Drop a Warhead in baking soda water, and bubbles erupt. Leave a Skittle in water, and the S floats to the surface. Melt a Starburst, and shiny oil spots form. You're doing candy experiments--science experiments with candy.

Melt Halloween candy. Dissolve Valentine hearts. Float Easter Peeps. Or let your kids create their own candy science experiments.

Candy experiments. All candy. All science. All fun.



As seen in Family Fun, Parents, Mothering Magazine, Highlights, the Chicago Tribune, ParentMap, Miami Family, and The Red Tricycle


Cheating "Cheesy" Cheetos (from PureFoodKids)

Cheetos aren't supposed to be health food. They're just crunchy fun.

But they're made with real cheese--that sounds healthy, right?



Actually, there's more salt than cheese. More citric acid than cheese. There's even more yeast extract than cheese.



There's also more sugar than cheese...what? But the label listed 0 grams of sugar!

In fact, FDA rules state that any ingredient weights be rounded to the nearest whole number. So if a product contains less that 0.5 grams of something, it can be rounded down to 0. Once serving of Cheetos might contain 0.49 grams of sugar--nearly 1/8 of a teaspoon. That's the same as eating a whole Tic Tac. (which also has a tricky ingredient label listing 0 grams of sugar per piece!)


So one serving of Cheetos might have as much sugar as a Tic Tac!

These labels provided by Pure Food Kids. Visit www.purefoodkids.org to learn more

Nostalgia candy from Newsies!

I found some great old fashioned candy on sale at concession at the musical Newsies. Since the show is loosely based on a true story about newspaper boys who went on strike in 1899, the concession stand sells "nostalgia" candy--flavors that parents remember from childhood. I did a few experiments, and also learned some new facts!

Come see amazing high school singers and dancers perform Newsies at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, WA, this Friday and Saturday--and get your own nostalgia experiment candy!




Zotz arrived in the US in 1968 after being invented in Italy. The center fizzes when eaten, because a mix of baking soda and malic acid starts reacting to form bubbles in the presence of water (or saliva).







Cow Tales are produced by Goetze's Candy, which started making chewing gum in 1895. Fun fact about Cow Tales: though they look like most caramels, they contain flour, making them closer in substance to Tootsie Rolls.





Aftershock candy is based on Pop Rocks, which were invented in 1956 by a chemist hoping to trap enough bubbles inside candy to dissolve into carbonated soda. While he couldn't capture enough carbon dioxide to make soda, the trapped bubbles explode and escape nicely when added to water!

Happy Candy Thanksgiving!

The M&Ms candy shell dissolves in water, but each solution is so dense that the colored fluids push against each other instead of mixing. Meanwhile, surface tension on the edges of the pool hold the water in as the color spreads.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Halloween Chocolate Melting Experiments

Ever wonder why chocolate turns white? It's not getting moldy. In fact, the white stuff is just another form of chocolate crystals, called Chocolate Bloom.

Cocoa butter molecules stack themselves into many different forms of crystals, and some are more stable than others. (Think of the difference of strength between a single Lego tower and an interlocked Lego wall.) When you melt the chocolate, the cocoa butter cools into crystalline forms that are less stable. Cocoa butter gets pushed out of the chocolate structure and reforms into white crystals.

Chocolate bar at the end of The Great Melting Race




Chocolate Bloom




Broken chocolate: notice the fissures where the chocolate has separated




Cocoa Butter Crystals

Imagine Children's Museum Signing

I had a great time at the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett, WA last Saturday, where I got to meet lots of kids, parents, grandparents, and fellow authors! Thanks to

If you ever have to set up your own candy experiment table, these experiments are crowd pleasers:


Author Beth Bacon joined us at the museum when she read her new picture book, The Book No One Wants to Read.


The grownups also had fun! These staff members are using air pressure to squash marshmallows--how small can they get?


And the fun kept spreading--one experiment made it all the way to the ticket office.

The Great Candy Melt-off November 2019

The Great Candy Melt-off November 2019: Who will survive?

The contestants line up on a foil-lined baking sheet.

The oven heats to 250 degrees F, and in they go.

The powdered dextrose of the Colossal Sours starts melting into a transparent syrup.

The melting middles of the Skittles bubble out through the hard candy shell.

Tootsie Fruit Chews melt together into a gooey Spumoni colored puddle.

The Twix bars expand and split.

The M&Ms shine as the glaze melts, while the Hershey bar exudes tiny oily drops.

The Sunkist Fruit Gel pulsates as it melts.

After everything sits in a fine melty state for a long time, the final death round starts: 300 degrees.

The Skittles melt into a rainbow peacock tail.

The Toosie Fruit Chews bubble into a brown sticky puddle.

The Sunkist Fruit Gem melts into a sparkly pink puddle, but the sugar crystals in the coating stay solid. They’ll survive until the temperature hits 320 degrees.

The Colossal Sours have gone nearly completely transparent.

Meanwhile, the M&M’s have cracked open. The adjacent Hershey bar is soft to the touch, but the M&M chocolate is hard and brittle.

The Warheads Chewy Cubes look untouched--until you see the shining glaze. Though the cubes themselves look unchanged, they skate along a shining puddle of melted sour crystals

Leaving the winner: Tootsie Dots!

Aside from a slightly dry and crunchy exterior, they retained shape and texture thanks to a secret ingredient: food starch.