What? This is a messy fun activity to do with your wee ones who know not to put pennies in their mouths! You can read all about the science of it here. What could be more fun than being allowed to play with ketchup? If you're lucky, your wee ones will be entertained for maybe thirty minutes. It depends on how many pennies you have, your kidlet and their tolerance for mess and/or ketchup. You can also use taco sauce, lemon juice or vinegar but I think ketchup has the most mess factor which usually equals fun in any wee one's book.
What you need:
*old grungy pennies
*a clean space or splat mat
*cover ups for the kidlets
*a plastic tray, placemat or cookie sheet
*soap and water
Wash your pennies first so you won't freak out when your kidlets start snacking on their fingers. I like to put all the pennies in a container with a lid, add warm soapy water, seal and shake. Rinse until all soap is gone and viola, clean coins. Kidlets may even like doing this part.
Squirt a bunch of ketchup onto your work surface, add pennies and let them sit for at least 2 minutes to get the vinegar in the ketchup to start working on the copper oxide. Hand yer wee ones a toothbrush and let them scrub scrub scrub away. Toss the pennies back into the washing container, rinse and you're done!
Viola! Clean pennies! If you can get your wee ones into it, and they can read dates, have them sort the pennies by year and make a chart or graph. I've entertained other kidlets by having them use the coins as "blocks". They built some pretty interesting structures with pennies and other found objects. Ooh, don't forget this puzzle for your whole family! Have fun and happy washing!