Inflating Spooky Ghost!

You have to try this super easy experiment that will WOW! your littlest ones.  Using my favorite 2 ingredients and a balloon, this one is great for Halloween parties or just for fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Empty water bottle
  • White balloon
  • Black sharpie

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Inflate the balloon slightly and draw a ghost face with the sharpie

img_9084Here’s my attempt at a spooky face

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Let the air out.  Place the funnel into the opening of the balloon and add about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon.

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Place the balloon aside and add some vinegar to the empty water bottle

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Place the balloon over the mouth of the water bottle taking care that none of the baking soda (the secret) drops into the vinegar below…yet.

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Now, the fun begins!  Turn the balloon upside down so it dumps the baking soda into the bottle and watch!

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The kiddos LOVED it!!!  Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up!

To see my other “fizzing” experiments (perfect for any holiday), click on any of the following links:

Science behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  Since the gas is trapped by the balloon, the balloon inflates and reveals the ghost!

 

 

 

 

Monster Mud!

With Halloween around the corner, I decided we needed something besides Pumpkins to spook up our science class.  So we finally made Ghost Mud, except ours turned out to be more like Monster Mud!  Either way, it was goopy fun with the most surprising of materials

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Bar of white soap (we used Ivory soap since we used it in our Soap Souffle experiment)
  • Roll of toilet paper (yup, you read that right!)
  • Water
  • Bin or tray to play with
  • Googly-eyes (optional but super fun!)
  • Old Cheese grater

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First, grate the bar of soap.  I did this for the little tots in my class because I did not want any little fingers getting sliced!)

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While the adult grates the soap, your little one can shred the toilet paper.  This is a great fine motor activity.  (Just don’t blame me if they start shredding the toilet paper in your bathroom!) We used about 1/2 roll.img_8892

Add some water to the soap and mix with your hands.  For a bar of soap, I used about 3/4 cup of water.

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Now comes the fun part!  Add the soapy mixture to the shredded toilet paper.  Mix it up!  I promise it will turn into a fun mold-able “mud”.  Adjust the consistency by adding more paper or water.

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Some tots liked smooshing and squishing it.  Others wouldn’t go near it!  For the littlest ones, this sort of sensory messy play is vital, BUT, it takes a lot of exposure for some tots to get used to it.  Don’t worry.  Just keep exposing them without forcing them.  They will come around when they see how fun it is!

We also added lots of monster eyes to make them look like ghosts but I think they turned out more “monster-like” so I’m calling it Monster Mud.

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Such an easy activity to set up with some surprising materials!  And because you’re playing with soap, you just have to rinse with water at the end!  Easy clean up!

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To see my other Halloween science experiments and activities, click on any of the following links:

Extension:

A great way to do TWO science experiments in one, is to try my Soap Souffle experiment first and then use the same soap to make Monster Mud! It will save you the step of grating the soap and you get learn even more science!  Win-Win!!

Science behind the Activity:

While not a science experiment in the strictest sense, mixing substances together to get a new substance is definitely a great “cause-and-effect” science activity.  There is great fine motor skill development with shredding toilet paper.  And of course, this activity encourages sensory and messy play, which is an important part of exploration and investigation at this young age.

Here’s where I got my spooky, muddy idea from: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/09/ghost-mud-play-recipe.html

 

 

 

 

Elephant Toothpaste

Have you ever made elephant toothpaste?  It is super fun to watch and and play with.  I can’t believe as a chemistry teacher I have never done this experiment before… until now.  It’s pretty easy to do, though the materials may not already be in your home, they are easy to acquire.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A large dish or foil pan
  • Dry Active Yeast packet
  • Warm water
  • Tall vase, carafe or long neck bottle
  • Measuring cup and measuring spoon
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (at least 6% available for about $3 at a Beauty Supply Store)

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I had the tots first touch the yeast.  It looked like sand to them.  They also noticed that it had a strong odor.

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Next, we measured 1 Tbsp of dry active yeast and added it to about 3Tbsp of warm water.

IMG_7266We mixed it and put it aside for a few minutes.  This does not have to be exact.

Next we used a tall clear glass bottle (a clear wine bottle or carafe is actually perfect!) and added about 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide.  Add some food coloring if you want to.

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I recommend using glass as the reaction can get quite warm.  Add a few good squirts of dish soap.

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Be sure not to use one with the antibacterial beads.  The beads will interfere with the reaction.  Give it a good swirl.

Place the bottle in the large dish pan.   I added the yeast to the bottle and watched the magic unfold!

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In class, I then had the tots sit away a bit and put their safety glasses on. There was plenty of oohing and aahing!  The kids thought it was great, especially after our discussion of whether elephants need toothpaste:)

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After the reaction ended, I invited the children to touch the foam.

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It was warm and bubbly and soft.  We also touched the bottle and it was very warm as well.  (Just make sure you touch the foam and the bottle first to make sure it isn’t too hot for the kiddos).

The Science Behind the Activity:

When the yeast mixture is added to the hydrogen peroxide, it helps to facilitate a decomposition reaction (a reaction that breaks a chemical compound down).  In this case, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is being broken into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2).   The yeast acts as a catalyst (kind of like a chemical “helper”) to make the reaction go faster.  Because of the addition of dish soap, the oxygen gas gets trapped in the soap as bubbles and creates the foam that you see.  This reaction also releases heat which makes it an example of an exothermic reaction.  So much chemistry in this fun little demonstration.

Extension: 

  • Test out different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.  How does concentration affect the rate of the reaction?
  • Test whether the yeast needs to be mixed with water first or if it can be added directly
  • Test whether the amount of yeast added affects the reaction
  • What happens if the yeast is added to cold water?  Does temperature matter?

For more details and where I got my idea from, please visit: https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/elephants-toothpaste/

GAK!

A rite of passage of childhood is definitely making some GAK!  Easy to make at home and the kids love squishing and stretching it around!  For those who are unfamiliar, GAK is a little different in consistency than slime and is made with Borax instead of starch.  Liquid starch is hard to find in the regular stores around here so GAK it is!  And it’s fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Container for mixing (we used an old yogurt container)
  • Borax
  • Food coloring (We use liquid watercolors instead)
  • 4 oz Glue bottle (I’ve used Elmer’s and the one from the dollar store.  They all work!)
  • Warm water (not hot!)
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spoon for mixingIMG_7452

Empty the entire bottle of glue into your container.

IMG_7383Fill the glue bottle with water.  Place the cap on and shake it up a bit to mix.  Then empty it into the container with the glue.IMG_7384

Add some food color if you want.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of borax to 1/4 cup of warm water.  Mix well and add to the glue mixture.

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You will see that the mixture will start to blob up.  Mix it up and you will start seeing the GAK firm up.  It may look watery at first.  That’s ok.  The more you work with it, the more firm it gets.

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If there is any liquid left, just pour it out (in the garbage, not the sink!)

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See how stretchy it is!

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The tots enjoyed playing with it!

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They made hand prints with it too!  So much fun!

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We placed the GAK into a baggie to take home.  I actually have my son’s GAK from 6 months ago and it’s still good!

The Science behind the Activity:

Here’s my simplistic explanation: Glue is made of a polymer which is a long chain of the same molecules all linked up together.  When you add the borax, it links up with the molecules to form a more solid substance, hence the GAK.  A common analogy is if you have a chain with repeating metal links, that can be considered as the polymer.  When you add a bunch of magnets (borax) they all clump up together like the GAK or Silly Putty.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the science behind the experiment: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/glue-borax-gak/

 

 

Fizzing Leprechaun Pots

Baking soda and Vinegar are my two most favorite science experiment ingredients! They are inexpensive, always in the pantry and there are just SO many fizzy, colorful things to do with them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day but would also be so much fun as a witches’ brew at Halloween

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Candy Kettles (any party store has them seasonally)
  • Bin/tray for the mess
  • Glitter (I used gold and green for St. Patty’s Day)
  • Teats, gold coins, etc… to hide in the pots (not necessary)
  • Droppers
  • Cups for the vinegar

To set up:

I placed a few pots in the bin.  I placed one treasure (plastic gold coins) at the bottom and added 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda on top. I sprinkled a little glitter on top of baking soda because glitter is sparkly and so much fun!IMG_1148

Pour vinegar (Leprechaun Potion or Witch’s Potion) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.

