Looking for activities using sweets, so your children don’t get a sugar overload from all their Halloween treats? Here’s a fun STEAM lesson that combines science and art and shows you how you can make candy paint using Skittles®.
How to make candy paint
In this STEAM lesson you will explore how candy can turn into paint.
STEAM is the combination of the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math with that all important A of art.
STEAM lessons are so effective because they work across curricula subjects, making learning deeper, more relevant and more like the real world.
Today we’ll try a science and art STEAM lesson, looking at how we can make paint from sweets.
:: small glass jars or plastic pots
:: Skittles® sweets in a variety of colours
:: paint brushes
:: paper: thick paper, watercolour paper or card
:: magnifying glass (optional)
Look through your Skittles® candy and sort them into colour groups.
Place each colour group into a glass jar or plastic container. Glass or clear plastic is preferable so you can more easily watch the colour change.
Add water to each jar. Don’t stir!
Watch what happens to the sweets. Look closely, using a magnifying glass if you like, and you’ll see the colour begin to seep away from each sweet, changing the colour of the water around it. You’ve created paint!
Once the colour has spread throughout the water, try out your paint. Use brushes to paint on watercolour paper or card. Does your paint have a fragrance?
Think like a scientist
As you’re making your candy paint, you can talk about the science behind it. Great science always starts with questions, so encourage your children to wonder.
Maybe they have answers to their questions, maybe they want to alter their experiment to test out their ideas, maybe they want to do some research to get more answers.
All of this wondering and experimenting is developing your children’s minds to think like scientists.
Some ideas to wonder about and test out:
:: why does the candy turn the water a different colour?
:: do all the candy colours work as quickly?
:: how could you make the paint lighter or stronger in colour?
:: how could you make different colours?
:: can you make paint in something other than water?
:: can you make paint with warm water and cold water?
:: what happens to the smell of the water?
:: how else can you make paint?
The science behind the paint
How do candies make paint? What’s the science behind this Skittles® paint experiment?
What’s happening is that the food dye, that’s used to give each candy a colour, is quickly dissolving in the water. It absorbs into the water.
Over time diffusion causes the dye to spread through the water from the area of high dye concentration (by the candy) to the area of low dye concentration (the rest of the water) until the colour is evenly distributed in the jar.
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