Welcome to STEM Saturday!
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a term often used in educational settings to describe a wide range of different activities and classes that can really help your child develop the necessary skills they will need for their working life.
It can also help to get your kid engaged in education as so much of STEM involves practical and fun activities.
If you’re looking for a way to spend a few exciting hours that can help to support your kid’s learning, (see also: 15 Ways To Play And Learn With A Pumpkin) then why not try a STEM activity?
There are so many STEM activities that you can do at home that use easy-to-obtain materials and can teach your kid how the world works. If you’re looking for that perfect STEM activity, then look no further!
In this article, we have a scented hearts experiment that you can try with your kid. This is perfect for Valentine’s Day but can also be used at any point of the year.
Before we get into the details of the experiments, let’s confirm the important things you need to know.
Suitable age: Toddlers and up. Preschool and PreK education
Difficulty level: Medium, parental help required
Areas of learning: Chemical reactions, sensory
All of the ingredients used in this experiment are safe and although there is a chemical reaction, it isn’t a dangerous one. This is an easy experiment to clean up as well and you can keep any mess contained.
If this sounds suitable for you and your kid, then let’s get started!
Scented Hearts Supplies
This is an easy experiment that doesn’t need many unusual materials. You may have most of these in your home already!
- Baking soda
- Corn starch
- Coconut oil
- Food coloring
- Scented oil
- Silicone heart molds
- Plastic droppers
- Plastic container/plate
You can choose your own food coloring and scented oils. If you want to run with a Valentine’s theme we suggest either red or pink food coloring and rose-scented oils.
However, these aren’t essential and you can use whatever color and scent combinations you want.
Scented Hearts Methodology
There are two parts to this STEM experiment. In the first part, you will make your own scented hearts and in the second, you will experiment with them.
You can make the hearts with your kid but it’s also fun to make them yourself the night before and only do the experiment part with your kid. The chemical reaction of the hearts is bound to surprise them!
Part One – Making The Hearts
Let’s look at how to make scented hearts.
Mix together one cup of baking soda and half a cup of cornstarch.
Mix in one tablespoon of coconut oil. This should be melted and in a liquid state.
Add in your food coloring and scented oils. To get a nice and deep color, around eight drops of food coloring will be enough but you can add more or less depending on how deep you want your color to be.
You can also adjust the amount of scented oils you use as well. These can be pretty strong so we don’t recommend using more than a few drops.
Mix everything together slowly while adding around an eighth of a cup of water.
When mixed together correctly, you should have a mixture that clumps together and can be pressed together firmly. It shouldn’t be damp, however, and remain a crumbly texture.
If you’ve ever experimented with kinetic sand (see also: Homemade Moon Sand Using 2 Ingredients)before, then this is the type of texture you’re aiming for. If it is too wet, add a little more cornstarch.
Press the mixture into your heart-shaped silicone molds. You want to ensure that the hearts won’t fall apart, so make sure that you press the mixture down and fill in all of the gaps.
Allow the hearts to set for at least a few hours but preferably overnight.
Once the hearts are set, you’re ready to move on to the experiment!
Part Two – Experiment!
Now for the fun part!
Gently push your scented hearts out of the molds. If you packed the mixture correctly and allowed them to set for long enough, they should stay in one piece.
Place the hearts in your plastic container or on a plastic plate. We would recommend a container, such as a bin or piece of Tupperware, as this contains the next step more cleanly. Plates can get a little messy!
Pick up some vinegar with a plastic dropper and let the vinegar drip onto the hearts! The hearts should fizz and the scent will be released.
Although having fun with STEM (see also: A-Z STEM Saturday, W Is for Waves)experiments is educational enough in its own right, you can get the most out of the time by asking your kids appropriate questions throughout the process. Ask them to predict what will happen and describe what they see.
Here are some questions you can ask your kids throughout this scented hearts experiment.
- Can you describe the hearts?
- What do you think will happen when we drop vinegar onto the hearts?
- Can you describe what happened when the vinegar landed on the hearts?
- What further experiments can we try?
Try to get your kids to explore the colors, shapes, textures, and scents they experience throughout the experiment.
In this article, we introduced a fun STEM experiment that involves making some scented and fizzy hearts(see also: STEM Saturday: Learning About The Human Heart). The experiment is split into two parts with the first being the production of the hearts and the second being the fun experiment.
You can get your kids involved in both parts or just the experiment if you wish!
We also included some guided questions you can ask your kids throughout the process as this will help with their learning and understanding.
We hope you have fun making these hearts!
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