Before the sugar high that comes with the Valentine candy, squeeze in some holiday-themed learning. Science class becomes more interesting to kids with these activities and experiments that use hearts, flowers and other Valentine’s themes.
Crystals form over time in this simple science experiment. You need a clear container, a pipe cleaner, string, a pencil, water and Borax. Food coloring is optional or use a colored pipe cleaner. Have the kids shape the pipe cleaner into a heart with the ends twisted together to hold the shape. Tie one end of a string to the heart and the other to a pencil to suspend the heart in the solution.
The next step is for adults. Boil water and dissolve Borax into it until it stops dissolving. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of Borax for a small jar of water. Add the Borax a tablespoon at a time stirring to dissolve after each one. When you see Borax at the bottom that isn’t dissolving you’ve added enough.
Place the pipe cleaner in the water with the pencil balanced over the opening of the jar. Watch as the crystals form on the pipe cleaner.
No need for expensive roses on Valentine’s Day. Cheap carnations get a colorful makeover with this classic science experiment. Each child needs at least one white carnation. Add a few drops of food coloring to a small cup of water. Trim the end of each carnation stem and place in the water. Let the kids observe the color moving through the stem into the white petals of the flowers.
Candy Heart Experimentation
Whether you love them or think they taste like chalk — I fall into the second camp — those conversation hearts you see all over are perfect for a little experimenting. Pour different liquids into clear cups with a few conversation heart candies in each one. Observe with the kids to see what happens to the hearts.
Have the kids record what they see. Do the candies dissolve? Do the changes depend on the type of liquid? Do changes happen faster in some materials than in others?
This experiment uses whole milk, food coloring and dish soap to create a swirl of Valentine’s colors. Start with a shallow dish with milk in it. Place a few drops of pink, purple and red food coloring near the middle of the milk without overlapping or mixing the colors.
Now comes the excitement. Dip a toothpick or cotton swab with dishwashing soap on it into the middle of the milk near the food coloring. The soap reacts with the fat in the milk to push the colors all around the surface of the milk. All of those Valentine’s colors swirl around the plate of milk.
To preserve the milky artwork, gently place a piece of white paper on top of the colored milk. Lift it and allow the milk to drop off. After the paper dries, the Valentine’s colors stay behind. Use the paper to make Valentine’s Day crafts.
Engaging, themed activities help kids gain an appreciation for science. With these Valentine’s activities, you play into the excitement of the holiday while testing out scientific ideas.