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

Monday, March 9, 2015

The other way to open Fizzy Soda Candy

When you're trying to experiment with A WHOLE LOT of Fizzy Soda Candy, and you don't want to have to shake every single piece out of the tiny opening in the lid, you have to be creative. I attacked the plastic container with scissors, clippers, a screwdriver, a hammer, and nearly mangling my fingers, and finally learned to just pop off the bottom of the can. Piece of cake--or candy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

School Library Journal Review!

Candy Experiments 2 got reviewed in the School Library Journal, with some very positive feedback! To quote:

"With more than 60 experiments, this sweet sequel to 2013’s highly entertaining and educational Candy Experiments (Andrew McMeel) is packed with sugar-coated activities that introduce young scientists to the chemistry behind some of their favorite confections....There’s little question that readers will be engaged; the colorful and appealing design and layout, as well as the close-up shots of candy shards, are definite eye-candy." (Jan 2015)

The reviewer did notice one minor detail: in my experiment Instant Crystallization, the units switch from standard to metric. Actually, there was a good reason for us to use metric system here. For that experiment, my husband calculated the amount of xylitol and water we would need to make a supersaturated solution, one so saturated that the xylitol started crystalizing instantly when the solution was disturbed. The optimal ratio--22 grams of xylitol stirred into 4 grams of water--was more precise than I could explain with teaspoons and tablespoons, so I used grams as the main measurement. Good catch, reviewer Audrey Sumser!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Last week my husband brought me a fun surprise: hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. Yum! Now two favorite blogs have posted recipes. One fun reminder from Biting the Hand that Feeds you: since you eat the strawberries so quickly, it doesn't matter if the chocolate blooms! That means you don't need to worry so much about the tricky tempering process--just melt the chocolate and dip.

CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES at Pacific Science Center Wellbody Blog

Happy Chocolate-Dipped Valentine's Day with Driscolls! at Biting the Hand that Feeds You

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Foaming Snowman

We don't have much snow up on the mountains yet here in Washington (my daughter's ski school has cancelled 4 times in a row). So it's a great time to build snowmen with Asia Citro's Foaming Dough recipe, from her blog Fun at Home with Kids, and from her book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. Made with baking soda, this dough dissolves in vinegar for a great acid-base reaction demonstration.

Here's our snowman:

And here's his sad demise!

You can find the full recipe for the dough at the Magic Foaming Snowman blog post
on Fun at Home with Kids. Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Be a (Candy) Changemaker

I've known author Laurie Thompson for years, and I'm happy to say that her new book for teens, Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters has a candy game! Here's how you can use candy for a get-to-know-you team event*:

1) Use any item that has lots of pieces and is inexpensive, like candies, chocolate chips, or pennies. Pass it around the group.
2) Tell your team members only "Take as much as you think you will need." Don't tell them what it's for!
3) After the participants have taken their items, tell them that for each piece they took, they must share something about themselves with the team.
If you wish, you can assign categories for different colored items: yellow might mean people have to share something personal about themselves, red might mean they share why they joined the team; green might mean they share something they're good at.

I thought this book would be very useful for a teen wanting to make a difference in the world, whether it's through fundraising, forming an organization to teach Ultimate Frisbee to kids in the Phillipines, doing outreach, raising awareness of an issue like domestic violence, or something else. Laurie includes the basic steps for any effort, including forming a group, finding mentors, creating a mission statement and focusing on a plan, writing and following a budget, making money, doing PR, and more. These kinds of things are also useful for grownups wanting to start a business or try a new venture. As a mom writing about science and trying to raise awareness of nutritional issues, I found a lot of good information that I'll be able to use myself.

*Paraphrased from Be a Changemaker by Laurie Thompson, pg 72

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chromatography pen

When my son used a wet paper towel to wipe up some black dry erase ink, the color spread across the wet paper and separated. Chromatography in action!

You can try chromatography with candy too--it's one of our favorite experiments!