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Fun Science Activities to Do with Kids in The Summer (Part 4)

Hi fellow scientists and scientist-parents! It’s been a little cold recently, so hope everyone is figuring out how to keep kids entertained without our standard pool-beach-lake-pool-beach-lake circuit that we tend to do in our family. You know what I was told before I moved to the Boston area? That there were only two seasons in Boston: winter and July….so, um, yeah. I guess we’re almost done with the July season.

Anyway, looking for more things to do with your kids (or yourselves, I know you’re trying these all out at home even without kids…)? Check out our previous entries in this series, here, here or here.

Today’s new activities are ALL ABOUT SODA. Here are two fun activities to try.

7. Combine diet coke and Mentos. This video (click HERE) shows exactly how much fun this can be, and how you can use different size containers and different amounts of Mentos to create a whole variety of geysers. If you want to up your game a little, it turns out you can buy an actual device that makes it easier to drop the Mentos right in there (check out this link HERE). Why does this work? It’s a nucleation reaction, which means that the mint candies provide a surface for the carbon dioxide bubbles to form (that’s the gas that gives the soda its carbonation). Once they have that surface, they all form at once and the geyser erupts! Another fun option? Try putting a few Mento candies in your mouth and then trying to drink the Diet Coke as fast as you can. Everybody else, stand clear!

8. Pop Rocks and Nerds. Fun fact I just discovered today: there is an actual place called “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” it is not only part of a song from my childhood. I know this is only tangentially related to pop rocks and Nerds, but we are in the candy and rock candy mood today. For this experiment, we are going to give the carbon dioxide in the soda another surface to nucleate – this time it is the surface of the pop rocks and Nerds candies! To capture all the carbon dioxide too, we will put a balloon on top of the soda containers so that all of the gas goes straight into the balloon. How exactly do you do this? Hold the balloon open as much as you can and dump in the candy. Open a small soda bottle, and then secure the balloon on top of the bottle, and turn it over to pour all the candy into the balloon! Hold on to the balloon as it gets bigger and bigger, or else you are going to have quite a mess on your hands! See this link HERE or HERE for some more information and fun photos and videos.

Have you tried any of our experiments at home? Let us know how they are working for you!

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