is optional, but it’ll keep your clothes clean-ish.
- Large tray or tub to contain the mess — Uh, it’s a science experiment, so enough said.
- Liquid food coloring — This is also optional, but it’s highly recommended.
You’re definitely gonna wanna do this somewhere that can handle a spill or two (because, kids). Sure, the kitchen would be great. But let’s be honest — outside is a better option, especially if the weather’s nice.
- Don your safety gear. Ya know… for safety and stuff.
- Prep your supplies. The last thing you want to do is make a mid-experiment-missing-ingredient-run. Lay out your tray or tub to contain the mess and make sure you’ve got everything ready to go:
- Measuring cups
- Pour a half cup of hydrogen peroxide into a container.
- Add in a big squeeze of dish soap and give it a good stir.
- Here’s where it gets fun. Time to add in the food coloring (unless you’re a party pooper who hates fun colors, in which case, proceed to the next step). If you want your elephant toothpaste to be one color, go ahead and add in a few drops, stirring well. If you want your concoction to have stripes that resemble actual toothpaste, take the food coloring and add a few drops around the container’s rim, letting it trickle down. Do not mix.
- Now, in your measuring cup, mix up three tablespoons of warm water and one tablespoon of yeast. Stir well for about 30 seconds to activate the yeast.
- Time to watch ‘er blow! Add your activated yeast to the peroxide and dish soap mixture and see what happens. At this point, you should observe a reaction that looks like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube. Only, as we mentioned above, it will be “elephant-sized” toothpaste as opposed to normal-sized toothpaste.
All that’s left at this point is to enjoy. Be sure to snap a pic of your kiddo’s awed (or not so awed — we don’t judge) reaction and share on IG. Tag us @scarymommy. We’d love to see!
Can elephant toothpaste hurt you?
People usually wonder whether elephant toothpaste is a hot or cold substance, but it actually gives off a heated reaction. It isn’t hot enough to cause harm or burn you. This is called an exothermic reaction. Although elephant toothpaste isn’t toxic (and has an incredibly misleading name) it should never be ingested. Make sure participants are wearing safety goggles and gloves.
What is devil toothpaste?
Want to up your game with a giant version of elephant toothpaste? You’ve come to the right spot. Elephant toothpaste is like the baby version of devil toothpaste because they both have the same foamy look. However, devil toothpaste is a mass explosion that requires a catalyst like potassium iodide or yeast, hydrogen peroxide, and soap to get started. This makes the reaction colossal. Here’s a video below to show what it takes to make a humongous devil toothpaste explosion!
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