lemonade learning Crafty Science Concoctions 
for Squirts

Custom Search



Lemonade Blog

Preschool Activites Index

Science Index

Edible Science

Advanced Experiments

Weird Science

Plant Science

Science Fair Guide

Math Resources

Kid-Friendly Food

Craft Index

Crystal Growing

Themed Activities

Gifts to Make

Free Printables

Pastes and Glues:

Paper Mache Paste

Doughs and Putties:

Magic Mud
Paper Mulch Dough
The Best Homemade Playdough Ever
Regular & Gluten-Free Versions

Homemade Silly Putty (aka "Flubber")
Baker's Clay (Simple Salt Dough)
Cinnamon Applesauce Dough


Easy Finger Paint #1
Easy Finger Paint #2
Edible Finger Paint
10-Second Water Paint
Painting with Crystals
Crystal Window Paint

Snow Crafts:

Indoor Snow Sculpting #1
Indoor Snow Sculpting #2 (Soap Dough)
Snow Painting

Recycled Crafts:

Recycled Crayon Disks

Invisible Crafts:

Invisible Ink 1
Invisible Ink 2
Magic Pictures

Geological Crafts:

Grow Your Own Crystals
Homemade Fossils

Baking Soda and Vinegar Crafts:

Balloon Inflator
Falling Fireless Fireworks
Preschool Activities

Nature Activities

Adult-Assisted Chemistry Experiments

Reappearing Ink Tricks

Dry Ice Experiments

Cabbage Water Indicator

Easy Tie-Dye

Natural Dye Recipes

Batik Crinkle Technique

Edible Science Experiments

Gifts Kids Can Make
Parachute Games
Plant Experiments
More Science Resources
Science Fair Project Creation Guide
More Educational Resources
Lemonade Craft Index
Springtime Crafts
Christmas Craft and Activity Index
Halloween Craft and Activity Index
Wizard Themed Crafts Games and Activities
The Science of Soap
Lemonade Rocketry Page
How to Plan a Scavenger Hunt
Free Printables




Crafty Science Concoctions

Remember: Be sure to ask an adult before starting any cooking project!
Some projects listed here may require the use of knives, a stovetop, oven and/or microwave.

Magic Mud

3 parts cornstarch
1 part cold water
Optional: several drops of food colouring

Stir ingredients together so that they form a liquid, then scoop up a handful and squeeze it. Open your hand and watch it melt away again. Is it a solid or a liquid? What do you think will happen if you try and slap the surface with out hand? What really happens?
This mixture is a colloid. That is because the water doesn't actually dissolve the cornstarch. The cornstarch particles are fine and remain in suspension within the water. The water is the continuous phase and the cornstarch particles form a dispersed phase. Other colloids you might know include milk, gelatin, agar, aerosol spray, smoke and fog.

Paper Mache Paste

After 32 flour and water paper mache projects went mouldy during my first year of teaching, I did my own experimenting and came up with the following fail-proof recipe. We have projects that are 6 years old that have been stored in our basement, and still look as good as they did the day they were made.

paper mache balloon      paper mache dragon egg

Cornstarch (about 1-2 Tablespoons for each cup of water)
Cold water
Optional: a dash of salt

Stir together cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat while continuously stirring until the mixture starts to thicken and become transluscent. Let cool to room temperature. You can experiment with the amounts of water and cornstarch you use for this depending on the consistency you want to end up with.

Use this for any paper mache project. We usually use it by coating torn newspaper strips and applying them to a cardboard or balloon base. Keep the strips narrow, and be sure that the paper has fully absorbed the paste to avoid lumps. Finer details can be made with tissue or paper towelling.
Try coating a balloon with a couple of layers to make a round pinata (cut a hole out of one end, fill then add a paper mache strip to seal it up).

You can make dragon eggs from smaller balloons in the same way.
Coat a balloon and let dry, then cut in two length wise to make a pair of masks.

The dried paper mache can be painted with tempera or acrylic paint. You can seal it with acrylic varnish or shellac.

