Ever since the rainbow Skittles experiment, the kids have been itching to do it again. To celebrate the fall, we decided to conduct a similar experiment except with a pumpkin!
This Halloween pumpkin Skittles STEM experiment has the added bonus of having your kids identify the green and orange Skittles for some color recognition exercise. Plus, you can have them form a pumpkin with the Skittles to improve their fine motor skills.
I suggest getting a huge bag of Skittles, because your kids will want to do this magical experiment over and over again!
Pumpkin Skittles Science Experiment
- Skittles candy
- Warm water
1. Separate out the orange and green Skittles.
2. Arrange the orange Skittles on the plate so that they resemble a pumpkin. Add the green Skittles on top for the stem.
3. Heat up water until it’s warm (not hot!).
4. Carefully pour the water into the plate until it just covers the candy. At this point, do not move the plate, or else the colors will start to mix and you will lose the cool effect.
5. Watch the colors flow away from the Skittles!
Since we did the magic melting Skittles experiment before, my kids knew what to expect. That doesn’t stop them from getting super excited when the colors started to bleed out!
By the way, the partially melted Skittles are perfectly fine to eat, at least according to my son. To me, the Skittles didn’t look particularly appetizing after soaking in the water, but my son was happy to eat them anyway. Don’t worry, I only let him have a few!
Science Behind the Skittles Pumpkin Experiment
You might have noticed that the orange and green Skittles colors remained separated in water. Why didn’t the colors mix?
It turns out that each Skittles color has a slightly different chemical composition but similar sugar density. When there is no physical disturbance to the food coloring (no shaking or moving the plate), the different colors will stay separated.
Let’s break that up into two parts. First, due to water stratification, the different chemical properties of the differently colored Skittles create barriers to mixing between the colors. Second, chemicals move from higher concentrations to lower concentrations because they have a tendency to even things out. Since the Skittles have similar sugar content dissolved in water (hence the same sugar concentration in water), there is no incentive for the colored water to mix.
For more fall and Halloween STEM activities, check out: