Category Archives: Mad Scientist Party

Mad scientist parties are all the rage, and I can see why. It’s hard to keep the attention of a large group of 11 year olds. But throw in some some dry ice, slime and a few explosions and you have yourself a winner. I’ll take you step-by-step through this party so that you can try this yourself at home.

For this invite I typed up the party info in a very plain and scientific-y way. It read:

Come & experiment with us at a MAD SCIENTIST birthday party
[birthday child’s name and other party info here]
It’ll be totally explosive. You should come.
Absolutely no presents please.
If brought they will be dropped into toxic waste.

I folded it down and tucked it into a small petri dish. Small printer labels fold around the edge to keep the top secure for delivery.

For all posts on this theme, be sure to click on the tag link below.

To give this party a more authentic feel I bought some “official” lab equipment.

1. a brand new, never used 16 oz. plastic bottle
2. a small glass pitcher for holding water
3. Erlenmeyer flask
4. plastic test tubes
5. safety glasses
6. various containers for holding small experiment objects
7. the favor box that they took all of their finished experiments home in

I set up two kids per table. They shared some items and other items were their own. Of course I brought a bunch more stuff to use for the experiments, but these are the basic supplies that they started out with. Don’t worry, when I show you the experiments in detail you’ll get all the deets.

To see all of the Mad Scientist party posts, click on the tag link below.

This Mad Scientist party was a lot of fun. My best advice is to know ahead of time that things are going to get crazy and messy, but enjoy the experiments and clean up later. I thought it might be helpful to list all of the experiments that we did at the party. I’ll be going into more detail over the next few days, but for simplicity here they all are:

1. jelly marbles with food coloring in a test tube
2. rainbow cupcakes made with sprite
3. blow up a balloon using baking soda and vinegar
4. experimenting with dry ice, water and coins
5. make your own chocolates from a kit
6. slime
7. tornado tube that turns water into a funnel shape
8. fake snow
9. can you turn grape juice into purple soda pop?
10. the old diet coke and mentos fountain

If you missed the rest of the party, click on the Mad Scientist tag below to see all of these experiments in action.

Here are the first 5 experiments that we did at the Mad Scientist Party, in more detail:

1. Jelly marbles with food coloring in a test tube: Courtesy of Steve Spangler, we started out with this fun and easy experiment. We added some tiny jelly marble pellets, a food coloring tablet, and water to the test tubes. As the party progressed we checked the status of the jelly marbles. They took on the color of the food coloring and kept growing by absorbing the water until they were size of marbles and filled the test tube. I thought this was one of the coolest experiments.
2. Rainbow cupcakes made with sprite: Inspired by the recipe in the link, we made rainbow colored cupcakes. Before I started this experiment I asked the kids if they thought we could make cupcakes using just a cake mix and a bottle of sprite. No one thought it was possible, but it worked. I let each team mix their share of batter with the sprite and color it with food coloring. Then they lined up and made their own cupcakes. Unfortunately, we overfilled the cupcake liners so our cupcakes were really messy. But they still tasted great.
3. Blow up a balloon using baking soda and vinegar: The night before the party I filled up regular sized balloons with 1 Tablespoon of baking soda each using a funnel to get the baking soda into the balloon. At the party I had the kids fill up a plastic test tube with vinegar (about 2 ounces of vinegar). They carefully attached the balloon to the top of the test tube, letting the balloon hang over to the side so that no baking soda would spill into the test tube. Then when I gave the word, they all tilted their balloons up and let the baking soda fall into the vinegar, causing a chemical reaction that inflated the balloons. Simple, easy and with common household items.
4. Experimenting with dry ice, water and coins: Every mad scientist party needs dry ice. Dry ice is actually inexpensive and available year round. I let the kids touch the dry ice with coins (never just their hands) which made a screeching noise. Then I let them add warm water to see what else dry ice can do. This made the characteristic dry ice fog. They could also cup the fog and smell it (but don’t let them inhale too much of it). I think we could have just kept refilling their dry ice and they would have been entertained for hours.
5. Make your own chocolates from a kit: This is a kit from Glee. Making chocolate is actually a bit of a scientific experiment since chocolate has to be tempered. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures of this. I brought an individual electrical burner and a pan and showed the kids how chocolate was made from the ingredients in the kit. I let them add nuts or marshmallows to their candy paper and then we filled it with the melted chocolate.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of the experiments. Click on the Mad Scientist tag for more posts about this party.

Here are the rest of the experiments we did at the Mad Scientist party, in more detail:

6. Make your own slime: once again, Steve Spangler came through. Using the polymer and liquid solution provided, I amazed the kids with my ability to create slime. My job was to pour in the right amounts of solution, they had the fun part of shaking things up and seeing what happened. I got free containers from the local pharmacy to shake the mixtures in. And as you can see, some kids decided to add food coloring to their slime.

7. A water tornado in soda bottle: this trick was pretty cool–and mess free. Here goes, first I filled one bottle with water and left the other bottle empty. Then I connected them with a handy dandy tornado tube connector. If you tip the bottles over so the bottle with the water in on top, the water won’t fall down into the empty bottle because the air holds it in place. I asked the kids what they thought would happen and some guessed it right away. But once I “swirled” the water, it formed an awesome tornado. Then we added food coloring (because really, they wanted food coloring added to everything) and I let them each have a turn creating a tornado with the water. Ahhh, the wonder of physics.

8. In seconds you can have fake snow: super absorbent polymers and water combine to make instant snow. It was pretty amazing how fast the snow appeared after we added water to the white polymer powder. A must do.

9. Can you turn grape juice into purple soda pop? I started this experiment with two different glass pitchers that were different shapes, but held the same amount of liquid. I asked the kids to tell me which container held the most water and we talked about how containers can look different but really be similar. I measured 4 Tablespoons of citric acid and 2 Tablespoons of baking soda into the tall pitcher and then I added some grape juice (and you can see what happened). For the apple juice I added some dry ice to the pitcher. This didn’t make as fizzy of soda pop and I think the citric acid and baking soda worked better. I bought empty soda bottles to fill with the “soda pop” but you could just use cups instead. Notice the dry ice fog from the apple juice and the obvious chemical reaction from the grape juice. Either way, the kids liked both flavors.

10. Please tell me you’ve heard of the ‘ole diet coke and mentos fountain: it’s so easy. I bought a bunch of bottles of diet cola. And lots of rolls of minty Mentos. This isn’t necessary, but I bought this kit from EepyBird to make the experiment easier and more fun. Each team got a cool top and a pin with a string attached. They loaded their topper with Mentos, put the pin in place to prevent the Mentos from going into the Diet Coke before they were ready, twisted the cool topper onto the soda bottle, then they stepped back and pulled the string attached to the pin to release the Mentos and cause an awesome soda fountain. It’s not as hard as I’m explaining it here. We did this experiment last and I think they liked it best. And for obvious reasons, do it outside.

Did you miss Part 1 of the experiments? This party was a blast. Click on the Mad Scientist tag for more related posts.

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