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!

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