or alternately: How to get your kids to joyfully destroy a pound of Halloween candy in an hour without eating any of it
My friend Krista mentioned a website, candyexperiments.com, that gives suggestions for using candy to do simple science experiments with kids. (Check out Krista’s pictures, she must have been a lot more organized than I was.) The catch of course is to get your kids to willingly give up their candy right? We’ve done some household science experiments before so I knew that would be a good draw. I explained to the boy and his sister that they could each pick out 5 pieces of candy and then we would do science experiments with the rest of it. The boy looked thoughtful for a moment and then readily agreed. Sister followed suit.
I pulled out several heavy clear glass bowls, a bunch of spoons, cold water, hot water, baking soda, salt and lemon juice. The best part is the stirring of course. We tested to see what temperature of water dissolved candy faster. We used baking soda to test which candies were acidic (acid plus baking soda equals bubbles.) We dropped hard candies into boiling water to watch them crack. We all made a guess on which candy might float and then tested to see who was right. The girl picked Charleston Chews, because they are white in the middle. I don’t know about her logic but they did indeed float! We were also surprised to find that the addition of salt to one of the bowls of candy made the candy corns pop up to the top.
We also put a bunch of candies on a cookie sheet and watched them melt, crack open, and even change color in the oven. We were surprised to see that candy corn melts, bubbles and then turns transparent and cools into a hard glassy puddle. It was all rather chaotic, and the candy disappeared faster than I would have guessed.
I managed to save some M&Ms for one particular experiment found on candyexperiments.com. I started with a clean bowl of water and very carefully dropped in different colors with the “m” face up. It was hard to be patient but we were rewarded with a rainbow of colors as the candy shells dissolved and the neatest trick of all: the white “m” floated up to the surface of the water!
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