To make a creature or other more complex structure, form a base using any or all of the following: scrunched up newspaper (to make it smooth, put it into a paper or plastic bag before adding paper mache over top), toilet, paper towel or wrapping paper tubes, balloons of various shapes and sizes, corrugated cardboard, paperboard (cereal boxes etc.), and applesauce, yogurt or other plastic containers. Use strips of newspaper dipped in paper mache paste to tape the pieces together and let dry, then cover the whole thing with 2-3 layers of newspaper paper mache. For finer details, use tissue or paper towelling soaked in the paste and form into shape with your hands.

Paper Mulch Dough

This is a great way to reuse old flyers, construction paper bits, etc.
Tear up bits of paper into small pieces. make it one colour or mix it up as desired. Add about 1 cup of paper to about 1 1/2 cups of warm water. It is best to let this sit for a few hours, or even overnight.

Pour the mixture into a blender and pulse until it is a uniform consistency. Add extra paper or water as desired. You can also add a squirt of white glue and / or paper mache paste to thicken it and create a stickier consistency if desired.

To make your own paper, add more water and follow the directions at this link.
Use the thick dough to form into shapes or press into cookie cutters and let dry. It can also be rolled out flat to make a thicker paper.
To make it stronger when dry add a small amount of glue or paper mache paste to the mixture and / or use some office-quality paper in your mixture and pulse it for a slightly shorter time (so you still see some individual specks of paper in the mixture).
Paint and/or varnish the dried pieces with acrylic to seal them and help them last longer.

Easy Finger Paint #1

Prepare paper mache paste as above and add liquid or powdered tempera paint to the desired intensity. Use freezer paper as an alternative to more expensive finger painting paper.

Easy Finger Paint #2

Use either shaving cream or whipping cream with a few drops of food colouring mixed in well.

Edible Finger Paint

Edible finger paint is perfect for little ones who haven't yet learned to keep their fingers out of their mouths!
Use one of the following:

  • pudding
  • gelatine or agar made with 1.5- 2 times the recommended water
  • applesauce or pureed fruit
  • mashed potatoes (add a little extra milk or water)
  • mashed bananas
  • whipped cream

Indoor Snow Sculpting #1

one part shaving cream
one part white school glue

Combine well and sculpt as desired. This makes good 3-D paintings, and dries to an almost plastic-like finish. Over months it will begin to crumble. It makes a very satisfying tactile experience for the younger set.

Indoor Snow Sculpting #2

grated ivory or other pure white bar soap

Mould your own creations out of the flakes, only adding water as absolutely necessary to keep things sticking together. Try forming snowmen or making an old-fashioned soap-on-a-rope for an older relative. You can also mould it around small plastic toys for bathtime excavating.

Snow Painting

liquid food colouring
plastic spray bottle or squeeze bottle, one for each colour used

Fill your bottles 2/3 full with water, then add a few drops of food colouring. The more food colouring, the more intense the colours will appear.

Ideas for use:
- build a snow wall (use a recycling box to make large bricks) then paint a mural on it
- use your lawn as a snowy canvass
- add details to a snowperson
- colour in snow angels

The Best Homemade Playdough Ever

2 cups of flour
1 package unsweetened drink mix (Kool-aid or similar)
3/4 cup of salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups of boiling water

Combine flour and drink mix and stir well. Dissolve salt in the boiling water and stir into the flour mixture, then add oil and continue to stir lightly with a spoon. Let cool enough to handle, then knead for three to five minutes and store in a plastic air-tight container. Lasts for up to five weeks.

Having trouble finding the drink mix? Substitute a dab of paste food colouring and a drop or two of scented essential oil.

Gluten-Free Version:
For a gluten-free playdough, substitute drink mix with gluten-free drink mix or gluten-free food colouring, and use Bob's Red Milll all-purpose gluten-free flour (or other equivalent mix) instead of the wheat flour. It may seem a little stickier than wheat flour dough, but will thicken up over time.

