Kids are exceptional scientists with wanting to find out already wired into the genes. This candy cane science fun rates almost as appealing as eating one. Kids enjoy doing it more than once to check out the results.
The materials needed are one or more candy canes and some bowls or jars. Using glass jars or bowls makes it easier to see but plastic containers are more enthusiasm-proof. To start, ask your child if s/he thinks a candy cane would melt faster in hot water, cold water, or vinegar. Put hot water in one bowl, cold in another, and vinegar in a third. Using 3 candy canes or 3 pieces, try and put the candy canes into the liquids at the same time. Kids can do the cold water while you do the vinegar and hot water. Count 1, 2, 3, go and drop away. (dark blue = cold, turquoise = hot, yellow = vinegar)
It doesn’t take very long for the candy canes to start melting. After watching for a bit, kids can give a stir, but they need to use a different spoon for each liquid. What’s happening to the candy canes in each bowl or jar? Of course, adults know which liquid will cause more melting but kids don’t. It’s exciting for them to see the color come off and start swirling in the liquids. It doesn’t take very long at all for candy cane to start getting smaller.
Some children are reluctant to make a guess about what will happen. It’s surprising how kids so young can be concerned about being wrong. Predicting what could happen isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about asking questions and testing possible answers. Once kids have done this candy cane science experiment, they may want to try with other liquids like milk or fruit juice. While we hope this experimenting doesn’t transfer over to meal times, there’s a good chance it could. Candy cane science fun may not mix well with soup. Or bath water! Oh, oh, does the elf on the shelf like science too?
Real scientists estimate the mass (weight) of dinosaurs by floating scale models. We tried some dinosaur float sink science too. Not for checking on water displacement, just to see if they would float or sink.
Water play is appealing for kids so with some warm water in the kitchen sink, Little Sister checked to see if her plastic dinosaurs would float. Here are the materials we used. The little dinosaur is hard to see since it’s so much smaller than the larger one. It’s in the foil dish, bottom left.
First we tried Little Dinosaur. Little Sister thought it would float since it was plastic but it sunk down to the bottom. I gave here a few containers to use as boats. She thought they might work to help her dino float but was still very surprised when both the empty applesauce cup and foil tart pan worked. The dino wouldn’t stand up very well in either one but being on its side didn’t make any difference.
Next we tried making a boat out of a piece of aluminum foil. After tearing off some from the roll, Little Sister tried to make her own boat but the foil ripped. She asked for help so together we folded up the edges and made a boat shape. We checked to see the boat would float before we put the dinosaur into it. Once we knew the boat would float, we tried the dino. That one worked too but for some reason the boat drifted backwards. Maybe because the plug wasn’t very tight and water was slowly leaking out of the sink? In any case, it was fun for her to find ways to make the dino float.
Really Big Dinosaur was much too large to fit in the boats but Little Sister wanted to see if it would float. This needed much more water in the sink. She tried it several times as the water rose higher and higher in the sink but it stood quite still. When the water was almost to the top, Really Big Dinosaur did float. Surprise, surprise! For some reason, Little Sister needed to let a bit of water out of the sink and then fill it up again. This occupied her for several minutes until she let all the water out and was done. She proved to herself she could get the same result each time.
Children are natural scientists, trying and testing in a variety of ways. Besides dinosaur float sink science, what other science fun can kids have with dinosaurs?
October is a fun time of the year for science magic for kids. There are some easy and simple science tricks that kids can do with ordinary household items.
With a wave of a wand or a magic spell, wizards can make things float and sink. Partially fill a large bowl or container that you can see into with water. The kitchen sink works too. Find an apple and a potato about the same size. Ask your child if an apple will float in the water or if it will sink. Once your child has thought about it and decide, s/he can place the apple in the water.
What did it do? Okay, now ask your child about the potato. Will it float like the apple or sink to the bottom? Let your child say what s/he thinks before trying. Was the potato the same as the apple? Could it be magic? Kids can try other fruits and vegetables too.
Wizards can make all kinds of magic potions. Water and soap in a sink with an egg beater will make frothy bubbles that pile higher and higher. Also try blowing with a straw. Grownup hands helped as well to make lots of soap bubbles. It’s fun to play with the soap foam and it’s quite spooky because it will sort of disappear just like a ghost and is hard to hear.
Another magic potion is baking soda and vinegar. Kids can measure one spoonful of baking soda onto the bottom of a flat bowl. With a dropper, they can squeeze out vinegar over the baking soda and watch if fizz. The bubbles pop and hiss making a cool sound.
To make raisins dance, pour some clear soda pop into a tall glass. Kids can drop in 6 to 8 raisins. Mutter some magic words like abracadabra or hocus pocus. Watch the raisins closely because all of a sudden, what do they do? Do any of them float to the top? The carbon dioxide bubbles in the soda make the raisins dance up and down.
As adults, we forget the wonder of science but it is still magic for kids. Will anyone be bobbing for apples at your house? Why do you think we don’t bob for potatoes?
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