Friday, September 18, 2020

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pierced Hearts and Valentine Links

This heart looks like a normal conversation heart, but it’s really just a collection of bubbles. (After several hours in water, the sugar has dissolved away, leaving only colored gelatin and air bubbles). Piercing it with a pin is easier than poking a marshmallow.

For more fun Valentine's Day candy experiments, try these:

Peel the words off of Jelly Belly beans
Sinking Hearts with Cakemate candies
Hearts bobbing in soda and Hearts bobbing video
Hearts expanding after a soda bath
Hearts fading in sunlight

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Resolution: get more done...with chocolate?

A New Year's Good Housekeeping Magazine tip:

“Feed your brain more chocolate. Break into a bar of chocolate, then take over the world. A nip of it boosts your short-term productivity by 12%, according to a study in the Journal of Labor Economics. 'Chocolate makes people happier, and happy people may be less distracted by worry, so they get more done,' theorizes lead researcher Andrew Oswald, Ph.D, professor of economics and behavioral science at the university of Warwick in England."

Of course, chocolate probably isn't the only thing that makes you happier and more productive. But I'm always inclined to believe the science that shows off the benefits of chocolate!

Good Housekeeping, Jan 2017, Pg 94

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sparkling Sugar Crystal Ornaments

With two weeks to go before Christmas, you've got just enough time to make your own sugar crystal ornaments. Here's how!
  1. Make a few ornament shapes out of fuzzy pipe cleaners.
  2. Make sugar crystal solution by adding 4 cups sugar to 2 cups water, and boiling until the solution is clear.
  3. Pour the solution into a quart jar or small glass jars.
  4. Lay a pencil over the jar(s). Use string or twist ties to hang the ornaments from the pencil. The ornaments should not be touching each other, or the sides of the jar.
  5. Wait two weeks, or until crystals form.
  6. Remove the ornaments, dip in water to rinse, hang dry, and admire!
For more instructions and explanations, see my article, "Grow Sugar-crystal Ornaments," in the December 2016 issue of Highlights.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Candy Cane Silhouettes

Candy experiments with cousins led to a new discovery: although candy canes don't float, some emit bubbles that do.

 See the red candy cane shapes with bubble outlines? The candy canes are still at the bottom of the dish, but the bubbles have floated to the surface, still in candy cane outline.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Incredible Growing Gummies!

Gelatin contains long protein molecules that tangle together to trap water molecules. Because gelatin absorbs so much water, candy containing gelatin acts like a sponge. That’s what makes “The Incredible Growing Gummi Worm” one of our favorite candy experiments.

Soaking gummi candy for two days can make it grow twice as long. As the gelatin molecules form bonds, cross-linking like a jungle gym, they trap water molecules between them.

To turn a gummi worm into a “gummi snake,” fill a flat dish with water and drop in a gummi worm (or several). Set aside a dry gummi worm for later comparison. Check back every few hours to see your gummi worm growing, since it can continue to absorb water for up to two days.

Once your gummi worm has grown to its full length, you can perform tests to see how much it grew.
  • Use a ruler to measure the length of the giant gummi worm, then measure the dry gummi worm and compare.
  • Weigh it and compare its weight with a dry gummi worm. Be gentle, because a water-engorged gummi worm becomes fragile and splits easily, like Jell-O. Try moving it by tipping most of the water out of the dish, laying down some plastic wrap, and sliding the gummi worm onto the plastic to weigh it. Then weigh a dry gummi worm and subtract it from the weight of the giant gummi worm. The remainder is the weight of all the water that was absorbed.

You can also try this activity with other gummi candies, like fruit snacks or Life Savers Gummies. Check the ingredient labels to make sure that your experimental gummies do contain gelatin. Gummi candies without gelatin, like Swedish Fish, don’t absorb extra water.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stormy day, big library crowds!

The Everett librarian and I thought that the rainstorm outside would keep the kids home. I thought we'd be lucky if we had 5. Instead, our 24-max Hands On Candy Presentation ended up with 30 kids! With well-behaved kids, and helpful parents, we were still able to get through all the activities.

Our program today had 15 adults (thank goodness!) and 30 kids (yay! …The kids had fun and we were very happy to have so many parents helping out with the experiments…Loralee was very organized and efficient and was able to keep chaos from breaking out even with a very crowded room. Some of the science we learned was about acids, colors, endothermic reactions, air pressure, and how much sugar is hidden in everyday foods besides candy. Some of the kids were very impressed and grossed out which is always fun… Thank you for another fun program.