For playdough that conducts and resists electricity, see the Squishy Circuits section of the Lemonade Electricity Page.

Homemade Silly Putty AKA "Flubber" or "Slime"
Polymers are compounds that form long molecular chains. Here is a simple polymer you can make at home.

homemade polymer, non-Newtonian solid, slime       silly putty, slime, flubber, gak, ooze, polymer       flubber, slime, polymer, silly putty, flubber

1 tsp. borax
1 cup white or transparent school glue (Elmer's is reliable)
1 1/4 cups water
optional: food colouring

In one container, combine half the water (it doesn't have to be exactly half, as long as it dissolves the borax), food colouring and borax until the borax is dissolved. In another container, combine the rest of the water and the glue. Slowly stir the glue mixture into the borax mixture. As it starts to form a ball, you can work it with your hands. What do you notice about the temperature of the slime? If you use a plastic freezer bag for the water mixture, you can keep your hands free of the putty (but that wouldn't be nearly so much fun, would it?!).
Once it has set, try stretching it slowly. Now take a piece and pull it apart quickly. What happens? Does your flubber bounce? Can you blow bubbles into it? (Don't put it into your mouth though!)

Try making this with half the borax. How does this change things?
You can also make this with gel glue for a more translucent look.
To make flourescent putty that glows under black light, use clear PVA and soak an ink cartridge from a highlighter marker in the water ahead of time.
The drop in temperature that occurs when the borax and glue combine is called an endothermic reaction. Other experiments in which the chemical reaction creates more heat are referred to as exothermic reactions.


1/2 cup of white school glue (PVA glue)
1/4-1/2 cup liquid laundry starch (it will be near the laundry detergents at larger grocery or department stores)
optional: a drop of food colouring or tempera paint

Slowly stir the starch into the glue one tablespoon at a time. Let sit five minutes, then knead it with your hands until it sticks together. This can be used to lift comic prints, blow blubbles, etc.

Baker's Clay (Simple Salt Dough)

salt dough ornaments

2 cups flour
3/4 cups salt
~1 cup of water
optional: food colouring or acyrlic paints

Combine salt and water (and food colouring if desired) until salt is dissolved, then add to the flour slowly, stirring in and then kneading until well combined and at desired consistency. Form into shapes, being careful to seal overlapping pieces well with water. If you want to hang them, use a skewer or plastic straw to make a hole in the top. Bake at 275 F for 45-60 minutes. Cooled pieces can be painted with acrylic paints. We use this to make Christmas tree ornaments each year.

Method 2: Tint and Bake

salt dough ornaments

Blend dough ingredients until smooth (hand kneading works best). Divide the dough into separate bowls for tinting. Use food colouring (either liquid or paste) to tint the dough. You will need quite a bit of colouring. I suggest wearing plastic or latex gloves to hand knead the colour into the dough. Create your pieces, and use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging, or insert a bent paperclip into the top to make a hanger. Bake as above. Coat with acrylic varnish if desired.

Cinnamon Applesauce Dough

1 cup applesauce
1 cup powdered cinnamon (or variation)
Variation: Use 1/2-3/4 cup cinnamon and add flour and if you wish, ground nutmeg, cloves or allspice to make up the difference so that your powder portion is equal to your applesauce portion

Mix dry ingredients well; add applesauce and stir well then knead, adding more dry ingredients if necessary. Form into desired shapes and air dry overnight. They will shrink a fair bit. We make a flat sheet out of any leftover dough and break it into pieces for potpourri when it is dry.

Recycled Crayon Disks

This is a great way to put all those little broken crayon bits to good use.

broken crayon bits, peeled
muffin tin with 3 paper liners for each section

Sort your crayons as desired: same colour and shade, same colour family, warm / cool tones, dark colours / light colours or keep unsorted. Arrange the crayons in the triple-lined muffin tray and melt in the oven by heating at 250 degrees farenheit. Keep an eye on the crayons and once they have started to melt, turn off the heat and let sit for another 5 minutes or so, then remove from the oven and let cool completely. Peel back the paper liners and enjoy.
These are especially good crayons for taking rubbings. Lay a thin piece of paper over a leaf, coin, or other textured item and lightly rub the crayon over it to reveal the textured image on the paper.

