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?

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Water Absorption Tray

Water is a fantastic “chemical” to do science experiments and investigations with.  I love this Water Absorption Investigation Tray for toddlers and preschoolers.  Easy to set up with whatever you have at home and it’s sure to keep your little ones interested for a while.

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

  • Small tray/plate or cookie sheet
  • cup of water (I added color to mine because colors make everything more fun!)
  • dropper
  • Materials to test (we used: cloth towel, paper towel, styrofoam, plastic wrap, foil, sponge, cotton pads)

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Cut your materials into small sizes for testing.  Arrange them on the tray with a cup of water and a dropper.

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Give the tray to your child and ask them what they think will happen when water is dripped onto each material.  With older children ask them to explain why.  Let them test each material individually.  Ask them if their prediction was right.  Let them explore.

Some materials absorbed and soaked up the water.

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Some materials did not absorb the water and formed “blobs”.

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There was some pouring and some squeezing as they tested each of their materials.

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This was perfect for toddlers as well as preschoolers.  And you can use whatever you have at home and repeat over and over again.

The Science Behind the Activity:

I love activities like this because they are open ended and require no instructions for kids.  Using droppers helps strengthen those little fingers in preparation for writing as well as developing fine motor skills.  Testing each material individually and watching what happens helps them with cause and effect.  Several of the tots were surprised at how the water droplets behaved differently on the different materials.   The exploration was so fun to watch as some poured, some used droppers, and some squeezed out the sponges and towels.  One little boy had fun dragging the “blob” of water around on the sytrofoam.  SO MUCH learning to be had from a simple little tray filled with scraps of paper, plastic and fabrics.

Visit this link to see where I got my “wet” idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/preschool-water-science-experiment/

Candy Cane Crystals

There are so many fun Christmas themed crafts for kids to make but how about mixing your crafting with some science too?  These candy cane crystals are EASY to make and look so pretty.  Hand them out as gifts or use as gift toppers or ornaments.

These are the EASIEST crystals you’ll ever make!  And they are pretty sturdy when they are done!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Borax
  • 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
  • string
  • stick or pencil (we used craft sticks)IMG_4400

Give each superhero a red and white pipecleaner and have them twist the two together to create the alternating red/white pattern.  We had to cut ours in half to make them the right size for our jars.  Bend it into a candy cane shape (or as my middle son said, a “J”).

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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_4402

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. 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.

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Make sure you can easily get the pipe cleaner out without bending it since once the crystals form it will be hard, stiff and brittle.

Mix 3 tablespoons of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle) with 1 cup of hot water.  Stir until the borax dissolves completely. Each one of our jars held 3 cups of water to completely submerge the pipe cleaners (3 cups water = 9 tablespoons Borax)

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I poured the hot borax mixture into the jars and the superheroes dropped the pipe cleaners into the jars.  (You will need to do this step if you have little ones).  Make sure the pipe cleaner shapes do not touch the sides of the jar or the bottom of the jar. 

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Within a few hours we saw the crystals forming but the next morning the superheroes saw their sparkly candy canes!IMG_4412

We also made a snowflake and twirly icicle with glitter pipe cleaners.

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

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The crystals are strong and heavy.  These are such a pretty addition to our tree!

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*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.

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.

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Read my original post on Borax Crystals and to see where I got my idea from.

Apple Bubble Science!

What kid doesn’t LOVE bubbles? Here’s a quick and easy bubble experiment perfect for the Fall!  Bubbles in Apples!  And it should buy you some time to get dinner going while your kids have some fun.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • water
  • juice
  • milk
  • straw
  • Hollowed out apple (although you can really do this in a glass or bowl.  Apples just make it more fun!)
  • tray/bowl

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Hollow out your apple.  I used an apple that was past its prime and was deemed un-edible by my boys.

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Add some water to the center and let your kids blow bubbles through the straw.  This is great for young toddlers who are learning to blow and is totally safe if they accidentally suck up the water.

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Ask them what they notice about the bubbles.  Do the bubbles last or do they pop quickly?  My boys noticed that the bubbles splattered everywhere.

Dump the liquid out and fill the apple with juice.  Ask your kids if they think juice will make the bubbles any different.  What is different about juice and water?  What is the same?  Will it make a difference?  Then let them blow their bubbles.

Notice that the juice didn’t really make much of a difference as juice is mostly water with a bit of sugar.

Repeat with milk.  As the same questions before blowing bubbles.  What happened?

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Milk is composed of fat and proteins which cause the bubbles to last longer and not pop.  The fun part of this is that the bubbles start overflowing from the apple.

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This was by far the most fun part of the experiment and my boys wanted to keep doing it over and over again.  When the tiny tots did it in class, they loved it too!  Lots of giggles!

Extensions for older kids: Have older kids explain what is different about the chemical make-up of juice, water and milk.  Ask them to explain their predictions and then try to see if they can explain the results.  Have them try different liquids and predict the behavior of bubbles.  Why might dish soap and water create such resistant bubbles?

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

This experiment introduces the concept of surface tension.  Surface tension is the thin skin-like film on the surface of water.  Water has high surface tension which causes the water molecules to stick to each other (ever tried the drops on a penny and seen the dome shape of water on top?).  when a bubble forms, it stretches the water molecules causing the surface tension to break and the bubbles will pop.  Juice behaves similarly because most juices are mainly water.  But milk is a bit different.  It has fat and proteins and this causes milk to have less surface tension which causes the bubbles to last longer and the skin-like surface to stretch more easily.  When you blow bubbles in milk, they don’t pop as easily, creating the fun eruptions of milk bubbles overflowing.

