Valentines Day Candy Science Experiments

It’s Valentines week – love is in the air and there is candy flowing everywhere. What are you going to do with all of the candy your child brings home on Thursday afternoon? Don’t eat it…experiment with it.


Here are a few experiments shown in the video –

The Ups and Downs of a Relationship – Candy Heart Soda Dance

  • Fill a clear glass with 7-Up, Sprite or other carbonated drink.
  • Drop a handful of candy conversation hearts into the soda.
  • Watch the hearts dance up and down in the carbonation.

The carbon dioxide picks them up and throws them to the top of the glass. When they reach the top, the bubbles burst and the candy works its way down again.


Skittles and M&M’s Letter Float

  • Fill a clear glass or bowl half way with water.
  • Drop a few M&M’s or Skittles into the water.
  • Wait about 10-20 minutes to let the candy soak.

How Does This Work?

The “M” and “S” letters on M&M’s and Skittles are printed in edible white ink. The ink won’t dissolve in water. When the candy shell dissolves, the letters peel off and float to the top.

(This experiment was originally done on

Pop Rocks Expander

  • Pour an entire packet of Pop Rocks into a balloon.
  • Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the opening of a bottle of soda. Carefully to avoid the Pop Rocks from spilling into the soda.
  • When it’s secure, dump the balloon over and empty the Pop Rocks into the soda.
The secret behind the famous “popping” of Pop Rocks candy is pressurized carbon dioxide gas. Each of the tiny little candy pebbles contains a small amount of the gas. These tiny carbon dioxide bubbles make the popping sound you hear when they burst free from their candy shells.

Gobstoppers or Skittles Color Mix

  • Fill a petri dish with enough water to cover the bottom.
  • Drop a Gobstopper of different color along each side so that they are across from each other and evenly spaced.
  • Wait and observe.

Science-Based Inquiry Tests

Try this experiment with other dyed candies, like M&M’s Skittles, Lifesavers. Do they all work the same?

Try it with different liquids, like milk, vinegar or soda. Do the colors spread the same?

Now try putting two Gobstoppers in a petri dish, then three. What happens?

Finally, test different temperatures in the water. What happens to the dissolve rate in cold water or hot?

How Does It Work?
The surprise here is that the Gobstopper colors don’t actually mix together in the dish. Instead, they run into each other and stop. As the candies dissolve, the concentric layers of color disperse into the surrounding water but adjoining colors do not readily mix to form new colors. This is because a thin layer of food-grade wax surrounds each color layer and inhibits mixing. Further, the colored water forms clearly defined shapes in the dish and can change color over time. This is because each Gobstopper is comprised of different layers of colors (food dyes). They’re pretty tasty and, in this case, pretty and tasty!

Gobstoppers® is a registered trademark of NESTLÉ® USA.

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Comments (9)

  • Top 30 Blogs for Teachers 2012 Reply

    […] 18. Steve Spangler’s Blog: Emmy-award-winning “teacher’s teacher” Steve Spangler may be best known as the man who taught us how to make a bottle of soda explode by using Mentos as the secret ingredient. While his crazy experiments are exciting to watch and replicate in the classroom, he also offers great science information in his blog which is sure to engage science enthusiasts of all ages. Highlight: Valentines Day Candy Science Experiments […]

    February 27, 2013 at 7:10 am
  • Melissa Alani Reply

    My daughters had a blast performing the Rock Pop Expander! I used the experiment to expand on the 5 senses for my Kindergartner and preschooler.
    Thank you for blogging!

    March 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm
  • Halloween candy science! | Miracles under your nose Reply

    […] you put M&M’s or Skittles in warm water, after a few minutes the letters float right off. The color’s gone, too, and you’re left with all-white […]

    October 31, 2013 at 8:20 am
  • 24 Kids’ Science Experiments That Adults Can Enjoy, Too | Reply

    […] […]

    February 6, 2014 at 7:41 am
  • Candy Heart Experiments for Valentine's Day - Fun-A-Day! Reply

    […] Valentine’s Day Candy Science Experiments from Steve Spangler’s Blog […]

    February 10, 2014 at 11:53 pm
  • Gwen Reply

    Thanks so much for this post. We can’t wait to try them all.

    August 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm
  • For the Love of Science Reply

    […] Steve Spangler Science provides four different experiments with popular candy given during Valentine’s day, from candy hearts to pop rocks to M&Ms. […]

    January 26, 2015 at 8:13 am
  • Valentine Science Activities | Science Reply

    […] Steve Spangler Science provides four different experiments with popular candy given during Valentine’s day, from candy hearts to pop rocks to M&Ms. […]

    January 30, 2015 at 7:20 am
  • A Motley Valentine’s Greeting for You | LobeStir Reply

    […] Here’s the deal: the edible ink they use to print on the candy is not water soluble. As the candy shell underneath dissolves, the letters separate and float in the water. More details–as well as a few other moderately amusing candy experiments–can be found on Steve Spangler’s blog. […]

    February 13, 2015 at 6:16 pm

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