A Mad Scientist Birthday Party

Happy Birthday J!

J turned seven in June.  My baby….seven!  J is an avid scientist and engineer.  He loves to build things, take things apart, and conduct mysterious experiments at the kitchen sink.  And he loves Duck Tape.  (Because doesn’t everyone?)  I still find it humorous to remember the time when he was two, and I discovered that he had taken apart our dust buster beyond the ability to ever put it back together again.  To this day, I still don’t have an adequate replacement for that.  I should probably add that to my Christmas list.  I usually give the boys the option to have a birthday party at home or an away location like bowling, swimming, bounce zone place, remote control race track, putt-putt, etc.  J was leaning towards the remote control car race track place (which is super cool), but when I suggested a mad scientist party complete with the diet soda/Mentos experiment that he had recently watched on MythBusters, he was sold!

First, I bought some super cute custom “mad scientist” invitations from Etsy.  I usually try to make my own invitations, but these were so adorable that I decided to focus on other stuff.

Initially, we did “research” into the activities that we might want to conduct by looking through some of J’s kid science experiment books.

* The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book

* Everything Kids’ Magical Science Experiments Book

* Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun (Steve Spangler Science)

* The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

We ended up doing three science activities: 1) suck the egg into a bottle, 2) make your own glow in the dark slime!, and 3) Mentos + Diet Coke = Geyser.  The last one we did outside in the side yard where the dogs couldn’t come over to lick the sticky grass.  Here’s the progress of events.  We had 10 kids, both boys and girls.

1. Arrival, make a mess in the house pulling out all the toys

2. Sit down around the kitchen table, where they had the following science tools:  lab notebook with their name on it, pencil, and eye protection.

Eye protection and lab notebooks ready!

3. We first demonstrated the egg in a bottle trick.  We used the technique described in the Steve Spangler book which has you put birthday candles in the peeled hard-boiled egg, and then let it rest on the mouth of a bottle (we used a glass milk bottle).  First, we tried one birthday candle and had the kids put down in their lab notebooks what they thought would happen.  (Answer: nothing!)  Then we tried two candles, umm…not too exciting.  Then….we tried three candles!  Voila!  Egg sucked into bottle as the flames from the three candles heat the molecules of air in the bottle, causing the molecules to move farther apart from each other, some of which escape from the bottle.  Flames go out, molecules cool down, move closer together making room for more air molecules, and a partial vacuum is created.  Air molecules from outside the bottle want to come in.  Push egg into bottle  and equilibrium is restored!

Egg in the Bottle Trick

3. Make glow in the dark, neon-colored slime.  The slime was tons of fun to make.  I used the instructions found here, and added some neon food coloring (which matched the cupcakes!) and some glow in the dark paint.  We pre-made the Borax solution and had it sitting in little plastic cups ready for the kids.  Popsicle sticks for stirring.  And some of those plastic Ziploc containers to take it home with them.

J shaking up the borax solution

J's slime test batch. No pictures of the actual slime-making at the party as I was too busy at the time helping the kids.

4. Time for cupcakes!

5. Now outside for the big finale – the Mentos/Diet Coke geyser.  The kids loved it.  I think we ended up doing it three times (the amount of Diet Coke bottles that we had).  I bought the Steve Spangler geyser tubes that allow 8 Mentos to all get dropped in at once, which allows for a taller geyser.  (At the same time, I also ordered some test tubes that I filled with mini M&Ms and Skittles as part of the goodie bags.)

Geyser!

And here’s a little movie of the experiment.  Tons of fun!  Notice the excessive amounts of screeching.  Definitely a sign of good-times.

Definitely one of the most fun birthday parties that I’ve put on for the boys.  Everyone had a great time!

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3 Responses

  1. I remember doing the egg into the bottle experiment when I was a kid!

    Sounds like an awesome party.

    Have you seen this book:

    http://www.fiftydangerousthings.com/

    It’s a must have.

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