Summer experiments

When we drove up to my in-laws' last week, I hadn't even crossed the lawn before my 6-year-old niece came running up. "Can we do candy experiments?"

I hadn't planned on doing experiments, and hadn't brought any special supplies, so I was forced to improvise with what I had on hand: a box of Wintergreen Altoids from my last car trip. I squashed eight kids into a dark bathroom, handed out Altoids to those who dared to eat strong mints, turned off the lights, let them chew, and watched for sparks. Since the littlest kids didn't want to try the mints, and couldn't see the mouths of the big kids, I had to repeat the experiment for them by bagging the Altoids in a Ziploc and squashing them with pliers. Note to self: next time, line the children up in pairs so they know what mouths to look for before I dowse the lights.

We also found some Starbursts and Tootsie Rolls in the kitchen, so I showed my niece how to drop them in a cup of hot water and watch for floating oil spots. (She wasn't nearly as interested in the oil as in the spreading colors, but at least she enjoyed it!)

Just goes to show, you can turn almost any candy into a great experiment.

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