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To play: 

I gave a small bin with a few pots inside to each of the tiny tots in my class.  I supplied them with a large dropper (more like a turkey baster-perfect for toddlers!)  And then the magic began!

IMG_1150They added their favorite colors to the pots and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!

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That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for Halloween by placing plastic eyeballs, spooky fingers, creepy spiders, etc… for a spooky witches’ brew!  Or use plastic easter egg halves like I did with my Fizzing Easter Eggs experiment.  Or place some baking soda in a hollowed out mini pumpkin and make Pumpkin Volcanoes or into apples for Apple Volcanoes!  So many options!

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For more St. Patrick’s Day and Leprechaun Science, please visit:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/st-patricks-day-fizzing-pots-science-experiment-color-mixing-activity/

 

 

Homemade Bouncy Balls

My boys LOVE those bouncy balls that they get in goodie bags.  We have a million of them around our house (OK, maybe not a million, but they are always around somewhere around the house).  My littlest one loves crawling after them.

I’ve seen a lot of posts about making your own so we decided to try it.  Almost the same ingredients that we used to make GAK.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Two containers for mixing (we used a plastic cup and an old yogurt container)
  • Borax
  • Food coloring
  • Cornstarch
  • Glue
  • Warm water
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spoon for mixing

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Add 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and 1/2 tsp borax to the cup.

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Add 1/4 cup warm water to the cornstarch/borax mixture.  Mix well.

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Add 1 Tbsp of liquid glue to a small container.  Add some food coloring to it if you’d like.  My superheroes always add color because, hey, colors make everything more fun!  Mix well with a spoon.  It will be sticky.

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Slowly add the cornstarch/borax/water mix to the glue. Mix until a blob forms.

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When it gets too hard to mix and the “blob” is no longer holding any more liquid, take it into your hands and roll it between your palms until is gets firm and circular.

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The superheroes compared it to a real bouncy ball they already had at home.

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They had fun bouncing it around and comparing the real bouncy ball to the one we made.

I will admit, it definitely does not bounce as well as the real ball and after a few bounces, it did flatten out a bit.  We just rolled it back up between our palms and it was round again and ready to play.  We will need to tweak this recipe to see if we can get it be a bit more bouncy.  But the boys had fun with it all the same.

The Science behind the Activity:

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/super-bouncy-balls/

Fizzing Easter Eggs

The tiny tots in my class LOVE baking soda and vinegar experiments and I’ve posted several different variations of them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for Easter.  So grab an extra pack of eggs at the dollar store and set up this fun experiment in a few minutes!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda (Bunny Powder!)
  • Vinegar (Bunny Juice!)
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Plastic Easter eggs (I have amassed a large collection over the years)
  • Muffin Pan or styrofoam egg carton (cardboard will leak and make a mess)
  • Glitter (because sparkles are FUN)
  • Droppers (I use the ones I get from the pharmacy with my kids’ medications)
  • Cups for the vinegarIMG_1244

To set up:

I placed a dozen halves of plastic easter eggs in my muffin tin.  (You can also use a styrofoam egg container but don’t use the cardboard ones.  Once the vinegar gets added, you will have a leaky mess)I placed about 1/2 tsp of baking soda into each egg and sprinkled some glitter on top.  You could also add some foam bunnies or beads or anything else for some extra fun!

Pour vinegar (Bunny Juice) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.  Kids love choosing different colors.

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To play: 

I placed a muffin tin with the eggs in front of each of the tiny tots in my class.  The colored vinegar was ready for them to play with droppers.  The tots already know what to do with the droppers at this point 🙂

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They added their favorite colors to the eggs and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!

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That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for any seasonal occasion as I did with my Fizzing Leprechaun Pots for St. Patrick’s Day, Fizzing Christmas Trees or as Pumpkin Volcanoes for Halloween.

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 Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fizzy-eggs-easter-baking-soda-science-experiment/