Tonawanda News


April 1, 2013

PINSPIRED: Soap cloud is kitchen science, craft and good, clean fun combined

Tonawanda News — One of my favorite things about Pinterest — besides craft projects I probably don’t have time for and food I probably shouldn’t be eating — is the multitude of fun science-related activities to do with kids.

Or heck with the kids. I love that sort of thing. I’ll admit it — sometimes the kids are just the justification. I was the kind of child who desperately wanted a chemistry set (my parents didn’t fall for that) and in the absence of one, concocted strange potions out of toothpaste, powder and other things from the bathroom cabinets. (I once managed a credible imitation of Nickelodeon’s famous slime. I think I’m still grounded for that one.)

Pinterest is full of this kind of thing — crafty, science-y things to keep kids (and adults) occupied, from glow-in-the dark paints to homemade spray chalk to do-it-yourself bubble mix. Does it all work? I doubt it, but it sure looks like fun to try.

As this column approached, I spent some time browsing my “kid stuff” board, trying to pick out a nice, simple one to start with. So much of this sort of thing is best done outside, and with our so-called “spring” weather being what it was, that narrowed things down considerably.

It didn’t take long to settle on one, though: Soap clouds.

It’s the simplest of experiments: Put a bar (or a piece) of Ivory (it absolutely must be Ivory) soap on a piece of waxed or parchment paper in the microwave, set the timer for one to two minutes and cook.

I’m not a scientist, but as I understand it, the air (and water) that’s whipped into Ivory acts sort of like the air (and water) that’s trapped in a popcorn kernel: When heated in the microwave, it vaporizes and expands.

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