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Just in time for candy season, we have this easy peppermint science experiment! Take those leftover peppermint candies and try out this fun, colorful activity, and introduce your kids to world of chemistry.
Why teach science?
Science exploration and experimentation is so important to early childhood development. When we do these fun science experiments with our kids, we’re teaching them incredibly important life skills! We help them practice careful observation, and learn how to make predictions.
They learn how to ask questions, think about the answers and form their own opinions. And we can teach them how to communicate their thoughts as we discuss what we’re doing with them.
>> See more simple homeschool science experiments
What’s going on:
In this peppermint science activity, we’ll be observing what happens when you place peppermint candy in warm water. It’s best to use a colorful candy, so you get a more visual reaction. The brighter the color, the better the reaction.
The peppermint candy is made of sugar. And sugar dissolves in water. Warmer water helps dissolve the sugar faster. As the candy sits in the warm water, the sugar is slowly dissolving into the water, taking the food coloring with it.
Chemically, the molecules of the sugar are bonded together to form the hard candy. But when you add water and heat, those bonds break, and the sugar molecules get suspended in between the water molecules. The food coloring was bonded in with the sugar, so those molecules also get suspended in the water.
So as the sugar disappears into the water, the food coloring spreads out from the candy, streaking the water. You get these cool patterns around the candy!
Before you start
Before you set up your experiment, ask your child what they think will happen. Will nothing happen? Will the candy disappear? Guide them in making a prediction. Then you can get started.
During the experiment
While the experiment is happening, talk about their senses of observation. What do they see? Maybe you can ask them to draw a picture of their experiment. What about hearing? Can they hear the candy melting?
You can taste and smell this experiment safely. The water should taste sweet and maybe even a little minty. And it should definitely smell minty.
You can even feel in this experiment. The warm water, the smooth hard mint, then the stickiness of the water or mint as it’s dissolving all make for great observations.
You could even use a timer with this experiment and different colors or shapes of candy.
Peppermint Experiment Supplies
For this experiment, you’ll only need a few things:
- a white glass plate (so you can better see the effects)
- hard peppermint candies (the brighter the color, the better!)
- warm water
- Unwrap the peppermint candies and put them on the plate. Leave about an inch between the candies, so you can see the individual reactions.
- Make a prediction about what will happen when you add warm water.
- Slowly pour warm water into the center of the plate, until the bottoms of the candies are under water. Don’t cover the candies tho! You don’t want them to float!
- Watch the colors from the candies move around the plate.
- Repeat with a different color, size, or shape. You can also vary the temperature or depth of the water. Do you get the same effect if the water is very cold?
- (Optional): use a timer to observe differences between candies, water temperature or water depth.
- Record your observations on paper. Was your prediction right?
Now you’ve got something to do with all those leftover Christmas candies! Turn them into science.