5 Science Experiments for Leftover Candy

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy before your kids get to it.

Don't know what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy, and don't want your kids consuming it? We've got five great ways to use it up -- using science!

1. Put it in Water

One mom discovered the wonderous entertainment of floating candy. From Nerds to M&M's to Smarties, every candy has a different floating, dissolving and water-tinting ability. Compare with your kids! All you need is a strong mug that won't tip over, water, and candy -- perferably not the chocolate-covered kind. Look for the white "m's" and "s's" from M&M's and Skittles that tend to float to the surface. Use coffee filters to dab soaking candy colors and record your predictions and results in a notebook. Happy dunking!

2. Rainbow in a Glass

Sugar solutions made at different concentrations will settle in unique layers in a glass. For this experiment, you will need five glasses 1/5 full of water and colored candy (preferably Nerds). In each glass, dissolve a different amount and color of Nerds -- 1 tablespoon in the first, 2 in the second and so on. Stir. Now, take the last glass with the most sugar -- this has your bottom later. Pour the solutions from each of the other glasses (with 4 tablespoons of sugar, 3, and so on), in order, above that bottom later. Voila! A rainbow concoction.

3. pH Soda Test

To test candies for their acid content, you will need water and baking soda. Dissolve several sour candies in individual cups of water. Add baking soda, and stir. Whichever candy produces the most bubbles (sour Lemonheads produce lots) is the most acidic. Get your kids to guess the most acidic candies first before pouring in the baking soda.

4. Melting Mania

This one's easy -- you just need an oven, tinfoil, a cookie sheet and candy. Put tinfoil on cookie sheet. Unwrap candy, put on cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in oven at 300 to 350F. Find out which ones melt, and which ones (surprisingly) don't! *Caution: do not melt jawbreakers.

5. Oil Test

For this one, you'll need Starbursts and a microwave. Unwrap Starbursts, put on a plate and put in the microwave for about one minute, until it turns into liquid. Take out of microwave and watch shiny spots settle as the candy cools. Once cool, scrap off the whitish, waxy spots and rub them between your fingers -- this is the oil!

Cynthia Greaves November 04, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Great ideas and clever article - thanks!
Carol Gilbert November 04, 2011 at 04:55 PM
What a great article. At least the candy doesn't go to total waste. - Carol G.
Loralee November 11, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Glad that everybody likes candy experiments. You can find versions of all these experiments, and many more, at my website, candyexperiments.com. The Nerds idea is an interesting variation on the density rainbow--wonder if it'll work?
Maggie Beidelman November 11, 2011 at 05:41 AM
Hi friends, For more fun candy experiments like the ones I found on candexperiments.com (Melting Mania and Oil Test), mothering.com (Put it in Water and pH soda test) and about.com (Rainbow in a Glass), please visit their websites! Thanks, Maggie


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