Cool Chemistry to Do With Your Kids
Easy and Simple Experiments
1. Permanent Marker Tie-Dye
You will need: a couple white coffee filters
a pack of permanent markers
rubbing alcohol and an eyedropper to apply it
First, spread the coffee filters out so they are flat. Second, take the markers and form dots around the center of the paper. Third, take your eye-dropper and drop rubbing alcohol on top of the dots you drew. The alcohol will draw out the colors used to make the marker color and will be absorbed by the coffee filter to produce a tie-dyed look. This can be done on a shirt as well. It will make a unique and awesome design for you.
2. Making Oobleck
You will need: cornstarch and water
a bowl to put it in
First, pour 1 cup of cornstarch in a bowl. Second, add a little bit of water to the starch at a time and mix up with fingers. Add until the Oobleck is pourable but also hard to the touch if you poke your finger into it quickly. This is a great mixture to encourage exploration of liquids and solids. Oobleck is both. It pours like a liquid and runs through fingers like liquid but can be picked up (before it melts) and you can't push your finger through it.
Food coloring can be added after a bit of water to make colorful Oobleck. (Read Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck before making)
3. Rabid Dog Experiment
You will need: a toothbrush
toothpaste with baking soda
First, put some toothpaste on the toothbrush. Begin brushing your teeth. Take a little cup of water and swish in your mouth. You will begin to foam at the mouth! This happens because the baking soda and the carbon dioxide in the carbonated water react and cause the foam to appear!
Experiments that are a bit more difficult
1. Inflating a balloon with gas!
You will need:
2 TB of baking soda
1 small water bottle
1/2 C of vinegar
First, put vinegar into the bottle and set aside. Second, put the baking soda into the balloon; ask someone to help you stretch it out or use a funnel. Third, quickly put the balloon over the top of the bottle and shake soda into vinegar; making sure you are holding the balloon tightly on the rim of the bottle. Watch your balloon blow up!
This happens because soda and vinegar produce carbon dioxide (a gas) and the gas tries to escape through the balloon, filling it with gas.
2. Popping film canisters
You will need: a black 35mm film canister
2 TB of water
1 alka seltzer tablet
First, put the seltzer tablet in the canister. Second, quickly pour the water in the container and immediately cap it. Third, put it down and wait for your explosion! A gas of carbon dioxide is formed and will blow the top right off!
3. Mentos and Diet Coke Geyser
You will need: one 2 liter Diet coke
roll of peppermint Mentos candies
First, make sure you work quickly. Drop the Mentos quickly into the pop and cap it. Let it sit for 5 seconds and then uncap. Get ready to get sprayed! Once again, you are creating a gas; the carbon dioxide in the pop tries to escape and the Mentos cause a reaction that allows the pop to jet propel itself upward.
A Harder experiment but well worth it!
1. Make your own ice cream
You will need: 2heavy duty gallon sized freezer bags that seal
2 heavy duty quart sized freezer bags that seal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring)
1/2 cup kosher or rock salt
Enough ice to fill the gallon-sized bag halfway
First, mix sugar, vanilla, cream (or milk) in a bowl and pour into quart sized bag. Seal. Then re-bag with second quart bag. Seal. Second, put your double bag into the gallon sized bag and add ice and salt. Did you know that ice actually lowers the temperature of the ice, causing things to freeze faster? Seal the bag. Double gallon bag with contents and seal.
Now, wearing gloves (it gets really cold), turn bag back and forth, side to side, over and under until the mixture begins to get hard inside of the quart sized bag. This will take 15-20 minutes. When ice cream is formed, take out of gallon bags, rinse outside near seal of first quart bag in cold water. Take out inside quart bag. Rinse near seal in cold water. Then, pour your ice cream into a bowl and add goodies! (You need to rinse to get all salt taste away from your ice cream)
There are hundreds of simple experiments that you can do with kids at home, using simple household materials. Best to do most of these outside however; they can be messy! Bring out the mini-scientist in your home and enjoy doing these experiments!
One of my favorites is called "Elephant Toothpaste". Watch the video following for a special treat!
© 2009 Laura Cole