This post may contain affiliate links meaning I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Read my disclosure policy here.
Using one of Valentine’s Day’s most popular treats, the dissolving candy hearts experiment is one activity to add to your must-do list. They are perfect for exploring candy science and doing projects your kids will love. If you have lots of these conversation hearts left over this Valentine’s Day, here is a great way to put them to use.
Science Lesson Ideas for the Candy Hearts Experiment
The candy hearts experiment is a great way to introduce chemistry to kids in a simple way. They can learn valuable lessons about solubility while watching what happens when you combine water and water mixtures with the candy hearts.
There is another lesson involving time with this experiment, which can also be measurable (hello, math). Looking for science lessons to take this experiment deeper? Here’s a few!
Science in the Candy Hearts Ingredients
The ingredients that make up this candy are the primary reason why they react the way they do in this experiment. Regardless of brand, most conversational hearts are made with these key ingredients:
- corn syrup
Knowing the ingredients now opens the door to asking – What do each of these ingredients do in water or a water mixture? Individually, each of these have the ability to dissolve in water due to their molecular makeup. However, is this case when added to a water-sugar and water-salt mix? We’ll let the experiment answer that question!
Lesson About Solubility
The candy hearts experiment is a great lesson about solubility and a hands-on way to check how well something is able to dissolve in a solvent (or liquid). The thing about solubility is the thing you want to dissolve could be a gas, liquid, or solid and what you’re using to dissolve can also be a gas, liquid, or solid.
In other words, there are variety of ways and things you can test. For this experiment, however, we will be using candy hearts, which are solid, and a water solvent (liquid).
Testing the solubility in the candy hearts experiment, you can ask the question – which liquid is a better solvent for dissolving the solid?
Setting Up the Candy Hearts Experiment
There are many ways to set up this experiment depending on how many solvents you want to test. Although the main supplies involve water, sugar, and salt, you can use the following combinations:
- room-temperature water
- cold water
- hot water
- room-temperature sugar water
- cold sugar water
- hot sugar water
- room-temperature salt water
- cold salt water
- hot salt water
You can also explore with other liquids besides water. Try doing the experiment with vinegar, soda, liquid dish soap, vegetable oil, and more!
To do a basic version of the dissolving candy hearts experiment, start with room-temperature water, hot water, and the same but with sugar and salt mixed. You also only need one candy heart per mixture, so there will be plenty left over to snack on while waiting to see any changes.
The longer you let the candy hearts sit, the more change you may (or may not) see. Your kids can begin checking them a couple minutes after they have been added to the water, sugar-water, and salt-water. Scroll down to get the full supply list and how-to of this awesome experiment.
Recommended Science Experiment Books
Love this Valentine’s day science experiment? Get more science experiment ideas in these books.
The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8Outdoor Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and ParkThe Science Chef: 100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes for KidsReal Chemistry Experiments: 40 Exciting STEAM Activities for Kids (Real Science Experiments for Kids)This Is Rocket Science: An Activity Guide: 70 Fun and Easy Experiments for Kids to Learn More About Our Solar SystemKitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House (Lab for Kids (4))
Dissolving Candy Hearts Experiment
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- ½ cup salt, divided
- 6 candy hearts
- Place 1 cup of water into three different cups. Into one cup, add ¼ cup sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Into the second cup, add ¼ cup salt, stirring until dissolved.
- Heat the remaining 3 cups of water until hot.
- Place 1 cup of hot water into three different cups. Into one cup, add ¼ cup sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Into the second cup, add ¼ cup salt, stirring until dissolved.
- Place one candy heart into each cup of water. Set a timer for 2 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, check the candy hearts and make note of which have changed.
- Continue checking the candy hearts every 2 to 5 minutes, making note of the changes.
- Discuss which liquids caused the candy hearts to dissolve faster/slower and why.
More Variations of the Dissolving Candy Hearts Experiment
If desired, repeat the experiment using different room-temperature liquids such as vinegar, liquid dish soap, oil, soda pop, etc.
Interesting things to note in the pictures:
- The hot water with salt – dissolved the most of any. Had a heart shape form on the surface.
- The cold water with salt – floated but barely dissolved.
- The cold water with sugar – the text on the candy did not disappear.
Check to see if your experiment yields the same (or similar) results!
Grab the experiment worksheet below
CHIME IN: Did you do this experiment? If so, did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!
Psst… Check out my other Valentine’s Day experiments: