Mary Porter Green is Founder, President and Chief Curiosity Officer for Curiosity Zone, the award-winning hands-on science center for kids in located in Ashburn, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.) Through fun, familiar projects and activities, Curiosity Zone inspires kids ages 2 to 11 to explore, discover and learn about the world around them. Through teaching science to more than 60,000 young kids over the last five years, Curiosity Zone has developed a proprietary, proven curriculum with more than 160 engaging science labs designed to inspire young kids in science. The labs cover all of the major sciences, including chemistry, physics, life science, earth science, weather, and astronomy, as well as concepts in engineering and math. Curiosity Zone’s weekly classes, summer camps, birthday parties and workshops offer a smarter enrichment experience for twenty-first century kids, and its toy store is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers interested in inspiring young kids in science.
Science Project Holiday Gifts- Scented Playdough
Mary Porter Green from Curiosity Zone demonstrates how to create scented playdough.
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Mary Porter Green: Hi! I am Mary Porter Green from Curiosity Zone. Today, we are doing science experiments that you can do at home in your kitchen with your kids, that demonstrate scientific principles and turn into great holiday gifts. For our next experiment, we are going to be doing peppermint playdough and this is the simplest thing in the world to make and kids love it, and it smells wonderful. What you are going to need to make this is flour, salt, a little bit of oil, any kind of canola oil or corn oil will work. Some water, you are going to need something to make your dough smell pepperminty, so either a peppermint extract from the grocery store or some kind of essential oil that you can get at the hobby store. And then we need some red food coloring or some green food coloring or whatever coloring you'd like to use to make it look like Christmassy holiday colors. So peppermint playdough is really just a dough and honestly your kids could eat it although they might want to because that might not taste that all great. But basically it's just cup-and-a-half of a flour and one cup of salt, table salt and we are going to add four teaspoons of oil. So it's just a lot like making cookies all the way, I guess you wouldn't put all that salt in cookies. And then the last thing we need to add is some liquid. But before we pour in the water which is 3/4 of a cup of water, we are going to actually add our food coloring to the water, so do about 8 drops of red food coloring, if you are going to make red. And then we are going to add some peppermint extract to the mix to make our dough smell pepperminty. So you can do as much as you want here, we are going to do just about a teaspoon. And then we are going to mix this up and then we are going to add it to our solids, pour this in here, doesn't that smell great? Yeah. And now we are going to mix and mix and mix until it turns into a dough. Make sure that you stir it with the spoon it first because you don't want that food color on your hands right away until it gets absorbed into the solids. And then once it starts to get absorbed, you can knead it with your hands, just like a regular dough. Doesn't it smell great? So we've got it into a pretty good crumbly mix now and most of the liquid has been absorbed. So now we can stick our hands in here and start to really smush it together into a ball. And if you guys want to take a turn it, kneading that together. Half of the fun of this experiment is smushing it in all together. This a great way to teach your kids again about how things mix up together and also about smells and if you talk to them about where scents come from and how the peppermint scents comes to your nose like a gas.
And then if you can go around your house and look for other smells that are also coming into your nose and think about what those smells are coming from, and the fact that they are coming to you in some form of a vapor because the only way you can smell something as if it's in a some kind of a vapor form. And hopefully you are smelling happy things around your house for the holidays. So you want to turn mixing up the dough. And you can make all kind of variations on this recipe and then one of the best ways to get the color and the fragrance in at the same time is to use half of a cup of sweetened powdered drink mix and you can make say, grape playdough by mixing in the grape drink mix. Once you smush it all up, what Tyler is showing us is that you can press it out and actually use a cookie cutter like you are making cookies and what you can do is take your scented playdough, once you are done playing with it and turn it into an ornament. Basically, press it out and use a cookie cutter and poke a little hole in the top and bake it in at about 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until it's all solid and dried out like a cookie. And then you can hang it on your tree. And that's how you make peppermint playdough. For our next experiment, we are going to learn how to make bath bombs.