>> Dec 22, 2012
Kids are naturally inquisitive. They want to know how, why, and when everything works. You can embrace the inquisitive nature of kids by encouraging supervised experimentation. This not only gives kids something to keep them occupied and entertained, but it can also be a valuable educational opportunity where children can learn a valuable lesson and learn to love science in one fell swoop. Science birthday parties are a fun, creative way to get kids involved in the scientific method while giving them a birthday party they will never forget. Here are 5 fun and easy experiments you can do at a birthday party, most using materials you already have in your home.
With the exception of primary colors, most of the colors we know are really a combination of two or more primary colors. You can teach kids the science of colors and how different dyes and pigments are added to markers in order to get a specific color.
Why Is It A Good Experiment?
There is little mess, and only a few items needed to complete this experiment. It has really interesting results, and even very young children can participate in this experiment. The items needed for the experiment are non-toxic and safe if they are touched, smelled, and even tasted.
Cut a paper towel into several strips, about 2 inches wide. Next, draw a wavy line with any color marker (NOT a primary color) about an inch from the end of the strip. Repeat with several different colored markers on all of your paper towel strips. Fill a cup or glass with water.
Have your scientists dip the end of the paper towel with the line on it into the glass of water just below where the lines are drawn on their strips of paper towel. Leave the strip in the water, and watch as the paper towel begins to absorb the liquid. As the liquid seeps up the paper towel, the different dyes in the marker will begin to separate and cause streaks of different colors. Kids will be amazed at the different colors used to create a single marker!
Vinegar and baking soda can create an explosive reaction. By carefully measuring baking soda into an un-inflated balloon and then quickly adding vinegar to the baking soda, you can actually blow up a balloon with the gases from the chemical reaction.
Why This Is A Good Experiment:
Kids love dramatic results when it comes to science. This experiment is fun, easy to do, and gives them results they can see right before their eyes! It also teaches them about chemical reactions, and what the results of those reactions might be.
Using a funnel and regular-sized balloons, place about 2 tablespoons of baking soda in each balloon. Fill plastic test tubes with about 2 ounces of vinegar each.
Have each scientist carefully secure the end of a balloon over a test tube, letting the top of the balloon hang down so that no baking soda mixes with the vinegar. After balloon is secured around the test tube, have the scientists hold up the end of the balloon so that the baking soda dumps into the test tube. Watch as the balloons inflate from the gas released as a result of the vinegar and baking soda reaction.
Another fun experiment to teach kids about chemical reactions. By combining a bit of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, food coloring, yeast, and water, you will get a giant, foamy mess that looks like elephant toothpaste!
Why It Is A Good Experiment:
This experiment requires a lot of supervision and some prep work, but the resulting foamy fun is well worth the work and the necessary supervision. The foam is fun for the kids to touch and scoop and play with, and it is another dramatic result that kids will be excited to try again and again. The reaction between the yeast, soap, and peroxide creates heat, which is a biproduct of the chemical reaction.
To get started, you will need a 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide. You will most likely have to visit a beauty supply store to get this product. You will also need an empty 16 oz. plastic water bottle, 1 packet of yeast, a funnel, a few drops of food coloring, 3 tablespoons warm water, dish soap, safety goggles, and a large plastic container (to catch the foamy mess).
While wearing safety glasses, fill a plastic water bottle with 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide solution. Next, add about 8 drops of food coloring to the peroxide. Next, add about a tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the bottle and swirl it around to lightly mix the solution. In a separate small bowl, mix water and yeast packet. Stir until all the lumps are gone. Using a funnel, pour the yeast mixture into the peroxide solution. Watch in amazement as mounds of colorful foam spill out of the plastic water bottle. The foam is safe to touch since it is water, oxygen, and soap.
This experiment is fun and easy. It requires Skittles, M&Ms and a bowl of water. It requires a little bit of time, so begin the experiment and move onto others, then go back to see your letters floating.
Why It Is A Good Experiment:
This experiment is very easy and there is very little cleanup involved. It teaches kids about water solubility and bouyancy, so it is an interesting and educational experiment. Plus, unused candies can be eated or added to party favors for kids to bring home with them.
Fill a medium-sized clear bowl about 3/4 full with warm water.
Have each scientist add a few candies to the bowl of warm water, letter side up. DO NOT STIR! Note that the candies will sink to the bottom of the bowl. After a few minutes, the candy coating will begin to dissolve, and the letters on the candies will float to the top. You will see little S's and M's floating on the top of the water. The letters are printed in edible ink which is not water soluble, so even while the candies and the coating dissolve, the letters remain. They are more buoyant and will therefore float to the surface.
Scream For Ice Cream
Kids will get to make their own ice cream to enjoy at the party. By mixing together cream, salt, and ice (along with some other ingredients), they learn the science behind different states of matter.
Why It Is A Good Experiment:
When you are finished with the experiment, your little scientists can eat their creation. It is easy to do, and all of the ingredients are safe to use (and eat).
To prepare for this experiment, you need a gallon-sized plastic bag with a zip top, a quart-sized plastic bag with a zip top, kosher salt or rock salt, sugar, ice, half and half, and vanilla extract.
Have your scientists put two cups of ice and 3/4 cup salt into large plastic bag. In the small bag, have them mix 1 cup half and half, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Squeeze out air, and close the bag. Place the small bag inside the large bag, and have your scientists shake and knead the bag for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the small bag from inside the large bag, rinse it off in cold water, unzip, and hand out spoons. Your scientists can eat their end results!
Science can be absolutely entertaining and magical for kids of all ages. By putting together a few fun and educational experiments, you can have a successful science birthday party that your children and all their guests will remember for a lifetime.
Alan Simon is the owner of a Mad Science franchise in St. Louis Missouri, you can visit the Mad Science website by clicking here.