My kids end up with candy for their birthdays, from school and from their grandparents and many other places. My kids think that this is great, but I’m always looking for ways to get rid of it. I thought that one way that we could use some of the candy is with a cool experiment that requires leftover candy.
This is a quick and easy experiment for kids to try out and learn a little bit about science as they do the experiment.
I tried out this experiment at home and in my kindergarten classes. It worked great at home and in a school setting and the children loved experimenting with candy.
You can use just about any left over candy. As long as the children doing the experiment don’t have any allergies to the candy, just about any candy will work.
At home we have tried this cool experiment many times with different candy, such as gumballs, chocolate, taffy and even gummies.
The results are a little bit different for each of candies, but that is part of the fun. You can do the experiment several times and change the candy and have fun all over again. Also, it is a great way to use up candy!
The materials are really simple, you will need:
- Clear Cup(s)
- Popsicle Stick or Stir Stick
I did the experiment a few ways initially and used two cups. One I filled with warm water and the other I used cold water. The different temperatures will create different results.
I describe the experiment below using warm water because the results are faster. Below the activity description however, you will find “Extension Activities” where I describe how to use different water temperatures.
The Steps for Your Cool Experiment
Start by filling one cup with warm water. If children are doing the experiment with their own cup of water, make sure that the water is only lukewarm. Next, drop a candy or two into the water.
To encourage children to think scientifically, encourage them to think of a hypothesis, or guess, of what they think will happen when the candy is placed in the warm water.
Will the candy sink or float? Will it melt or freeze or will it explode or change color? Next, drop the candy into the cup of warm water.
Once the candy is in the water, let it sit for roughly 2-3 minutes. Children observed their candy and noticed any changes. If you have magnifying glasses, they are great to use for this experiment and encourage children to carefully make observations.
Right away, some children noticed almost ‘fog’ of color around the candy. Some of the color and candy was dissolving. Children can use their sense of smell and even hearing as they listen to the candy to see if it makes any sounds, like a fizzing sound.
After the first few minutes, I handed out stir sticks and children poked and stirred their candy around. Immediately children will notice that their candy has changed. Depending on the candy you used, you may find that it has fully dissolved.
Our candy had become almost a taffy. It was runny, but we could still find some of it together in the bottom of the cup. It had not fully dissolved yet.
Some candies will dissolve differently. For some the color may simply dissolve from the coating and leave the candy inside. Others may fully mix in within minutes.
After stirring, many children felt that their candy had disappeared. This is a great experiment to show children that materials do not simply disappear.
If this is the conclusion that you hear, you can ask children to notice any other changes they see in their cup from what it looked like to begin with.
The clear water is now the color of the candy that was placed in it. The candy left a trace in the cup as seen by the new color of the water.
If you are careful to use clean water, cups and candy, you could allow children to take a sip of their water (make sure it is not too warm). They will quickly notice that the water is sweet and taste like the candy.
The candy did not disappear. It broke down and dissolved into the water.
I am careful to remind children that we do not usually use our sense of taste when we do science experiments, however, this experiment can be done carefully that it is safe to take a sip to notice the new flavor of water.
This activity could also be used to mix a bit of art into the experiment. I used a pink and yellow candy for my experiment and the water turned orange. You could use different colors of candy to show a bit of color mixing.
You can add a whole other level to this experiment by using two cups of water. Fill one of the cups with warm water and the other with ice cold water. Place a piece of candy into each cup.
Children can watch and compare what happens in the cups. Both cups are simply filled with water, but the candy reacts differently in each cup? This experiment helps children realize that the temperature of the water changes the way the water behaves.
The molecules inside of the warm water are moving quickly so they break down the candy in the warm water faster. In cold water, the molecules do not move as fast, so it takes longer for the candy in the cold water to dissolve.
I love this cool experiment because I am happy to have the kids candy being used for science! I encouraged children to view their leftover candy as not only a tasty treat, but also a possible science experiment waiting to happen!
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