What can I do with leftover Halloween candy?

There are lots of experiments you can do with candy to help you learn science. Here are a few of my favorites.

Make a Skittles Rainbow
Skittles, water, white plate

  1. Lay the plate in a place where it won’t be disturbed.
  2. Make a pattern with your Skittles on the plate. You can experiment with placing different colors next to each other.
  3. Once you have your patterns placed, gently pour water in the middle of the plate until it reaches all the candies and barely covers them. If the Skittles move, just push them back into place quickly.
  4. Wait and see what happens!

Skittles are coated in food coloring and sugar. When you pour water over the Skittles, the color and sugar dissolve into the water and then diffuse through the water, making it the color of the Skittle.

Each color of Skittle has a slightly different chemical make up which, when dissolved, creates a water solution that has slightly different properties such as density, salinity, and oxygenation. This creates a barrier that prevents the water from mixing.

Would other candies do the same thing?

Make the M&Ms “m” Float
Materials: M&Ms, shallow bowl, water

  1. Place a few M&Ms in the bottom of the bowl, spreading them out as much as you can. Make sure the “m” is facing up.
  2. Slowly pour room temperature water into the bowl to completely cover the candies.
  3. Watch the candies for about 20 minutes. The color will begin to dissolve and sink to the bottom. A translucent shell and the white “m” will float to the surface.

Parts of the M&M candy aren’t soluble in water and some are water-soluble. After a short time of soaking in the water, you begin to see the colored dyes from the M&Ms dissolve and mix together in the bowl. This lets you know that the dyes are, in fact, water soluble. However, the translucent shell and white “m” are not water soluble. That’s why, after 10-20 minutes, you will see this hardshell and “m” float in the water without breaking apart

.Nerds Balloon Inflater
Materials: Nerds candies, soda pop in a bottle, balloons, funnel

  1. Attach a balloon to the mouth of a funnel and pour the candy into the balloon.
  2. Attach the balloon to the soda bottle, being very careful to not let any of the candy spill into the soda.
  3. Once the balloon is securely on the soda bottle, shake the Nerds in the balloon into the soda.
  4. Watch what happens!

When the Nerds hit the fizzy (carbonated) liquid, the candies cause carbon dioxide to rapidly bubble from the soda. This is because up-close the Nerds have a lot of rough surface area which helps bubbles form. Scientists call these tiny indentations nucleation sites. The gas bubbles escape from the soda and into the balloon. This makes the balloon expand! Viola!

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