I have been so excited to share our super Science Birthday Experiment–I mean “party”. The kids had so much fun with this! And it was educational! Win win! This makes a great birthday party, or decorate it a little spookier and it makes a great Halloween party!
We set the tone for the party with this invitation. I did a little photoshoot with my son in front of a chalkboard that I blended with a chalkboard background and added all of the party information to look like chalk writing later. We were going for Albert Einstein, if you can’t tell, but Grandpa said he looks more like Mark Twain. What do you think? I had my geologist husband help me out with the scientific terminology and equation (so if you take issue with any of it, it is his fault. ) I almost always deliver real invitations to a party, but when it became clear that I wouldn’t have time to get mailing addresses for all of his friends, I settled for an online invitation. I just had to find one where I could upload my own invitation.
As our young scientists arrived they were outfitted with lab coats (mens dress shirts from the thrift store), name badges and goggles. Before our special guest lecturer arrived, they worked to build their own gumball molecules.
My daughter is the “lab cat” as opposed to a “lab rat.” Whatever. Anyway, we used colorful gumballs, toothpicks, and edible ink markers to write the element names on the gumballs if they so desired.
As it came time for our guest lecturer to make his appearance, our young scientists made their way to the laboratory (kitchen island) where their stations were set-up with their equipment (favors).
Each scientist got a notepad for writing their scientific observations, a pen which doubles as a syringe filled with a radioactive liquid some brain erasers, earthworms for when they got hungry and test tubes filled with–what else?–Nerds!
We also made sure each had an ample supply of H2O for proper brain function. Most of the favors as well as the paper goods on our table came from Oriental Trading Company. For direct links to the individual products, please visit my Science Birthday Pinterest Board.
He certainly got the mad part down!
He proceeded to alternate between scientific demonstrations that he performed for the kids and projects that they did themselves at their stations. We had lots of experiments on tap and actually ran out of time to do them all. For a comprehensive list of science project ideas, visit my Mad Science Pinterest board. Here are some of the ones we did:
1) Tornado tube. That small green device creates a vortex in the bottle. You can find these on-line.
2) Diet coke and Mentos fountains. Has everyone tried this? You can just drop minty Mentos in a 2-liter bottle to create an impressive fountain. This time we went ahead and bought the commercial attachment that lets you release several mentos at once and channels the pressure straight up. We got some serious air on these! They shot up more than 20 ft. high.
3) DIY lava lamps. We made some large ones in vases as part of our decorations on the table. We also had each guest create their own lava lamp to take home. It just takes oil, water, food coloring, and the activator is Alka Seltzer tablets! We sent them home with extra tablets of Alka Seltzer so they could show their families.
4) Birthday Balloons. Empty water bottles, baking soda, vinegar, and balloons. Put the baking soda in the balloon, a little vinegar in the bottom of the bottle and attach the balloon to the top of the bottle without spilling the baking soda. When it is time to blow up the balloons, you just tilt them up adding the baking soda to the vinegar.
5) Polymers. We used the test tubes from Oriental Trading Co. to mix little polymer beads with water and watched them absorb the water and grow as we did our other experiments.
6) Elephant Toothpaste. You can follow this recipe. The kids loved this reaction!
We also made Glow in the dark Slime for the kids to take home as favors. They loved this and it turned out so well! You can follow this recipe! I know I am forgetting some of the experiments, but these are the ones I photographed.
After the experiments, our scientists needed some refreshment. This is the set up for the food.
I made the “chalkboard” backdrop out of big black paper from Hobby Lobby. We used white chalk ink to draw various diagrams and equations on the “board”–the work of our mad scientist.
I had to create a birthday banner based on the periodic table. I found this website that helps you figure out how to spell things with elements.
In all honesty, I could have probably just invested in a little dry ice and kept the kids entertained for the duration of the party. I had a hard time keeping them away from these drinks I copied from Our Best Bites.
We served them in these eyeball beakers from Oriental Trading Co.
The “lava lamps” weren’t to eat and didn’t photograph as cool as they looked in real life, but along with the dry ice drinks, the motion brought our table to life.
There were some edible goodies.
Chocolate Monkey brains. (Mold from Bake it Pretty)
We made them a little extra disgusting, by filling them partly with strawberry syrup.
We but clear jello in petrie dishes and placed gummy earth worms in the dishes after they had set-up part way.
For an easy (and non-sweet) scientific snack, we served DNA-Double Helix Cheese Sticks.
And the brain cake was pretty fast and easy to put together. I baked it in a Pyrex bowl and just used a large tip to pipe on the brain squiggles after frosting a quick base quote.
When it was cake time, we lit up these color flame candles on the cake. Cool and scientific? (Or rather, hot, right?)
And I haven’t even shown you the favorite part of the party. Well, one of them anyway. This was meant to be the centerpiece of the dessert table, but even using small cookies, it ended up being much to big and required a table all of it’s own!
I’m not going to lie, this was a big project, but I made it a little less complicated by purchasing rectangle shaped cookies in packages from Walmart. I found a colorful periodic table on-line and used it as a guide. I decided the easiest way to frost them would be to dip them in the Christmas Cookie frosting that we have used for years.
Then I just used an edible ink pen to write each element and it’s number on each cookie. Then I lined them all up on a couple of foam boards to make the display. It was fun to watch everyone choosing their favorite elements!
Thanks to Oriental Trading Company for providing some of the supplies for this party! They added so much to the atmosphere and fun!
Do you have favorite science experiments to do with kids?