For a detailed explanation of the science behind this activity, click on the following link: https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/kramp-2/

To see where I got my idea from, click on the following link: http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2015/08/edible-bubble-science-with-apples.html

Apple Float or Sink?

Fall is a fun time to play with apples and go apple picking.   If you have a few extra apples laying around, here’s a great investigation for the tiny tots in your home to investigate whether apples sink or float when placed in water.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • apples of different varieties (we used, Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
  • Bin with water
  • Knife (to cut apples, for adult use only)

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Have your superheroes hold the apples in their hands and predict what will happen when it is placed in water.  We tried 3 different types of apples, making a hypothesis (prediction) before placing each one in the water.

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First the Granny Smith apple

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Then the Red Delicious and Fuji apples

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All three apples floated.  There was no difference between the 3 varieties.  But why did they float?  Apples have a lot of small air pockets inside that cause them to float in water.

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But what about the individual apple parts?  Do all the apple parts float? We decided to find out by cutting an apple open and testing each part in a cup of water.

What we noticed was the apple pieces and the peel still floated in water.

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But, the stem and the seeds did not float.

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This was a great investigation on floating and sinking using apples!  And while you have a bunch of apple parts lying around, try exploring your 5 senses using apples.  Or let the little ones “bob” for apples!

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

Apples contain quite a bit of air inside them which causes the overall density of the apple to be less than that of water, so it floats.  By testing the individual parts, we can see that not all parts of the apple float in water but when all the parts are put together they do.

 

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/

Purple Potion Reactions (Cabbage Juice Indicator)

I’ve been wanting to do this simple kitchen science experiment with my kids for awhile now as I used to do this with my middle school students once upon a long time ago…This one is fantastic for superheroes of ALL ages.   The younger ones can enjoy the colorful reactions and the older ones can learn a bit about acids and bases and how pH indicators work.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Red Cabbage (Why is it called red when it really looks purple??)
  • Large Pot
  • Strainer
  • Ice Cube Tray (or several small clear cups/jars)
  • Droppers (I save the ones we get from the pharmacist everytime one of my superheroes needs meds)
  • Coffee Filters (optional)
  • Household liquids to test (water, vinegar, lemon juice, fruit juice, milk, baking soda/water, soda, laundry detergent, liquid soap, ammonia, etc…)

To make the Purple Potion:

Coarsely chop up half a head of cabbage.

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Place it into a large pot and add water.  I added about 5 cups of water to mine.

Bring the cabbage/water mixture to a boil and then let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure you have your exhaust fan on and your windows open.  This gets stinky 🙂

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Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature so that it doesn’t burn your little ones.  Once cool, strain the mixture so that only the purple liquid is left.  Discard the cabbage.

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I ended up with about 4 cups of Purple Potion.  Now we are ready to experiment!

IMG_1476To Experiment:

I placed an ice cube tray in front of each of the Superheroes.  I placed a variety of liquids from the kitchen into several wells of the tray.  We used: water, milk, lemon juice, liquid soap, baking soda (dissolved in water), vinegar, apple juice, liquid soap and laundry detergent.

I had them color in what the liquids looked like before we started.

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This is the observation sheet they used:

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Each superhero got a small cup of Purple Potion in a cup and a dropper.

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They added several drops of the purple potion to each well and observed the changes.

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Whoa!  Look at all those colors!  Why is it doing that?

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Here are the final results:

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I asked them what might happen if they start mixing some of the liquids together.  A whole new set of experiments to do!

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My older son made a pink concoction and said it looked like “antibiotics”! (Can you tell how sick we’ve been this past winter! )

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With my older son, I probed him on what the pink colored liquids had in common and what the blue colored liquids had in common.  I think this was a bit over the top for a 6 yr old and he really was a bit lost at what to say.  If you have older kids, definitely ask.  The goal is to see if they can come up with some common characteristics of acids and bases. (Even my middle school students used to struggle with this)

Extension:

I decided to try to make my own indicator paper with some of the Purple Potion.  I placed 4 coffee filters in a container and added some Purple Potion to it.

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I soaked the filters overnight. Make sure to use an airtight container with a lid or your kitchen will stink in the morning!

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Remove the paper from the liquid and let dry completely.  I left mine outside to dry in the sun.

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Cut into strips and you’re all set!

Instead of using droppers to test the liquids, you can dip the indicator paper into the liquids and see the paper change colors.

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And then they placed it on their observation sheet to compare with their previous results

IMG_1509Science Behind the Activity:

Cabbage juice acts as a pH indicator.  Without getting too deep into the chemistry of it all, substances that are acidic (pH between 0-7) will turn varying shades of pink/red when mixed with cabbage juice,  Substances that are basic (pH between 7-14) will turn varying shades of green-ish/blue when mixed with cabbage juice. There are several types of indicators that are used for different purposes. Litmus paper is specially treated paper that turns red in the presence of an acid and blue in the presence of a base.  By treating the filter paper with cabbage juice, you can create a simple version of indicator paper.  There are also several different types of indicator paper as well, many that can give you an approximate pH of the substance being tested so that you can tell just how acidic or how basic the substance is.