The Classic Skittles Experiment 

Is it just me or is it now in style to get back to the classics… classic fashion, classic books, class acts? What makes something classic anyways? For kid’s science I have found that classic experiments are predictable, easy to set up, have a wow factor, and produce a ‘stick-ability’ in the minds of the beholders.

So for Science Friday at Andrew’s preschool I knew this would be a perfect activity to do alongside learning about rainbows. How many preschoolers can say that they know what a rainbow tastes like? Hint: They think it tastes like sugar and honestly I’d like to think if I could taste a real rainbow it would taste a lot like sugar too!

Here’s what you need:

  • Skittles – you can often find a small box of them for $1
  • White paper plates
  • Water

When I am doing science with kids I always look for way to make it easy to clean up. This is probably the #1 reason I don’t do science at home every single day is because I don’t want to make a mess.  But if all I need to do is fold up a paper plate when it is done then I’m all about it.

Here’s how you do it: 

  • Arrange 10 skittles around the small paper plate in a rainbow pattern
  • Pour water in the plate until all the Skittles are touching water
  • That’s it… classic.

What’s the science?

For 3 year olds, we talked about what colors are in a rainbow, what pattern we should make for a rainbow, and guessed about why Skittles dissolve in water.

For older kids, you can ask them to guess if the Skittles will dissolve faster in warm water or hypothesize on why the colors don’t initially mix together. The Skittles will dissolve faster the warmer the water because the warm water molecules are farther apart and able to fit the sugar molecules more quickly to form the solution.   Here is an interesting article about why the colors don’t mix together in M&Ms similar to Skittles. (Sounds like another experiment in the making!)

After Science Friday I had one happy guy. I mean really…candy and science is a classic winning combination every. single. time.

Here’s a fast motion video but the effect will take a few minutes for the colors to join up in the center of the plate.  Enjoy!

Categories: lovely conversations Tags: , , ,
Learn Binary Code with a Valentines Twizzler Necklace

What’s more fun than an edible candy necklace? It’s a candy necklace with a secret message!   Every year I pursue Pinterest to find a fun easy class Valentines card for my kids. This year I thought why not make it a fun learning activity too since Allie is old enough to help me assemble them.

I ran this idea past her and we thought the secret code could be the computer language of the ASCII alphabet.  This alphabet is made up of 1’s and 0’s (a binary code) and can be deciphered using two different colored Twizzlers.

What you need: Rainbow Twizzler Twists and jelly cord. (Not only are they fun colors but I found that Rainbow Twizzlers are easier to string on a necklace.)


How to do it:

  • Print out this pdf of ASCII binary code

  • Decide what secret word you want to put on your necklace (we chose the word ‘LOVE’ which is fourteen 1’s and thirteen 0’s)
  • Cut two colors of Twizzlers to 1-1/2″ sections  ( You’ll get about 7 sections per rope)
  • String the last letter on first and tie a knot
  • Continue stringing the binary code for each letter with a knot in between letters
  • Tie a bow to connect the ends of the necklace together

What’s the science?

Here is a fun video of why computers use a binary system of 1’s and 0’s to represent numbers and letters. This was a great hands on way to learn coding while making super fun gifts for friends! What kid doesn’t like a decoding challenge? (Actually the real challenge is to not eat it before you decipher the code!)  Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

 

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, gift guides, lovely conversations, science art Tags: , ,
5 Science in a Bottle Experiments


It’s safe to say I will never look at an empty 2L bottle the same way again. Now that I’ve had the pleasure of doing several science demonstrations, I’ve learned that there are at least 5 amazing experiments you can keep mostly contained to a 2L bottle.

The best thing though is watching the kids come back to see the experiment over and over again. You can see their little gears spinning each time they observe it with new guesses and theories.

Note: I’ve rated these experiments from 0 to 10 (0 being the least messy and 10 being the most messy) so you can choose the level of clean up afterwards. (You can thank me later!)

Tornado in a Bottle (Messy rating = 0)

This one is just mesmerizing. Kids and adults alike will stop and try it out. You can make it even more fun by adding glitter and a few sponge animals to recreate the movie Twister. I’ve also found that it calms down kiddos so they are ready for a nap… score 1 for Mom! Check it out here.

Bottle Diver Experiment  (Messy rating = 2)

I’ve been wanting to try this experiment (also called Cartesian Diver) for a long time but was majorly nervous that it wouldn’t work. Then I found Danielle’s site with amazing step by step instructions here. It turns out this is amazingly simple and it is fascinating to watch!

(The messy rating is a 2 because if the diver’s “tank” gets flooded then you have to fish him out of the bottle by dumping all the water out and filling the bottle back up.)

Blowing up a Balloon with Yeast (Messy rating = 3)

This is a classic experiment you’ve got to try if you are into making homemade bread. It helped answer Allie’s question abut why bread can be so fluffy. Check it out here.

024

Groovy Lava Lamps (Messy rating = 5)

The messy rating is going up but all you need for this one is a water bottle, water, vegetable oil, and Alka Seltzer tablets. The messy rating is a 5 because I have anxious kiddos who like to toss lots of Alka Seltzer tablets in already bubbling bottle of oily water. I’d advise doing the experiment over a pie plate to catch the oily water. Check out our lava lamp here.

A Mentos Geyser (Messy rating = 10… I think you can imagine why!)

Technically this does not start with an empty bottle but it will become empty in less than 15 seconds after this explosive experiment. I suggest you do it outside around a sprinkler or a pool for easy cleanup. Trust me, you will become an instant science celebrity to your kids! Check out Andrew’s birthday Mentos geyser here.

rockCan you think of other experiments in a bottle? I’d love to add your suggestions to the list!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, he loves science too!, Science Shows, Summer Bucket List Tags: , , , , ,
Watermelon Oobleck: A new twist on a classic experiment

Nothing says summer like eating watermelon and nothing says kid’s science like playing in oobleck. Perhaps because it gives kids permission to get completely and totally messy in the name of science.

Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid which means that it can be a liquid and a solid.  You can pour it and you can ball it up.  It’s sticky and it’s smooth. Adding watermelon to the mix turns this into an amazing sensory activity which was recommended here.

The recipe for oobleck calls for 2 parts cornstarch and 1 part water. We just substituted the water for watermelon juice.  We scooped out the watermelon for our afternoon snack and ate it before we got started then used the rind as the container to play in.

Be warned that the more you play in a watermelon the juicier it becomes. (Yes I know that’s the best technical explanation I’ve got!) Add more cornstarch if the oobleck becomes too watery.

Why not have a new twist on a classic experiment for the summer? Have fun!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, Summer Bucket List Tags: , , , , ,