If you missed it Lawson is in Mensa and they have all these great DIY lessons and I thought I would share this one for you to do with your little one.
It’s October! Which means spiced latte time, pumpkin patches, and generally spooky fun all around. Since kids love to learn and discover new things I thought it would be fun to do a unique Halloween-inspired craft that would introduce them to chemistry. They already know about Elements. Lawson isn’t as avid about the periodic table as he is with world atlases, but he has some symbols memorized and we’ve taught him some things here and there. This craft comes from Mensa for Kids and uses bases and acids to “magically” transform the color of paper!
Magic Color Changing Paper
The paper we used is Goldenrod. Like litmus paper, goldenrod paper is used to indicate basis and acids. Now you probably intuitively know the difference between the two. Sugar is a base. Lemon is an acid. But you can get really nerdy with these distinctions because of the way these base and acid molecules interact. It’s a chemical reaction that turns the goldenrod paper into an indicator of whether your household items are basic, acidic, or neutral.
Bases neutralize acids by giving them electrons They also take protons from acids. Acids on the other hand give protons and take electrons. When they cancel each other out, they are neutral, but bases can be acidic too! It’s all really complicated and confusing, but here’s what I know. a basic solution on goldenrod paper makes it turn red. aka This is an easy and fun craft with boundless applications for Halloween! It’s also an ideal experiment from Mensa for Kids.
Baking Soda Art
The twins used a solution of baking soda and water to draw, write and make “bloody” handprints. They had the most amazing time doing it and it’s such a clean art project. I love how the color doesn’t run at all and the baking soda solution was easy to wipe off. Hey, it even makes things cleaner! You can also use ammonia or any other basic solution to make this work. The difference is that baking soda creates a prominent result. If you want a disappearing effect, you can use ammonia. Dip a Q-tip in it and write a cryptic message for your friends! When the ammonia evaporates the goldenrod color returns. You can even write an invisible message in wax and then spray the paper with a base to reveal the secret note.
This fun Mensa for Kids craft becomes an interesting science experiment when you use the paper to test different items in the house to identify whether they are a base or an acid.