1. Make Giant Gummies
Who doesn’t love a gummy bear? It’s even better when you see your favorite gummy treat expand to twice its size… or greater. Simply drop a gummy into a clean mason jar filled with water and wait. The porous gummy will absorb the liquid and expand.
2. The Twisted Candy Cane
Have too many candy canes after the holidays? Don’t pitch them or force yourself to eat them – turn them into science projects instead!
For this experiment, you’ll need several candy canes (any flavors or sizes should do), a baking sheet, an oven and some aluminum foil. Carefully unwrap the candy canes and place them onto pieces of aluminum foil that are shaped like they are. Put the aluminum foil and candy canes onto the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven is hot, pop the baking sheet into the oven. After two or three minutes, check on the candy canes. Don’t allow them to melt; they should just be malleable, not drippy! Test them with tongs, not your fingers. When they seem bendable, take them out of the oven and wait a minute so they won’t burn your hands. At the point that they can be safely touched, allow your children to twist them into shapes. Make pretzels and circles and curlicues!
3. How Does an Elephant Brush His Teeth?
Have you ever wondered what elephant toothpaste might look like? Tell your kids that you’re going to make some together.
What you’ll need for this project:
- A two-liter soda bottle, cleaned
- Hydrogen peroxide solution (at least 6% or greater)
- Dishwashing soap (liquid)
- Warm water
- One yeast packet
- Food coloring
- A cooking pan (such as for a roast)
- Place the soda bottle upright in the middle of the cooking pan
- Fill the bottle with a half cup of hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of the food coloring, and a few drops of the dishwashing soap
- In another bowl, mix together two tablespoons of the warm water and the yeast, allowing the yeast to dissolve
- Allow your child to SLOWLY pour the yeast mixture into the soda bottle mixture and watch the elephant toothpaste come to life
4. Will It Dissolve?
This is another fast experiment that doesn’t take much time to set up, but can provide a lot of fun discussions. You’ll just need a clear bowl filled with water, and several other bowls each filled with a variety of items: salt, sugar, baking soda, rice, tea, coffee, spices. Allow your child to put one ingredient into the bowl of water. Then, see if it dissolves. Continue with the experiment, removing the old water and re-filling the bowl each time.
5. Magnetic Magic
Want to show a little one the power of magnets? Get an empty, clear two-liter soda bottle. Fill it with half-inch long pipe cleaner bits. (You can just cut them to this size.) There should be about 3-4 inches worth at the bottom of the soda bottle when you’re finished.
Now, let your child use a larger magnet to run along the side of the soda bottle. The metal-based pipe cleaners will be attracted to the magnets.
6. Make Your Own Jellyfish
This experiment is mostly for pleasure, but kids really do love the results.
You’ll only need a one- or two-liter clear bottle (cleaned), a clear plastic grocery bag, dyed water (blue is nice), scissors and a white string. First, fill the bottle halfway with the dyed water. Then, lay out your plastic grocery bag. Start cutting it into small strips (you may need to do some trial runs with this.) Tie the strips together to form a jellyfish-like shape.
Now, push the plastic “jellyfish” into the dyed water. Gently add more dyed water on top of it, leaving at least two or three inches of air at the top of the bottle. Tightly secure the top to the bottle, and then allow your children to play with the “jellyfish in a bottle”.
7. What Color Is Your Celery?
Little kids love to see how foods can be used for the purpose of science. In this experiment, they’ll play with celery and food coloring.
You’ll just need some celery stalks, water, clear glasses and several shades of food coloring. Fill each glass halfway with water and then add some food dye to each glass. Cut the celery stalks so the leafy part is at the top. Place the other end directly into the glass. Over several hours, the colored water will begin to move up into the stalk. After a period of time, the kids will see how the porous celery has absorbed the colored water.
NOTE: Some children are allergic to certain food dyes, so it’s best not to eat this experiment as a snack!
8. Sunscreen Importance
Do your kids whine about wearing sunscreen? Show them the value of it with some sunscreen and black construction paper. Put a dab of sunscreen onto the paper and then smear it around. Place the black construction paper into direction sunlight for a few hours. Notice how the construction paper fades where the sunscreen wasn’t applied.
9. Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!
Make it rain inside your house.
- A plate
- A glass mason jar
- Ice cubes (about one or two cups)
- Very hot water
Place the hot water into the glass jar, about a third of the way up. Put the plate on top of the jar. Place all the ice cubes carefully on the plate. Watch the inside of the jar start to exhibit rain!
10. Bouyancy “Magic”
For this project, you’ll need only a ketchup packet and a one- or two-liter plastic bottle filled about three-quarters of the way to the top with water. Pop the ketchup packet into the bottle, and then squeeze the bottle to see if you can make the packet move up or down. Try different packets, such as those of mustard or soy sauce. Do they move the same way as the ketchup packet did?
11. Now You See It, Now You Don’t
What you’ll need for this project:
- Two clear plastic cups
- Food coloring (red is great to use)
- Fill one plastic cup three-quarters of the way with water
- Add several drops of food coloring to the water and mix it up until it is red/pink
- Fill the other plastic cup one-quarter of the way with bleach
- Slowly add the bleach to the water mixture
- Watch as the bleach expands the molecules of dye attached to the water molecules, thereby making the water look clear again
WARNING: Do not under any circumstances drink the bleached water!