Ice needs something to hold on to. We all need someone to grab onto to keep us strong, and so does ice. Without a nuclei to form around water, will stay water even below freezing temperatures with something to initiate the process if it turning to ice. If you super-cool purified water bottle by yourself you can pour them onto ice to make an instant ice cone, or a tower of ice like in this video.
Put your water in a freezer, then let it sit in the refrigerator for a day. Make sure it hasn’t frozen yet, and be careful with them. The water could freeze on you at the slightest touch, in fact you can tap them and they will freeze instantly. If they don’t freeze well enough when you pour them give them more time in the freezer, just a little. They should be cooler than freezing temperatures. If they don’t freeze when you pour them you don’t have a nucleus for them to freeze around, stick an ice cube half in the glass and hold it, it will stay. Remember to be careful with them and pour quickly or it will freeze in the neck of the bottle.
Mentos and Cola
This turns out to be another case of nucleation. Because Mentos have a porous surface and are dense they drop into the bottle fast, creating a physical reaction with the carbonation in the cola. Aspartame, which is a rather unhealthy sweetener found in high concentrations in diet sodas also facilitates this reaction. Putting dish soap in the 2 liter before you try it will give you a bigger geyser. Just get some diet Coke, and a pack of Mentos, and have fun.
Magnetic putty and anything metal, The mechanical Blob (That ate everything Metal)
This is a complicated project, but one your children will enjoy. You’ll need some magnetite or iron oxide (Fe3O4), Elmer’s glue, Starch (liquid), and some bowls to mix it up in. Here are the instructions to make it, the page calls for other magnets but those aren’t necessary because the iron oxide is magnetic, but if you already have some rare earth mineral sitting around the kids can have even more silly fun with making and playing with it. Just make sure you don’t have metal ceiling fans that are hard to reach!
- Mix equal parts starch and Elmer’s glue and continue to add magnetite to the mix to get a good consistency.
- Dry it off wait for it to set, and remember to wash your kids hands off, let them mix it, that’s the fun part.
- Get a magnet or metal object and play with the magnetic putty all day, or for weeks, however long it take for them to get bored with it.
Acids and Bases, a marriage of opposites
This is one experiment that every child should know. The basic vinegar and baking soda experiment, add a little food coloring and you have a rainbow of “exploding” gases.
- Get some cups and a good place to get food coloring all over.
- put vinegar into the cup and add food coloring to your liking.
- mix them up then add a spoon of baking soda in the cups to light your rainbow up.
This can be a fun artistic project as well; let your kid mix the food coloring to their own array of colors. You can even let them add the baking soda, this is a very small and basic chemical reaction. But if you really want that “nailed it moment” visit this page to get the proper instructions for the picture perfect rainbow.
Building a Better mousetrap
Your child may be bored with coloring by now, he or she has sat through too many classes where they were forced to paint or share their feelings and they might be bored with that. If they’re interested in what dad does in the garage maybe they’d like to learn how to make power with this fun scientific project. Everyone likes electricity, especially kids today. If they want to know what had to be done to power their I-Pad maybe you can Watch this video and help them make their first generator. Mechanical engineering and new energy is very lucrative, but don’t tell them they may be be learning about their future job! Kids don’t want to hear about how they might not be a ballerina/cowboy or Superman. Let’s not break it to them that Superman is literally the only Kryptonian left.
- Cut out a cardboard square.
- Get a large nail, tape it with electrical tape and affix two magnets to the middle.
- Get your cardboard and make a cube with it. (it will obviously now have two open ends this is okay)
- Makes holes in the cube so that the nail can go through it, and the magnets can fit inside.
- Wrap a lot of copper wire around your cardboard so that you can still twirl the nail inside it.
- Get two wires and hook them up to the copper coil, then attach them to a small bulb and twirl the nail till it lights up. Viola!
Cooking is a Chemical Reaction too
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 4-5 drops neon blue food coloring
- Place sugar, corn syrup and salt in a heavy duty pan with a thick bottom.
- Over low heat, slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring often.
- Let it boil until it reaches 300 degrees or hard crack stage.
- Remove from heat and add peppermint extract and food coloring. Stir.
- Poor in a parchment lined pan.
- Let cool completely.
- Use your hands or a knife to crack the candy into smaller pieces, or crush them up and put them in a bag
After a hard day of learning about science, why not have them help you make a treat? The science is basic mix ingredients and add heat. The blue peppermint rock candy was inspired by frozen, and any child will love that Elsa has made them special candy with her magical powers. If have you have much older children who enjoy the Breaking Bad series, an alternative to the frozen theme could be a simple hint that a man named Heisenberg stopped by to give them some “samples.” If you know any chemistry teachers you could also drop off a bag of this to them at work.
A full list of activities for your child can be found here. There are 35 fun Scientific Projects that you and your family can enjoy with simple ingredients and make right at home.
Featured photo credit: smartschoolhouse.com via buzzfeed.com