Slime success and Science Week fun

Liz, Parentkind
16 March, 2018 : 14:05
0     0

After months spent studying slime making videos on YouTube and too many experiments (and trips to the pound shop) to count, last year my daughter finally perfected slime!

Much as I could’ve done without the frustration that followed each failed experiment, and the heady aroma of shampoo mixed with shaving foam mixed with glue filling the house, I was really proud of her commitment and diligence as she tested and recorded every trial. Was this really the same nine-year-old girl who didn’t enjoy science lessons?!

After her slime ‘breakthrough’ the nutty professor phase quietened down a bit, and we reverted back to food science (although making honeycomb is every bit as exciting and messy), so British Science Week was a good excuse to get the lab coat and goggles back on. A quick internet search returned hundreds of ideas for easy science experiments that we could try at home.

We picked two experiments we hadn’t tried before that looked fun, simple and inexpensive.

Important: these experiments do require adult supervision as some of the ingredients could be harmful – and it’s more fun when you do them together anyway!

Lava lamp

You will need:
Oil (we used baby oil, but you could use vegetable oil)
Food colouring (the brighter the better)
Alka-Seltzer tablets (other effervescent tablets should do the trick)
A plastic bottle or tall jar

What you do:
Fill the bottle roughly two thirds of the way with oil, then top up with water.
Watch the water sink through the oil then wait 10 mins or so for any bubbles to disappear.
Add a few drops of food colour and watch it pass through the oil and mix with the water.
Add a quarter to half an Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch the coloured bubbles burst up through the oil and dance.
For the full lava lamp effect, turn out the lights and shine a torch through it - groovy!

This is what’s going on…
The water is denser than the oil so it sinks through and the oil floats on top. The food colouring and water are the same density so they mix together. The Alka-Selter tablet sinks into coloured water and as it dissolves it makes carbon dioxide gas. Because the gas is lighter than water it floats to the top bringing the coloured water with it in coloured bubbles. When the air is released the water sinks back to the bottom. When the tablet has dissolved completely and all the air has been released the lamp will settle, but the good news is, you can start it off again by dropping in another piece of Alka-Seltzer.

Magic milk

You will need:
A shallow dish or plate
Food colouring (use a few colours)
Washing up liquid
Cotton buds

What you do:
Pour in enough milk to cover the base of the dish.
Add a few drops of different food colours around the dish.
Dip the cotton bud in the washing up liquid and dab it onto the food colour.
Watch the magic happen as the colours burst on the plate!

This is what’s going on…
The food colour bonds to the milk. When the washing up liquid breaks the surface tension and the bond it causes the food colour to spread over the surface of the milk.

Tried and tested slime

You will need:
Clear PVA glue (or you could use white which is normally cheaper)
Contact lens solution - must contain boric acid
Bicarbonate of soda
Gel food colouring
Glitter or little foil stars (optional)
A mixing bowl

What you do:
Pour 1 cup of the glue into the bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and mix.
Add a few drips of food colouring.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of contact lens solution until it starts to come together then start kneading it with your hands and working the mixture until it becomes stretchy slime.
Add the glitter if you're using it and continue to work the mixture together.
If it feels too sticky add a teeny bit more contact lens solution, but if you add too much it becomes brittle.

This is what’s going on...
A big old mess, accompanied by lots of giggles – that’s all I know! Please do look up the science bits online or in a proper science book.

Good luck and have lots of fun :)

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Liz, Parentkind

Senior Marketing and Communications Executive, Parentkind

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