Candy cane science experiment

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This candy cane science experiment was the perfect way to combine two of my favorite things: science for kids and Christmas activities for kids.

I love doing science with my kids. Maybe it’s because my mom – the kids’ grandmum – was a science teacher for most of her career. Or maybe it’s just because kids are like mini scientists themselves in the way they explore the world.

And of course, few things say Christmas like candy canes. So that’s why I was so intrigued by the candy cane science experiment at Preschool Powol Packets where they put candy canes in water and watched them dissolve. We decided to build on that idea by comparing how candy canes dissolve in a variety of mediums.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

We started by filling two glass bowls with liquid – one with water and one with vinegar.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

(My kids were playing dress up that morning and had decided to put on their Halloween costumes,
which is why XGirl is dressed as a bumble bee and QBoy is dressed as a tiger. :-))

Then we dropped in our candy canes.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

Within a couple of minutes the red dye had started dissolving into the water. I put white paper under the bowls to make it easier to see the color that had dissolved off.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

After about 30 minutes, the candy canes had completely dissolved. All we had left was a bowl of liquid with some pinkish stuff at the bottom. The kids were pretty fascinated by the change.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

It was so interesting to watch the candy canes dissolve in water and vinegar, so we decided to try the experiment again using different liquids. This time, we decided to use oil and apple sauce. We filled our bowls again and put the candy canes in. (There is a candy cane in the apple sauce, even though it is next-to-impossible difficult to see in the picture.)

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

After about half an hour we checked on our candy canes again. The candy cane in the oil had barely changed at all. There was just the tiniest amount of pink sediment at the bottom, but the candy cane was essentially unchanged.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

The candy cane in the apple sauce, on the other hand, had left a lot of pink in the apple sauce and had gotten a bit thinner.

Candy Cane Science Experiment - try dissolving candy canes in a variety of different liquids to observe how different solutions act. This makes for a simple and fun Christmas science experiment for kids! || Gift of Curiosity

Neither candy cane, however, had dissolved nearly as much as the candy canes we had put in water and vinegar.

We did check on the candy canes again several hours later. The one in the oil was still largely unchanged but the one in apple sauce had gotten very, very thin. In fact, it snapped in half when I picked it up because it was so thin and fragile.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the candy cane at that stage, but the kids were duly impressed by its changed state.

What medium would you try dissolving the candy canes in?

More Christmas resources

More Christmas posts from Gift of Curiosity:


For more Christmas activities your kids will love, see my Christmas Activities for Kids page and my Christmas Activities for Kids Pinterest board. 

Follow Katie @ Gift of Curiosity’s board Christmas Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

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