Bennett loves and adores his older brother and it was no surprise that he wanted his 8th birthday party to be just like Hunter’s. But Bennett has different interests than Hunter and I knew we could find a theme that would better suit his interests – so we created a science experiment party. The key to impressing 8 year old boys – is dry ice. I might need to buy it more often just because it kept them entertained for a good while!
Here’s what we did to entertain the kids:
HOMEMADE DRY ICE, ICE CREAM
We started by making dry ice, ice cream. I didn’t test this before hand and we were taking a gamble by doing it with the boys but it was a hit. I used this recipe from www.addapinch.com. I had to make the base before hand but then it was just sitting in the fridge ready to go. We used a mallet to break up the dry ice until it was a find powder. We slowly added it to the ice cream mixture and the boys took turns stirring. The dry ice makes the mixture bubble and starts to thicken. Keep stirring. Slowly add more dry ice and let it bubble out. Make sure it gets stirred really well so there’s no chunks left. We put the ice cream in the freezer until we were ready to eat it.
HOMEMADE DRY ICE ROOT BEER
With dry ice, ice cream, naturally, we needed to make root beer. Once again, the kids loved helping. We found McCormick root beer extract at the grocery store. Here’s the ratio we used for one gallon.
- 4 quarts (16 cups) cold water
- 2 1/2 cups (1 1/4 pounds) sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons McCormick Root Beer Extract
- 1 pound broken dry ice
Next we took the kids outside and made a rocket using a liter of diet coke and 7 mentos. I watched a lot of you tube videos and read all sorts of science articles and evidently, this combination is ideal. Not Sprite. Not Coke. Diet Coke and 7 mentos. Hunter was the assistant lucky enough to put the mentos into the soda. He used a piece of paper and rolled it up with the mentos inside. He used that to get the mentos into the soda. I also found a cool contraption on Amazon that is supposed to do this even better, it just wasn’t going to get to me in time for the party. I’m still tempted to buy it.
The kids loved this. They loved it so much we had to do it more than once. And the kids’ parents are going to love me because I sent each kid home with soda and mentos so they could do the experiment on their own. (funny enough I saw a neighbor boy with his soda and mentos outside this afternoon with his siblings making their rocket!)
DRY ICE EXPERIMENTS
If you do a google search online you can find all sorts of kid-friendly experiments with dry ice. We did the crystal ball over and over again – the kids never grew old of it. Take a bowl of dry ice and water, and with a cotton strip soaked in soap/water mixture run it over the top of the bowl and it will create a bubble that fills with gas. It will eventually pop on it’s own and release the gas, or the kids had fun popping it.
We filled a cylinder with water and dry ice and added dish soap. Bubbles start to grow out of the cylinder and the gas is released.
We made little dry ice rockets with medicine syringes. We filled the syringes by removing the push stick, and then I held my thumb on the small opening to make sure water didn’t leak out. I put small crumbles of dry ice in the syringe and put the push stick back in. Slowly the gas would build and then it would shoot the push stick into the air. The boys would scramble to try and catch it.
On top of it all they just really liked to watch dry ice come out of the bowl! It’s fascinating for every age category.
At the end of the party we served the home made root beer and ice cream and I was rather impressed with the results. The ice cream was really creamy – it would be a great recipe in an ice cream maker!
Hunter said we skeptical that we would actually do any experiments that were fun – he was impressed with the whole thing. Bennett was beyond thrilled with the results which made everything worth it! It was just the right fit for him.