What a fun science party!
I was recently asked to throw a party for a 7-year-old boy and his friends who’d driven their mother mad the previous year with their short attention spans and exuberant energy levels. I decided a Mad Scientist theme, where they could get hands-on with experiments and blow things up, would be perfect!
The internet is full of fabulous blogs on science project for kids, most of which use cheap household products. So I did my research and tested several experiments, discarding those that didn’t give the wow factor. I ordered in some aprons, purchased themed party printables from Etsy and collected several crates of supplies.
On party day, I set up an experiment table outside with a plastic tablecloth for spills, and laid out bowls and spoons ready for the first experiment. Upon arrival, each of the children donned an apron and some Einstein-inspired headgear, then selected a security badge with a silly name like ‘Doctor Blastoff’ or ‘Assistant Splat’. I find dressing up is a great way to get the kids excited, and to fill in time while all guests arrive.
View lots of awesome science themed party decoration ideas in The Complete Science Party Plan.
First up with the experiments was one guaranteed to suck them right in – making flubber! The ingredients are PVA (Elmers) glue, water, borax and food colouring. This activity was a HUGE hit – the kids loved squishing their gooey flubber and testing its bouncing properties. After throwing it around for a while, I packed each of the kids’ flubbers in a plastic bag with their name, to be added to their party bags later on.
You can find complete experiment instructions in this downloadable Science Party Experiment Kit.
After a quick hand-wash, it was time for our next activity. Each child was given a jar, which I half-filled with vinegar. We added food colouring, plus dishwashing liquid to half the jars.. They were curious to see the different reactions of the volcanoes with and without soap. Once again, this was a winner of an activity and the kids loved messing about with the resulting foam.
Party Games And Food
We then played ‘pin the bow tie on the scientist’, a game I’d made using a giant colouring poster of a sciencey-looking man, with cut-out glasses, bow ties and security badges as the pinning pieces. I learnt two things from this: the kids will cheat if the scarf doesn’t cover their eyes properly, and will run away once they’ve had their turn!
Fortunately, the promise of party food allowed me to quickly round up the absconders. I’ve found that a simple menu is best, because the kids will spend all of ten minutes eating it before they’re eager to leave the table. Our menu included ‘scientific sausage rolls’ and ‘squashed laboratory assistants’ (gingerbread men).
Two complete menu ideas are included in The Complete Science Party Plan.
The Mother Of All Experiments!
Finally, it was time for the most spectacular of experiments – the Coke and Mentos geyser. I highly recommend purchasing a purpose-made ‘Geyser Tube’, as it allows you to set the geyser off from a safe distance, and creates a spectacular fountain. The kids went crazy for it! Luckily I’d brought additional supplies so we could create a second geyser… whereupon the kids gleefully rushed under the fountain of Coke.
In total, these activities took around 1.5 hours, and with opening the presents and a bit of free play, filled in the standard 2 hour party time slot perfectly. As the kids left, they were presented with a themed party bag, decorated with some science party printables. I included science-themed party favours from a local online science store, along with jelly-filled test tubes from Happy Lab. But of course, the thing that all the kids wanted to ensure was in the bag was…flubber!!!