From simplest to most challenging, these 3 easy-to-setup science experiments because they entertain on a moment’s notice and reinforce the idea that science is everywhere so no need to get fancy about it.
1- The easiest way to make a mishmash of color is with Science. All you need is a plate, some milk, at least 2 different food colorings and some dishwashing soap.
The Science: Colors seem to come alive, dancing and mixing into a spectrum of new colors because soap is a degreaser which means it pushes apart between the fat molecules of milk which allows the soap to break apart the surface tension of milk (this will become important in the next experiment) and this is what gives us the amazing visuals.
Upgrade the experiment with Full fat milk or even better use condensed milk for a longer effect.
Food coloring (multiple colors)
Cotton swabs or toothpicks
Small plates (one for each color)
Dishwashing liquid (a few drops)
Step 1: Pour Milk onto Plates
Pour a small amount of whole milk onto each plate, just enough to cover the bottom.
Step 2: Add Food Coloring
Select different colors of food coloring and place a drop of each color in various spots on the surface of the milk. Space out the drops to allow for different reactions.
Step 3: Add Dish Soap
Dip a cotton swab or toothpick into the dish soap. You only need a small amount.
Step 4: Touch the Milk
Gently touch the surface of the milk with the cotton swab or toothpick that has dish soap on it. Place the soapy tip directly into the center of one of the drops of food coloring.
Step 5: Observe the Reaction
Watch and observe the reaction that occurs when the dish soap comes into contact with the food coloring in the milk. You should notice vibrant patterns and movement.
2- How high can tensions rise? In this competitive experiment, each will have their own cup and will fill each of them with water to the rim of the glass. You will need a pipette or water dropper (this can be shared), and each person will go around adding more water until the last man standing whose water hasn’t dripped from the glass. Or as in the photo above, one person at a time adds a penny until it fails like a game of Jenga.
How is this science? Surface tension is what allows water to float above the glass rim.
Science hack it for better results? Adding salt increases water tension, adding soap decreases it. You can let the participants choose a variety of ingredients from sugar to corn starch to see what makes surface tension better or worse. As in the photo, you can make water more sticky so it can take the weight of more coins. Happy experimenting!
3- This one involves about 5 minutes of prep before you can get started, but we love it for the simple reason that we have never been able to see what is on the inside of an inflated balloon.
Imagine if you can inflate a balloon and not have to tie it up, that would be wild and impossible!! Right?
Here is how you do it: A large empty clear soda bottle is best because the plastic is tougher than a regular water bottle due to the pressurized gas. You must then drill a small hole at the motton where the plastic is thickest and toughest. Do not tell anyone about the hole.
Then you will place a balloon over the mouth of the bottle and push the rest into the bottle. Then you will give your audience the opportunity to blow it up and as soon as they stop it will deflate again. Now when you do it, as soon as the balloon is inflated, you will place your finger to cover the hole. Remove your lips and voila. A balloon that won’t deflate.
The science: You have just created a vacuum between the bottle and the balloon forcing the balloon to keep its shape until you let air in through the hole. We love this one because no kid nor adult figures it out.