Kitchen Science

After 12 weeks of blog posts here is a rest from learning through reading. Instead, I urge you to try science for yourselves at home. These are adult and child friendly. Here are 8 fun/simple experiments to try yourselves (or watch a video in one case) now that you’re budding scientists…Each one outlines the science you’re seeing too.

1. The Erupting Volcano


This was my favourite experiment when I was growing up. Combining art and science.

What do you need?

  • Washing up liquid
  • Vinegar
  • Cup or glass
  • Baking soda
  • Play Dough and red food colouring (for you artists)

How do I do it?

Make sure the volcano is in an easy to clear place (e.g. kitchen, garden etc.). If you have play dough, mould it around the cup to look like a volcano (this is optional).

STEP 1 – Fill the glass/cup just over half full with water. Add 3 tsps of baking soda and stir well until most of the baking soda is dissolved.

STEP 2 – Add a generous squirt of washing up liquid and a few drops of red food colouring into the cup. Then stir again.

STEP 3 – Quickly pour in just under a quarter of a cup of vinegar and watch your volcanic eruption!

What’s the science?

You just made your own chemical reaction! Vinegar is an acid and bicarbonate of soda is an alkali. By mixing the acid and alkali together, gas is released (CO2). This gas is trapped in bubbles of washing up liquid so you can watch the lava flow over the volcano!



What you’ll need?

  • White craft glue (e.g. PVA)
  • 2 disposable cups
  • Food colouring
  • Water
  • Borax Powder (available at most large supermarkets or Wilkinsons near the laundry detergent)
  • A plastic spoon and a normal tablespoon

How do I do it?

STEP 1 – Fill one disposable cup with water and add 1 tbsp of the Borax powder. Stir it  and then set to the side.

STEP 2 – Fill the other disposable cup with about 1 inch of the glue. Add 3 tbsp (20 ml) of water to the glue and stir. Add a few drops of food colouring. Stir until all mixed.

STEP 3 – Now for the fun part…Add 1 tbsp of the Borax solution you made earlier (in the first disposable cup) and stir well with the plastic spoon. Watch the slime form!

STEP 4 – After the slime has formed let it sit for ~30 seconds. After this, pull it off the spoon and play!

Tip: Keep your slime in a tightly closed plastic bag when not playing with it, away from the carpet and anyone’s hair…

What’s the Science?

This slime is known as a polymer. It is unique as it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. Liquids can take the shape of containers, as can the slime, yet you can also hold it in your hand/pick it up, like a solid. The molecules of a solid are bound tightly together, liquid molecules however are more spread out. Molecules of a polymer form a chain, giving them these special qualities. Examples of everyday polymers include rubber bands, plastic bottles, rubber soles, and chewing gum.

3. The Impossible Book Pull

What you need?

  • 2 large books
  • A lot of strength (2 people)

How do I do it?book pull

STEP 1 – Put the 2 large books together by overlapping the pages of each book.

The challenge: each person should take both of one book and then pull…unsuccessfully.

What’s the Science?

It is impossible to pull the two books apart with 2 people, due to friction you created by binding the books pages together. Friction is the resistance between moving objects.

4. Screaming Jelly Babies

The following video explains why you shouldn’t spill potassium chloride over sweets…do NOT try this at home…

5. The Problem of the Inflating Balloon

This is a bit of a problem solver for you all…

What you’ll need?

  • A 1L plastic bottle, with a small hole in the side
  • A balloon
  • A straw (preferably not plastic just because we’re trying to help the environment, and make sure you reuse your plastic bottles too! Maybe as plant pots?)

How do I do it?

STEP 1 – Take the plastic bottle and make a hole in the side of it. Place the balloon in the bottle with the edge around the neck (see the diagram).


Now the challenge: blow up the balloon whilst it is inside the plastic bottle, whilst covering up the hole you’ve just made.

The solution: Place the straw in the hole in the side of the bottle and suck through the straw. This will inflate the balloon.

What’s the Science?

It’s all to do with pressure. If you try to blow into the balloon whilst covering the hole no more air can get into the bottle and thus the balloon cannot inflate. However, if you suck the air out of the bottle through the straw, you are reducing the air/pressure in the bottle so air can rush into the balloon and inflate it to fill the new air space you have created.

6. Colours of the Rainbow (The Smartie Trick)

Smarties are made with lots of chemicals. Here’s a way to see some of the various ones in a smartie.

What you’ll need?smartie

  • Smarties (some for eating of course)
  • Water
  • Blotting paper
  • A plate

How do I do it?

STEP 1 – Put one smartie in the centre of the blotting paper on a plate. Drop some water onto the smartie using a spoon. Watch the colours spread out!

STEP 2 – Eat lots of smarties…

What’s the Science?

The various chemicals which make up a smartie have different colours. These colours will separate out at different rates, producing a psychedelic smearing colour effect (a bit like tie-dye).

7. Rubber Eggs

N.B. This is an experiment to do over the weekend as it can take up to 3 days.

What you’ll need?

  • Eggs
  • Clear vinegar
  • Sealable container (to reduce smell)
  • Water


How do I do it?

STEP 1– Take two/three eggs and place them in a plastic container. Pour vinegar in until the eggs are completely submerged. The egg will be covered in little bubbles. Leave for 72 hours.

STEP 2 – Gently lift one of the (now delicate) eggs and gently rub away the shell. The shell will almost have dissolved, it should come away very easily. You will see a translucent sheath (membrane) underneath. Be careful, a cut or scratch can break the membrane and leave you with yolk all over your hands.

STEP 3 – When the shell is rubbed away, hold the egg gently under a dripping tap (the egg will burst if the water is too strong). Now hold the egg up to the light and admire your whole and translucent raw egg.

STEP 4 – Now for the moment of truth: will your raw, shell-less egg bounce? Hold it ~10-15 cm above the ground and let go.

What’s the Science?

What did the vinegar do to the egg? Vinegar is a weak acid, whilst an egg’s shell is made of calcium carbonate. When the two are mixed, there is a chemical reaction which breaks down the calcium carbonate. Carbon dioxide is produced (i.e. the bubbles we saw on the egg). After three days the shell is nearly dissolved. The result is a rubbery, translucent egg.

8. Mentos Rocket

Easily the most exciting experiment for children and adults alike…definitely do it outside where you don’t mind making a mess!

What you’ll need?

  • 1 L of diet Coke/Pepsi/own brand (room temperature)
  • 4 Mentos (mint flavoured)

How do I do it?mentos

STEP 1 – Chew 2 mento (separately) for ~10 seconds. Remove the cap of the coke bottle and press the chewed mento into the centre of the cap. Then press 1 whole mento onto the chewed mento in the cap so it sticks. Then attach the next chewed mento and the next whole mento, until you have a little mento tower.

STEP 2 – Replace the cap but don’t screw on tight. Little people should now take a step back. Shake the bottle so the mentos and liquid mix, slam onto the ground.

What’s the Science?

The liquid has been forced out of the bottle, creating thrust and forcing the bottle off the ground, upwards. The thrust is greater than the weight of the bottle so the bottle is propelled upwards at a great rate of speed. Some experiments have made this reach heights of 40+ feet!

Enjoy being scientists

2 Replies to “Kitchen Science”

  1. Ha ha Lauren, there will be a few folk trying these and having a laugh at the same time. Love the rubber eggs one ! Xx


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