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

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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.

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Add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix well.

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Add a few candy hearts to the glass.

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We used one of each color.img_0620Watch the hearts sink to the bottom of the glass.
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Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to the glass slowly (or else it will will overflow!)

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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.

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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/

 

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!

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

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Pouring from the cup works just as well too!

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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)

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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?

Candy Concoctions

This is the 3rd part to the Candy Experiment series.  And probably the funnest (that’s a word in toddler speak, right?) one yet!  And it’s the perfect way to use up any and all of your leftover candy whether it’s from Halloween, Christmas, V-Day, Easter or just birthday goodie bags.  The superheroes LOVED this one and I’m sure yours will too!

Here is what you need to get started:

  • leftover candy (we used skittles, lollipops and gummy candies)
  • cups or beakers or large plastic test tubes
  • droppers
  • spoons
  • droppers and syringes
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • water

Give each superhero some candy and a plastic cup, beaker or test tube.  Ask them to make up some potions or candy concoction.  Let them mix and pour and and use the candies however they please.  IMG_1489

They used the lollipops to mix their potions.  Added bonus: It changed the color of their potion!

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Mixing concoctions with candy in them

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Some vinegar and baking soda make bubbly potions!

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Using droppers to make precise measurements.

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All in all, the superheroes and their friends had a blast and we used up a lot of leftover candy experimenting instead of getting cavities:)

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?

Candy Chemistry – Skittles and M&M’s

As I mentioned in my last post, the superheroes received a ton of candy so we used them for experiments instead of ingesting all that extra sugar.  This is a quick and easy one to do anytime with just 2 ingredients!  Doesn’t get simpler than this!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • clear cups or clear glass bowls
  • water
  • Skittles candy
  • M&M’s

As usual, I asked my superheroes what they thought was going to happen when we added water to the candies.  We discussed the similarities and differences between the Skittles and the M&M’s before making our predictions.  Then they got to work! We added the  candies to the cups. Then added water.

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We watched the skittles which immediately began to change.

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We watched the M&M’s as well.  Its sugary coating began to dissolve as well, though not as quickly. The colors definitely started to bleed, although the Skittles coating dissolved much faster than the M&M’s (maybe there is a bit of truth to “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”?)

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What we found super cool was that the “S” and the “m” from the candies separated and floated to the top.  The “S” from the skittles (left picture) disappeared/dissolved very quickly and the “m” from the M&M’s (left picture) lasted much longer.  The superheroes and their friends tried to get them with their fingers but they were tricky.

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At the end, the coatings on both candies disappeared and only the chocolate was left from the M&M’s.  The Skittles completely dissolved leaving just the colored sugary water behind (below).

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We deduced that although the coatings on both candies were made of sugar, the coatings must have some differences in their ingredients to make them dissolve at different rates and in different patterns.  Plus, the Skittles dissolved completely whereas only the coating dissolved on the M&M’s.  Watching the “S” and “m” separate from the candies and float up was pretty cool too!

The Science behind the Activity:

Apparently the Skittles are made of all sugar which is why the entire candy dissolved so quickly and even the “S” on top dissolved fast so we really had to pay attention.  The “m” on the M&M’s are made of more than just sugar so the m’s hang around a bit longer and only the sugary coating dissolves, not the chocolate.  Although our chocolate eventually melted since it was close to 95 degrees that day.

Follow these links to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiments:

Skittles Candy Science Experiment

Candy Science for Kids: M&M Experiment

Candy Chemistry – Bears and Fish, Oh My!

My kids received goodies bag last weekend filled with candy that I’d prefer they not eat.  But my older superhero reminded me that we can’t just throw it away because that would be wasting food, so we came up with an idea to put the candy to good use!  As a bonus, we had friends try out several experiments with us.

This is a simplified version of a lab I used to do with my 8th grade science class.  Our results were unexpected!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • clear cups or clear glass bowls
  • gummy bears and swedish fish (or any gummy candies in any shapes)
  • water
  • paper and pencil

First I had the superheroes (and their super-friends) trace the shapes of the gummy bears and swedish fish onto a piece of paper.

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Then we added them to the empty cups and I asked them what they thought would happen when we added water to them.  The responses were hysterical: “They will swim away!” “The fish will drink the water!” “The fish will eat the gummy bears!”  Can you tell these superheroes are little?

They added the water and we went on to another activity for a bit before returning to check in on our bears and fish.

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When we checked on them, a curious thing had happened.  (I was surprised as I expected a completely different result!)

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Yes, the colors started to bleed into the water which was not unusual, but the gummy bears shrunk to the point where they were almost non-existent!  You can see this as the superheroes stuck their candies onto the sheet where they had traced the original candy shapes.

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The Swedish fish did not shrink or expand or lose color but the gummy bears were barely there!  In all the years I did the “Gummy Bear Lab” with my 8th graders, the gummy bears expanded and filled with water, never shrunk.  This is why I love science.  You never know what your results will be!

The superheroes did not know what to expect so they were not surprised by this (“I think the fish ate some of the bear!”)

The Science behind the Activity:

The gummy bears are porous and due to osmosis (the diffusion of water), they should soak up with water.  Obviously in our case, this did not happen.  Of course I’m curious and I think I might just have to set up another experiment with different brands of gummy bears and how they react based on their ingredients!  Stay tuned!