A Tiny Genie in a Bottle

It has been an unusually cold winter season as most of you know.  I’m proud to say along with our snow from the “North Pole” that we have Texas snow with a (bit of mud and grass in it) in our freezer.

I’ll admit I struggled with science I could do with the kids when it was so cold outside because, well, we rarely see snow! But I always love turning to one of my favorite scientists Janice VanCleave for inspiration. Here is a simple chemistry experiment you can do either on a cold winter day or in your kitchen to create a tiny genie in a bottle!

What you need: glass bottle, quarter, water

What you do:

  • Put an empty glass bottle (without a cap) in the freezer for at least 10 minutes
  • Remove the glass bottle and place a wet quarter over the opening so there are no spaces which traps air in the bottle
  • Observe what the quarter does if you leave it alone. Observe what the quarter does if you place your hands around the neck of the bottle
  • Don’t blink … the tiny genie is quick! Check it out and make sure the sound is on.

What’s the science: Of course this is not a tiny genie… it’s science! But what a fun trick to play on our kids or friends! We can touch the bottle and know it’s cold but the air inside the bottle is the same temperature. The quarter over the opening traps this cold air inside the bottle and when the air warms up it expands and wants to escape. We thought our genie sounded like he was burping! The genie is really just the air returning to the temperature of it’s surroundings!

Isn’t science magical?! Enjoy!

Categories: lovely conversations Tags: , , ,
Screeching Ghost Balloons 

Is it just me or when stores cleared their back to school items in late August then Halloween decorations were put in their place?  Stores have wanted us to feel like it’s fall but it’s even hard for me to drink a pumpkin spice latte when it’s still 90°F outside.

I do LOVE the fall especially because my youngest has her birthday around Halloween so I always have my eyes peeled for cute party decor and Halloween games with a science twist of course!

I recently saw this experiment on Steve Spangler and thought what a great Halloween science activity! All you have to do is draw a cute little ghost on the balloon and you’ve got a real haunted house sound! And of course my youngest really got the hang of it!

What you need: a white balloon, a black permanent marker, and a hex nut


 What you do:

  1. Place hex nut in balloon
  2. Blow up balloon and tie
  3. Draw a ghostly figure
  4. Twirl the balloon around until the hex nuts spin on the inside

Warning: Depending on the age of the hex nut it could cause the balloon to pop if it nicks the side. Supervise young kiddos when trying this at home.

What’s the science:

This experiment demonstrates centripetal force – the force that keeps the hex nut moving on a circular path. Other examples of centripetal force are satellites when they stay in orbit around the earth or when a hula hoop continues to spin around your body when you hula! The screeching sound is caused by the vibration of the balloon when the hex nut comes in contact with the latex.

For more fun Halloween experiments check out this blog’s header menu labeled ‘Halloween’.  It has my favorite She Loves Science Halloween posts over the years!

I hope you are able to enjoy this experiment with cooler fall temperatures!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments Tags: , ,
A battle of the slime recipes

Let’s be honest, slime is the new fidget spinner. It’s been so popular that making slime has literally impacted Elmer’s glue production! And closer to home, my kids and I can’t pass by an Elmer’s glue bottle or a contact solution display without them singing a slime jingle they’ve heard on TV!

I thought I knew all about slime too. I can’t count how many times I’ve made Gak with Borax and I’ve been super skeptical of making slime with contact solution ever since I heard the nonsense. I was a Borax girl all the way.

Until my curiosity got the best of me and I decided, let’s just do a little contest to see what’s better. I’ll show my kids not to fall for this new fly-by-night contact solution recipe that the commercials where selling them. So I grabbed a bottle of contact solution and a ton of glitter glue and headed home to pull out my years old Borax and set up a little experiment.

Contact Solution Slime: Glime (we had to give it a name!)

I used the Elmer’s glue recipe found here

What you need: 6 oz.Elmer’s glitter glue, Contact solution (containing sodium borate in the ingredients), and baking soda

What you do:

  1. Pour Elmer’s glue in a bowl
  2. Put 1/2 Tbsp baking soda in bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Put 1-1/4 Tbsp of contact solution in bowl and mix
  4. Knead the slime with your hands and add a squirt of contact solution if too sticky

Well that was too easy! And the results were astounding. Check out the stretch on that slime; we stretched it well over 8 feet at one point!

Slime Recipe using Borax: Gak

Ok, my preconceived contact solution ideas were shattered. But who can mess with a classic? So let’s compare by mixing up a bit of Gak with Borax. We’ve done this classic recipe before here and loved it.

But truth be told, when we used glitter glue the results literally fall apart.  Allie said it sounded ‘squelchy’. Gulp. My Borax argument was also falling apart.

So I would recommend when making Borax slime use plain Elmer’s glue.

What you need: Borax, 6 oz. regular Elmer’s glue, food coloring, and warm water.

What you do:

  1. Empty the glue into a large mixing bowl
  2. Fill the empty glue bottle with warm water, swish it around, and pour the glue-water mixture in the mixing bowl
  3. Mix glue and warm water with a spoon
  4. Add food coloring
  5. In a separate cup, mix a teaspoon of Borax with 1/2 cup of warm water
  6. Slowly pour the Borax and water into the glue mixture and stir with a spoon

How did our maroon slime turn out looking like a stretchy organ? Uck. 

So which slime won? 

There was no comparison really. Glime won hands down. Contact solution for the win.

Why Glime over Gak?

  • Gak can stretch but mostly squishes and breaks
  • Glime is glittery goodness that stretches and stretches and stretches……

What’s the science in slime?

Believe it or not, Borax and contact solution are derived from the same boron compound called sodium borate.  This compound is the linking agent that links the glue molecules together.  The linked glue molecules trap the water (in the solution) to make the amazing slime!

As much as I love my Borax, I think I’ll be reaching for contact solution and glitter glue in the future! What is your favorite slime recipe? I’d love to hear your slime making adventures!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments Tags: , , , ,
The Ultimate Science Summer Bucket List

76 days. That is how long our summer vacation will be in my neck of the woods. It is my hope every summer that we can slow down, relax, reconnect, and rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary.

But I also realize that on the morning of day 7 I’ll be wondering what the heck I’m going to do to entertain my kiddos for the rest of the summer. Then I’ll panic a little.

That is when I’m going to reach for this Ultimate Science Summer Bucket List. I have made this list to help all of us when panic sets in. All you have to say is, “Kids, today we’re going to do science.”

Trust me, they will love:

Trying out a classic experiment:

Having a blast with bubbles:

Enjoying night science:

  • Have a glow stick pool party
  • Go outside at night find the Big Dipper and other constellations
  • Have a night time scavenger hunt with flashlights

Eating food for thought:

Celebrating Fourth of July with science:

Doing science magic tricks:

Making science a game: 

Giving a little science to a friend: 

Reading about science: 

  • Read the Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire series (out June 15) because every kid needs a book about a science hero…

Ok… the last one is a shameless plug, but I am so excited to share the project I’ve been working on over the last year. You’ve been asking for a science book for kids and she’s almost here!  Stay tuned for more updates and information on the first book of this series!

In the meantime, have an amazing summer doing science!

Categories: Summer Bucket List Tags: ,