Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Who has those kids at home who always want to take things apart OR put things together? Who is always finding “experiments” or “concoctions” under their kids beds or in closets? At the Ranch, we love to see kids exploring and learning so we are sharing a few of our favorite, quick experiments that you can do in less than 15 minutes! We have also included some questions to promote discussion and perhaps a little research.

**It is always advised that these experiments be conducted safely with an adult and while wearing safety goggles.


Materials needed – bowl, 1/2 cup milk, dish soap, cotton swabs, food coloring, pepper (optional)

Steps – Pour milk into the bowl and keep the bowl as still as possible. Put one drop of each color food coloring in different spots in the milk. Place a small amount of soap on the end of a cotton swab. Touch one of the colors – WOWZA!! (Do not drink milk when done – pour down sink)

Exploratory Questions – What is causing the colors to separate?  Doe the temperature of the milk make any difference? What is the difference if you use whole or skim milk? What happens if you sprinkle pepper in the milk before you add the soap?


Materials needed – water, vegetable oil, clean plastic bottle, food coloring, fizzing tables (Alka Seltzer works great)

Steps – Fill the water bottle about 1/4 full of water then vegetable oil until bottle is about 3/4 full. Add a few drops of food coloring and watch it sink through the oil and mix with the water. Break fizzy table into halves or fourths and drop in the water bottle. Watch the magic happen!!

Exploratory Questions – What is causing the bubbles to form?  Why do they break once they hit the top of the oil? What happens if you put the cap on after dropping the fizzy tablet in? What if you drop a whole tablet in? When it stops bubbling, what happens if you sprinkle some salt into your lava lamp?


Materials needed – 1 cup water, 1.5-2 cups corn starch, food coloring (optional)

Steps – Start with water in the bowl. Add corn starch slowly – stirring with a spoon or your hand. The amount of corn starch may vary so adding it slowly allows you to control the consistency. Once it is all mixed, you can then add food coloring if you choose. Now it’s time to play!!

Exploratory Questions – What is causing Oobleck to sometime be a solid and other times a liquid?  Do you know where oobleck got its name (hint: Dr. Seuss)?  Here is a really cool video to watch on Youtube –

Elephant Toothpaste

Materials needed – clean plastic bottle, 1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution; you can get this from a beauty supply store or hair salon), 1 tablespoon (one packet) of dry yeast, 3 tablespoons of warm water, liquid dishwashing soap, food coloring, small cup

Steps – Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so put on those safety goggles! An adult should carefully pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.

  1. Pour 2 inches of hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
  2. Add 8 drops of your favorite food coloring into the bottle and swish around to mix.
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish the bottle around a bit to mix it.
  4. In a separate small cup, combine the warm water and the yeast together and mix for about 30 seconds.
  5. Now the adventure starts! Pour the yeast water mixture into the bottle (a funnel helps here) and watch the foaminess begin!

Exploratory Questions – What is happening to cause the mixture to bubble out of the jar?  When you touch the bottle after the foaming stops, what do you notice?

Soap Sculpture

Materials needed – one bar of Ivory soap (or any soap that floats), plate, microwave, bowl of water

Steps – First cut the bar of soap in half and examine the inside – are there air pockets? Try floating it in a bowl of water – did it float? Now cut bar in to fourths and place them on a microwave safe plate. Place the plate in the microwave and “cook” the soap for no more than one minute. WATCH THE SOAP in the microwave to see an amazing thing happen! Carefully remove from the microwave and wait a few seconds – soap will be warm. Once it has cooled, touch the soap – what do you notice? Now don’t throw away – take into the shower and you can still use it.

Exploratory Questions – What causes the soap to float?  What caused the soap to expand in the microwave?