3 Fun Dry Ice Experiments For Your Young Scientists

There’s no two ways about it; dry ice is just plain cool. When it’s not being used for cold packaging or other purposes, dry ice can be incredibly fun to watch and play with, especially for young kids. Dry ice is rare in that it’s one of the few substances that changes directly from a solid to a gas, skipping the liquid state altogether.

This strange quality makes it perfect for some simple home science projects. Next time you find yourself with some dry ice, get the family together for a few fun, bizarre experiments that are perfect for scientists of any age.

  • Fun with fire: Make sure a parent or responsible adult sets up this neat trick. Place a candle in a shallow dish, and fill the dish with small dry ice chips. Give the dry ice a chance to evaporate. Have your kids watch as you try to light the candle with a match. The match will magically blow out every time you get close to the dish. They’re sure to be shocked!
  • Haunted quarter: This one is perfect for the little ones who love to listen to new sounds. Set dry ice in a dish so that there’s a flat side facing up. From there, have your child gently drop a quarter onto the surface. The metal will react to the intense cold and create a “shrieking” sound.
  • Balloon blow-up: Use this one to show your kids how dry ice changes from solid to a gas. Carefully place a small chip of dry ice in an uninflated balloon, and tie it off. The dry ice will evaporate gradually into gas form, causing the balloon to inflate. Be careful though, as using too big of a piece of dry ice will cause the balloon to over-inflate and pop.

With all of these experiments, make sure you use gloves and protection when handling the dry ice. Dry ice is extremely cold at -109 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be dangerous if touched directly. Use standard safety precautions, though, and a simple block of dry ice can turn into a fun family experiment and science project for everyone.

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