10-Second Water Paint

liquid food colouring

Yep folks, it's as easy as that. Just wash out a plastic or styrofoam egg tray, add a couple of drops of food colouring and a few more drops of water and you are on your way. The more diluted the colour, the more pastel the shades will become. For variation, try using dish soap or corn syrup instead of the water.

For a quick disappearing ink trick, have an adult add a drop at a time of chlorine bleach to your water paint and watch the colour fade then disappear. Click here for a more advanced disappearing and reappearing ink trick.

Invisible Ink 1

lemon juice

Use a toothpick, fine paintbrush or cotton sway to write your message in lemon juice. It will be invisible once dry. To reveal the message, apply heat to the paper using a hair dryer, iron or flame (with adult supervision!).

Invisible Ink 2

Ink Ingredients:
1 tablespoons citric acid (found with canning supplies)
1/8 cup water

Revealing Solution:
an adult equipped with 7-8 drops liquid iodine
(it's a good idea to wear gloves for this as iodine is poisonous in large quantities, and also stains)
1/4 cup water

Dissolve the citric acid in the water and write your messge using a fine paintbrush or cotton swab. Let dry. To reveal, have an adult mix the iodine and water, then brush the iodine solution over the message. The message will not change colour, but the paper will.

Magic Pictures

You will need:
1/3 cups table salt
1/2 cup water
a fine paintbrush or cotton swab
white paper
a pencil or piece of coloured chalk

Have an adult heat the water in a pot until it begins to boil. Add the salt slowly, stirring it in until it no longer dissolves. Remove it from the heat. Paint this onto your white paper while it is still warm, creating you mystery picture. Let dry. To reveal the picture, take a pencil and lightly rub it over the picture. The graphite (or chalk) will stick more to the rough surface where you painted than to the plain paper and your mystery picture will be revealed.

Painting with Salt Crystals

painting with crystals

1/4 cup warm water
table salt
black or dark blue construction paper

In a heatproof container, add the water and 3 Tablespoons salt and stir until dissolved. Add salt, a little at a time and stir until the salt will no longer dissolve. Microwave for ~20 seconds on high, then stir again. Using a paintbrush or cotton swab, paint a pattern on your paper. We like to paint snowflakes, but you can be creative with designs, your name, picktures of caves, etc. Let dry overnight. If you wish, you can paint over your design again. The salt water is a supersaturated solution and as the water evaporates, the salt recrystalizes, creating interesting patterns. Try looking at the crystals through a magnifying glass or under a microscope.

You can do the same thing using epsom salts instead of table salt. The epsom salt crystals turned out finer and whiter for us than the table salt crystals.

Crystal Window Paint

This paint makes a frosty pattern on windows--perfect for winter decorating. The dish soap allows for easy wipe-off cleaning.

1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup epsom salts (available at your local pharmacy)
1 Tablespoon dish soap or detergent
clean window, mirror or other glass surface on which to paint

In a heatproof container, add the water and epsom salts and stir until mostly dissolved. Microwave for ~20-30 seconds on high, then stir again, repeating the heating in short bursts until all of the crystals have dissolved. Stir in the dish soap. Using a paintbrush or cotton swab, paint a pattern on your window. Note how the crystal patterns and structures change as the liquid cools.

Homemade Fossils

plaster of paris
washed out plastic tub (shallow creamed cheese or yogurt containers work well)
cold water
plastic or wooden spoon or stir stick
shells, leaves, bones, etc.
plasticene or similar non-drying modelling clay
cooking oil
optional: sand, about 1/4 as much as the plaster of paris powder used

Press the modelling clay into the bottom of the container and smooth it out. Gently press the items to be fossilized into the clay. Brush the surface of the modelling clay with cooking oil.
Measure out 3-4 tablespoons of plaster of paris for each small container you are using. Stir in the sand if you are using it. Slowly add cold water, stirring continuously until you reach the consistency that is thick but pourable. Pour the mixture into the container until it is at least 1 cm (1/2") thick at its thinnest point. Let harden overnight, then remove from the container. You can repeat with the same modelling clay if desired.

