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“Cool” End of Summer Activities and Experiments for Kids

September 05, 2018

“Cool” End of Summer Activities and Experiments for Kids

Pretty soon the leaves will start to fall and thoughts will turn to sweaters and cold weather. But for now…it’s still HOT outside!  Cool your kids off with these chilly experiments

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 Lifting Ice Cube Experiment

This experiment comes courtesy of Explorable.com. Challenge your kids to pick up an ice cube using just a string. They’ll think its magic but will learn ITS SCIENCE!

Materials You’ll Need

  • Cup of water
  • Ice cubes
  • String
  • Salt

Procedure

  • Drop an ice cube in the cup of water. Dangle the end of the string on the ice cube and keep it still.
  • Sprinkle salt on the ice cube where the string is touching the cube. Set aside for a few minutes.
  • Try to lift the string and observe what happens to the ice.

How does it work?

Was your child able to lift the ice out of the water with the string? When the ice cube was placed in the water, the ice started melting and the water started to freeze. Because this was happening at the same time, the ice and the water are in dynamic equilibrium. The rate of freezing and melting was the same (32 degrees), until your child added the salt to the ice cube. Salt molecules dissolve and join the water molecules, making the rate of melting much faster than the rate of freezing. To regain equilibrium, the water’s freezing point drops, causing the ice to freeze out of the salt water. Any of the ice that melted around the string refreezes as the salt begins to crystallize. This causes the ice cube to stick to the string.

 

Ice Cream Science

Milk or whipping cream can become homemade ice cream in five minutes by using a bag! This creamy treat will delight your child while they learn.

Materials You will Need

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup of milk or heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • 1-quart sized food storage bag
  • 1-gallon sized food storage bag
  • Ice cubes

Procedure

  • Fill the larger bag half full of ice and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
  • Put milk or cream, vanilla and sugar in the small bag and seal it tightly.
  • Place the small bag into the large bag and seal it again carefully.
  • Shake for five minutes or so until the mixture becomes ice cream!
  • Wipe off the top of the small bag and open it carefully. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

How does it work?

When the rock salt comes into contact with the ice, the freezing point of the ice is lowered. Water will normally freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A 10 % salt solution freezes at 20 degrees F, and a 20% solution freezes at 2 degrees Fahrenheit. By lowering the temperature at which ice is frozen, you created an environment in which the milk/cream mixture can freeze into ice cream!

 

Ice Crystal Bubbles

This is a demonstration of a process called sublimation. The campers in the Club SciKidz Jr. Chemist summer science camp love this! Dry ice must be handled with care as its -110 degrees F! The ice must be handled with gloves or tongs and it can cause serious burns to the skin. Never let your child put dry ice in his/her mouth!

Materials you will need

  • 1 – 4” strip of cloth
  • 2 – 16 oz clear plastic cups
  • Dry ice
  • Warm water
  • Dawn detergent
  • Bowl for detergent
  • Large clear container with a smooth rim for dry ice
  • Goggles
  • Tongs
  • Flashlight
  • Paper towels
  • Water Pitcher

Procedure

  • Soak the strip of cloth in the Dawn in advance.
  • Make sure your child has on goggles and gloves.
  • Give your child a cup of warm water. Place a piece of dry ice in your child’s cup. Don’t let him/her touch the ice!
  • The dry ice will turn into a cloud. The cloud is safe for your child to touch as long as they don’t put their fingers too far into the cup and touch the dry ice.
  • Help your child make the ice crystal bubble. Start with a new plastic cup. Note that the plastic cups will weaken with continual dry ice use. Add warm water to the cup until the cup is half full. Drop a few pieces of dry ice in the cup.
  • Have your child pull the Dawn soaked strip of cloth across the rim of their cup. It helps to have the rim wet. They are trying to create a soap film that covers the top.
  • Place a flashlight next to the cup so the light shines up. The bubbles will have a cool glow!

How does it work?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Instead of melting, dry ice turns directly into carbon dioxide gas. When you drop a piece of dry ice in a bucket of water, the gas that you see is a combination of carbon dioxide and water vapor.

 

Interactive Online Fun and Learning

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a terrific weather website for kids; scijinks.gov. Your kids can continue their icy fun by reading an article called “How Do Snowflakes Form” or playing a cool Grow Snow Crystals game. If your child is interested in all things weather, this is the site to visit!

For another frosty experiment and lots of other weather activities, order our Weather on the Wild Side Club SciKidz lab box.




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