Growing Gummy Bears Kids Science Experiment
This is a quick and simple experiment that will teach you about the process of osmosis. We have used gummy bears but you can have a go with any type of gelatin-based candy to get the same results.
Here are the step by step instructions so you can have a go at this experiment at home with the kids this summer.
Quick and simple kitchen experiment to teach children about the process of Osmosis.
You can use any kind of gelatin based candy to get the same results.
- Boiling water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Paper and sticky tape for labels
- 4 gummy bears (or any gelatin-based candy)
- 4 small glass containers (small drinking glasses or jars)
- Ask an adult to help pour boiling water into one of the glass containers. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and stir well until dissolved, then repeat to add 2 tbsp in total.
- Repeat step 1 using salt instead of sugar. Label the two containers and put them both in the fridge for an hour to cool completely.
- Take the remaining two containers and fill one with cold water and the other with vinegar, then add labels to each of the containers so that you
can easily identify each one.
- Add a gummy bear to each container. It helps to use the same color for each one
to easily compare the results. Place the containers on a shelf. After a few hours you can check them. Are there any changes yet? Leave them for 24 hours to see what happens.
- The next day, check on your experiment. Use a spoon to remove them from the liquids and have a look to see what has happened. Compare your gummies to an unsoaked bear from the packet. In our experiment the water-soaked bear more than doubled in size overnight, the saltwater bear shrank, and the vinegar bear dissolved.
Safety note - do not eat the gummy bears
Don’t eat the gummy bears after you have finished. Harmful bacteria may have grown inside them during the experiment. Keep a few spare in the packet for eating while you wait
for the results.
SCIENCE MADE SIMPLE – Osmosis Explanation for Kids
Osmosis is the movement of water from an area of high concentration to one of low concentration through a semi permeable membrane (a type of barrier).
It tries to make the water concentrations the same on both sides.
Gummy bears are made of gelatin and a type of sugar called sucrose.
The gelatin stops the sweets from dissolving in water and helps them hold their structure.
The surface of the gelatin behaves like a semi-permeable membrane.
It acts like a net with small holes that allows smaller particles, like water, to pass through into the bear, but the holes are too small to let the sucrose out of the bear.
In the experiment, the gummy bear put in plain tap water has a lower concentration of water than the surrounding water.
The water molecules pass easily through the gelatin and the bear absorbs the water, growing bigger like a sponge.
With more water inside, it becomes softer and squishier.
When the gummy bear is put into a concentrated sugar or salt solution the differences between the two concentrations is much smaller and so the bear does not grow as much.
You may even see that the bear shrinks a little in the salt solution.
You probably noticed that your poor vinegar bear lost its shape altogether. This is because the gelatin started to be dissolved by the acids in the vinegar.
- The gummy bear swells most in plain water
- Semi-permeable membrane with small holes lets particles move in and out
- There is a big difference in concentration so more water particles pass through the membrane
- Particles move from an area of high water concentration to low
Kitchen Science Book – 30 Awesome STEM Experiments To Try At Home
This science experiment is taken from the new book Kitchen Science by Laura Minter and Tia Williams
This book has so many great ideas for kids age around 5-11 years old and will be perfect for keeping them entertained over the summer holidays.
All of the experiments come with easy to follow instructions, and can be pulled together with items we already have in our kitchens which is great when you don’t want to spend out for extra equipment or plan too much ahead.
Each experiment also comes with a really nice science explanation that’s easy to understand, and explains the main principals of the fun activities you’ve just done.
This means that as well as keeping the kids entertained and busy, they are also learning and getting familiar with some tricky concepts that will probably pop up in the classroom later – but now they don’t feel so intimidating because they have seen it in action in their own kitchen.
Overall, this book is a fantastic balance of fun and learning and we would definitely recommend checking it out.
More Science for Kids
Looking for more easy science activities for kids? Check out some of these ideas we have here on the blog
- Coffee Filter Process Art Science Activity : Exploring Absorption
- Egg Science Experiments
- Big Hero 6 Science Experiments : Fred’s Super Hero Invisible Ink
- 10 Awesome and Easy Science Experiments for Preschoolers
- Big Hero 6 Science Experiment : Baymax Rocket Fist
- Surprise Egg Sink or Float Experiment
- Measuring Vehicles Distances, STEM activity inspired by Blaze and the Monster Machines
- What Colors Make Green? Color Mixing Activity for Kids (with Printables)
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Thanks so much!
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.