Toys and Chemistry

A young boy playing with slime
Ottawa High School, Ottawa, IL

Take a look at the toy store shelves and discover the science hiding there! Pick a toy from the assortment below and start exploring. There are giant bubbles, glammed-up slime, squidy divers, and more.

Youtube ID: y_PnMNJMXm4

  • Celebrating Chemistry—The Joy of Toys
    Discover the joy of toys—make your own super shrinking toys and bouncing balls, and launch an air rocket.
  • Terrific Science—The Joy of Toys
    You know that stuff sitting on the shelf in the toy aisle? It’s packed with science! Explore the chemistry of a whole list of toys from the store.
  • Chemistry in the Toy Store
    This resource is so packed with toys it takes three PDFs to share it all. Take a look at bubbles, balloons, silly putty, slime, and so much more.
  • Disappearing Ink
    Looking for another interesting chemistry toy? Think ink! Learn about pH and acid–base indicators with this mysterious solution.


Youtube ID: sNOXFiJ4IDU

  • What's That Stuff?—Plasma Globes
    This toy that showcases beautiful streamers of light came from someone forgetting to turn off a valve in the lab. Check it out!
  • The Amazing Drinking Bird
    You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from this toy as it continues to dip and sip. But how does it work? Learn more here.
  • Silicone Super Ball
    Forget heading to the dollar store to buy super balls—make your own instead!
  • How Super Balls Work
    Come into Norman Stingley’s lab and find out how he came up with this super toy when he wasn’t busy with his day job.

boy playing with slime
Tanque Verde High School, Tucson, AZ
  • The Science of Slime
    It’s a cool concoction that helps you learn about polymers. Read about it, then make it.
  • Glitter Slime
    What’s life without a little sparkle? Glam up your “gluep” with this twist on the usual recipe!
  • Toy Chemistry
    You just got slimed! Whip up a batch of this stretchy, oozy solid, then stretch it, bounce it, flatten it, twist it, jiggle it—take your pick.


Youtube ID: HISGtXb2gZc

  • Alka Seltzer Rockets
    Plop, plop, fizz, fizz… oh, what a rocket it is?? Try out these pint-sized rockets powered with Alka Seltzer tablets.
  • Alka Seltzer Rocket Race
    3, 2, 1, lift-off! Change up what goes into the rocket and see who wins the race.

Youtube ID: vD3uCRKPc0o

Shrinky Dinks
  • Shrinky Dink Chemistry
    Don’t buy expensive materials at the toy store. Head to your recycling bin instead for this fun experiment.
  • Shrinky Dinks Test Lab
    Already know the science behind making your own shrinky dinks? This site takes your creations to the next level—get artistic!  
  • Shrinky Dink Devices
    They’re not just a toy, they’re a tool for scientists! See what they can make!

Youtube ID: kNQToOEFNmY

(all sites accessed April 2014)