Dancing Candy Hearts

Around Valentine’s Day, my kids get lots of those candy conversation hearts.  I remember as a kid, I loved reading the messages on them.  The messages are a bit different these days (“Text me”?)  Save a few of those hearts to do this quick 5 minute science experiment.  Use up some candy, do a little science, watch a little dance.

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

  • Candy Conversation Hearts
  • Tall clear glass (we used a tall glass and a test tube)
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Measuring spoon

img_0613

Add 1 cup of water to a clear tall glass or tall test tube.  You can color yours purple or red for Valentine’s Day but that is totally optional.

img_0615

Add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix well.

img_0617

Add a few candy hearts to the glass.

img_0621

We used one of each color.img_0620Watch the hearts sink to the bottom of the glass.
img_0622

Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to the glass slowly (or else it will will overflow!)

img_0625

Watch the candy hearts dance… or in our case, only the pink and orange hearts danced.  The rest stayed happily at the bottom of the glass.img_0627

It really looked so cool watching the hearts float up and then sink down.

img_5086 img_5087

We will definitely be trying this again by testing the different colored hearts separately, testing different brands and testing different fizzy liquids to see if any of those change how the hearts behave.

For more Valentine’s Science Activities, try these:

For more floating and sinking activities, try these:

The Science Behind the Activity:

This is a great experiment demonstrating sinking and floating.  The hearts are denser than the liquid so they initially sink when you put them in.  When the vinegar is added, the reaction creates carbon dioxide gas.  As the carbon dioxide gas bubbles attach to the surface of the hearts, they decrease the density of the hearts and the hearts float to the top.  At the surface of the liquid, the gas bubbles pop and the hearts sink back down.  The process keeps repeating until there isn’t enough carbon dioxide left to raise the hearts.

To see where I got the idea from and more details, follow the link below:

http://inspirationlaboratories.com/valentine-candy-science-dancing-hearts/

 

Valentine’s Heart Crystals

We’ve made crystals using Borax so many times and it never fails to work.  This time we decided to make them for Valentine’s Day.  These are a great gift to make for friends and family and especially teachers!  They are so pretty and super easy too!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Borax (Found in the laundry detergent aisle)
  • Hot water (Obviously an adult will be needed to do this part)
  • pyrex measuring cup (one that can withstand hot water)
  • measuring spoons
  • pipecleaners
  • string
  • wide mouth glass jar
  • stick or pencil (we used craft sticks)

img_0631

Give each superhero a pipecleaner (we used red, pink and white for Valentine’s day) and have them shape it into a heart.

img_0634

Tie a string to the pipe cleaner and then attach to a pencil or craft stick so that the stick can rest on the top of the jar.

img_0641

Be sure the string is the right length so that the pipe cleaner shape can be fully immersed in the jar’s liquid and will not touch the bottom. (We just rolled our string on the craft stick until we got the right height.  As the crystals form, there will be a layer of crystals at the bottom of the jar and you do not want your candy cane to get stuck to it or else it will break when you try to remove it from the jar.

Add 3 tablespoons of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle) to the jar.

img_0637

Measure 1 cup of hot water.  Add to the jar with borax (An adult should do this part)

img_0636

Stir until the borax dissolves completely. Each one of our jars held 1 cup of water.

img_0640

Place the heart into the jar with the hot borax mixture so that the craft stick rests on top.  Make sure the pipe cleaner shapes do not touch the sides of the jar or the bottom of the jar. Once the crystals form, they will be hard, stiff and brittle.

img_0643

Within a few hours we saw the crystals forming but the next morning the superheroes saw their sparkly hearts!

img_5185

Take them out carefully from the jars and let them dry.

img_0562

The crystals are strong and heavy.  What a pretty gift to make!

img_0563

*Note of Caution: Borax is toxic if ingested and can irritate eyes.  If you have young children or pets who might ingest a broken particle, you might want to think twice about making these.

For more Valentine’s Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

When dissolving the borax in hot water, you are creating a supersaturated solution which means you are using heat to get more borax to dissolve than you would with water at room temperature.  As the water cools, the borax “falls out of solution” and solidifies (recrystallizes) on the pipecleaner and on the bottom of the jar.

To clean the crystals off the bottom of the jar, just add more hot water and redissolve the borax and then you can pour it out easily.

IMG_4413

Read my original post on Borax Crystals and to see where I got my idea from.  Also, try making Candy Cane Crystals during the holidays for a perfectly sparkly tree ornament!

Love Potions

Did your kids get way too many candies for Valentine’s Day?  Why not use some of it up with some Love powder and Love juice to make some “Love Potions”?  So easy to set up and a great way to use up that candy!

Here is what you need to get started:

  • leftover candy (we used skittles, nerds and conversations hearts, but you can use whatever you have!)
  • cups or beakers or large plastic test tubes
  • droppers
  • spoons
  • Love Powder (baking soda-I tinted mine pink)
  • Love Juice (vinegar-I tinted mine purple and red)
  • water

To make the love powder, I just placed some baking soda in a ziplock bag and added some red food coloring to it and mixed it well.  Plain white baking soda works just fine!  For the Love juice, I added red and purple food coloring to plain white vinegar.  I love colors.  So do the kids!

I placed the test tubes in a bin to contain the mess.  I gave each child an empty cup, a cup of love powder and some love juice, a dropper and cup filled with assorted colorful candies.
IMG_5148 And I let them mix and make their potions!

IMG_5101

They love using droppers to make precise measurements and the addition of some vinegar and baking soda to make bubbly potions!

IMG_5160

Pouring from the cup works just as well too!

IMG_5158

And for a bonus, some of the conversation hearts began “dancing” in the bubbly potions!  (This is actually another simple candy experiment that you can do at home as well!  For more details, visit my Dancing Candy Hearts experiment)

IMG_5163

 

All in all, the tots had a blast mixing and pouring and fizzing and bubbling, and we used up a lot of leftover candy experimenting instead of getting cavities:)

Check out some more of my candy science experiments and activities:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is one of my favorite activities because it allows young children to be creative and explore and investigate.  I didn’t give them any instructions, just some materials and let them have at it.  One of the girls just wanted to make things fizz.  Another child wanted to see what colors the potions would turn with different candies.  One just wanted to mix everything together.  Each child did something different.  And most importantly, they learned about cause and effect: What happens if I do this?