Falling Fireless Fireworks
(An experiment with density)

liquid food colouring
one tablespoon vegetable oil
wide-mouthed transparent bowl or jar
small cup for mixing

In the small cup, mix the oil and 2-4 drops of various colours of food colouring. Combine until you get lots of tiny droplets of colour in the oil. Fill the larger container with water, then pour the oil mixture on top and watch through the side of the container.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Projects

When baking soda and vinegar meet, they react to form carbon dioxide. This gas takes up more space than the solid and liquid took up before they met, and the following activities take advantage of this phenomenon.


125 ml (1/2 cup) white vinegar (acetic acid)
3-4 tablespoons baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
volcano base (we use plasticene to make this)
Optional: several drops of food colouring
Optional: several drops of dish soap

Make your volcano form from the plasticene. Be sure that the plasticene forms a seal around the bottom (we use a dedicated plastic placemat for this purpose). Set it into a large pan, or do this outdoors so that the "lava" will not make a mess all over your house.
Pour the baking soda into the bottom of the volcano. For a delayed effect, spread a sheet of paper towellingover the baking soda.
If you are using food colouring and/or dish soap, add it to the vinegar and stir. Now pour in the vinegar mixture and watch the lava flow!

You can also make a volcano with Alka-Seltzer tablets and water (put 2-4 tablets inside, then add water), or dry ice (pour in a scoop of dry ice pellets, then add dish detergent and warm water). Add food colouring if desired.


1 tsp. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1-2 tsp. white vinegar (acetic acid)
clear or white film cannister (with the "cork style" attachment where the lid fits inside the cannister)
a small tissue or 1/4 sheet of paper towelling
a circle of cardstock or paperboard (like from a cereal box) formed into a cone that will fit onto your film cannister
an adult wielding a glue gun, or a small strip of duct tape

Be sure to do this outdoors, and always direct this away from all living things. Read all the instructions through first before starting this project.

Glue or tape the cone to the bottom of the cannister. Pour the baking soda onto the centre of the tissue or paper towel then wrap it up tightly and tuck it into the cannister. With the lid ready, pour in the vinegar then immediately place the lid on top and invert the cannister onto the lid. Step away and wait for your rocket to fly. Try different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to determine the best mixture.

To extend the length of your rocket, use heavy cardstock or bristol board to form a tube. Adjust the size so that the film cannister fits snugly inside and glue the edges to hold it in that shape. When the glue is dry, slip the cannister into the bottom of the tube bottom-end first and glue into place. The top (open) end of the film cannister should be at the bottom. Add a small ball of clay or putty to the inside of the cone, then glue the cone to the top of the tube, and add fins as desired to the bottom near the film cannister. To launch, add your baking soda and vinegar as described above.
Try adjusting the weight in the cone and the shape/size/ number of fins to see whch design tracks straightest and flies highest.

You can also do this with an Alka Seltzer tablet wrapped in tissue and water, or see here for instructions with dry ice (to be done only with a responsible adult!).

For more on model rocketry, see the Rocketry 101 page here.

Balloon Inflator

To inflate a balloon chemically, try the following.

You will need:
a balloon
a plastic or glass bottle with a narrow mouth
white vinegar
baking soda
a funnel

Pour 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon using the funnel. Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into the bottle. Carefully stretch the opening of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle to create a seal. Try not to let the baking soda fall into the bottle until the seal is complete.
Now, keeping the bottle in place, lift the bottom of the balloon to tip the baking soda into the bottle. In a short time, you should see your balloon start to inflate. Experiment with the amounts and bottle and balloon sizes to see what works best for you.