With Halloween coming there is a lot of extra candy around and if you are like me, you want to find ways to use up some of that candy. Thankfully candy science is a fantastic way to explore science principles. Not only does it smell amazing, but the results are often beautiful and colorful.
We love doing experiments with food from erupting Lava Toffee to making plastic toys from milk, and Edible Animal Cells to Pop Rock Science Experiment - plus doing food science is always fascinating.
For this set of candy science activities we wanted to explore what happens to different candies in water. The results were stunning rainbows that elicited lots of exclamations and wows from the kids!
Candy ScienceTo do this candy science activity you will need:
- A white shallow bowl or dish (or a clear one on a white cloth works, we want to be able to really see what is happening).
- Warm water
For our first test we decided to see what Skittles would do in the warm water. After some testing we discovered that it was best to have the Skittles on the plate, then add water to get the most beautiful designs and separation of colors.
Next we wanted to see if other candies would do the same thing, so we tested it in the same way, but using lollipops. The colors were not as intense but they behaved in the same way, with beautiful patterns emerging.
Next up we tested another favorite candy of ours, M&Ms. Again the colors behaved in the same way.
The science behind why the colors do not mix is known as water stratification. Each color creates a water solution that has slightly different properties such as density, salinity, and oxygenation. This creates a barrier that prevents the water from mixing and is why salt water and fresh water do not mix.
Candy Science RaceNext up we decided it was time for a Candy Science race! We wanted to see which would dissolve faster, the Skittles or the M&Ms.
We lined up our candies on opposite sides of our dish, then carefully added our warm water. Instantly, we saw a difference. The Skittles were much brighter.
Then after about a minute we had a clear winner. The Skittles created brighter colors and reached the middle of the dish faster.
After all of this Candy Science we were inspired to create another experiment using dissolved lollipops. They smelled so good, we had to keep experimenting! We created a Candy Science Layered Lollipops project that explores density and has beautiful results.
Shelley is a former communications manager with a BSc in Psychology specialization. Since starting a family ten years ago, she has been a full-time writer in both fiction and non-fiction, and on her site: STEAM Powered Family. She is passionate about quality education and childhood mental health, and last year started homeschooling her two children who both have special needs. Follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.