3 Science Experiments to keep your kid occupied this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is family time in almost every American household! Piling fallen leaves, piking apples, walking through corn mazes are some of the activities that mark Thanksgiving. Apart from them, