Toys and Chemistry

girl blowing bubbles
asife / Dollar Photo Club

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.  

Vimeo ID: 78261377

  • 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.
  • Fortune Telling Fish
    Watch the fish reveal if you’re jealous… in love… indifferent… or…? Then investigate the science behind the toy.

Youtube ID: bz1P323bHCo

  • Kinetic Sand
    Mold it. Cut it. Shape it. It doesn’t dry out! Prep a homemade version of this toy for sand building fun.
  • Properties of Magic Sand
    It’s wet! No, it’s dry! Learn about the science behind the “magic” of this sand.
  • 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.

Youtube ID: y_PnMNJMXm4

  • Disappearing Ink
    Looking for another interesting chemistry toy? Think ink! Learn about pH and acid–base indicators with this mysterious solution.
  • 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.

Youtube ID: sNOXFiJ4IDU

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.
  • Magnetic Slime
    Try this slime-making twist—make it magnetic! The secret ingredient: iron oxide powder.
  • 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.
  • Edible Slime
    Looking for a snack? How does slime sound? You can eat the results of this recipe, but the real question is, will you want to?
boy playing with slime
Ottawa High School, Ottawa, IL

Youtube ID: HISGtXb2gZc

  • Milli's Magnificent Bubble Solution
    Experiment to find out what combination will make your bubbles the most magnificent.
  • The Science of Soap Bubbles
    Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere! Try this collection of experiments to figure out why they’re spheres, bounce a bubble, and more.
  • Giant Bubble Experiment
    You won’t believe the size of the bubbles you can make. How many kids can you fit inside one?
  • Bubble Suspension
    Find an empty aquarium and see what happens when you give your freshly blown bubbles a rest on an invisible cushion.
  • Freezing Bubbles
    Take a look at these cool (literally) photos of frozen bubbles. Then, wait for your own arctic blast and try it yourself.

Youtube ID: 12UIOlzai5M

  • 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.
  • Pop Rocket Inquiry
    Hold a mini rocket design and launch competition with this inquiry lesson plan. You probably already have the fuel.

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 September 2015)