Credit: Thinkstock

Classroom science experiments are awesome for growing minds, but teachers often use pure chemicals and lots of tech-y and expensive equipment that isn’t available (or affordable) for home. If your little Bill Nye wants to keep the exploration going after school, forget buying those expensive science kits and break out the candy!

Candy is made of simple ingredients like sugars, acids, and colorful dyes that are perfect for controlled experiments and yield some amazing results. Here are three quick and easy experiments to try at home with the kiddos, all courtesy of the Candy Experiments blog:

1. Sour Acid Test
The sour taste that makes your mouth pucker up is caused by acid. You and the kids can test for acid in sour candy by using baking soda.

What You'll Need:
Sour candy, such as LemonHeads, Nerds, Warheads, Pixy Stix, or sour gummy candy
Baking soda

Directions:
Dissolve each candy in a small amount of warm water. After the sour candy coating dissolves, sprinkle in about 1/2 tsp of baking soda and watch for bubbles. You can also mix baking soda with water first, and then drop in a Warhead. It's acidic enough that it bubbles right away.

How It Works:
When you mix acid and baking soda, the reaction produces carbon dioxide bubbles. Yep, it's the same thing that happens when you make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar.

2. Fresh Breath (and a Light Show)
Kids will love creating their own little light show in their mouth, but this will require a pitch-black room in order to get the best effect. We recommend a closet or a bathroom with a small window.

What You’ll Need:
Wintergreen Lifesavers
A very dark room

Directions:
Pair up children — or you and your child — and designate one as the muncher and one as the watcher. Hand each muncher a single Wintergreen Lifesaver and have them chomp down on the candy with their lips open so the watcher can observe (you shouldn’t meet much hesitation when you ask them to chew with their mouth open!). If the room is dark enough, the watchers should see small sparks in the munchers’ mouths!

How It Works:
As they bite down, electrons in the candy get ripped off of the sugar molecules. When they reconnect, the electrons light up, and the Wintergreen oil used in the particular flavored candy makes the reaction more visible.

3. Candy Color Splotches
The kids will get a kick out of guessing which colors will appear from which M&Ms in this easy experiment.

What You’ll Need:
A rectangle of coffee filter paper
Dyed candy such as M&Ms, Skittles, or Reese's Pieces
A glass filled with a half-inch of water
A pencil

Directions:
Place drops of water on a flat surface, such as a plate, a cookie sheet, or tinfoil — then place the M&Ms on the water and let the color dissolve. Crease the coffee filter paper vertically (to help it stand up), and dab or paint a drop of candy-colored water onto the paper, an inch from the bottom. If you're testing several colors, label each with pencil. Stand the paper up in the glass of water, with the water level below the color splotch. (If the paper doesn't stand, check here for tips on folding or clipping the paper in place.) Watch the water seep up to the top edge of the paper.

How It Works:
When water seeps up the filter paper, it separates the different colors. Hint: Brown-colored M&Ms work especially well — you’ll end up with a rainbow of colors!

For more awesome experiments, pick up the new Candy Experiments book on Amazon!

Source: Candy Experiments



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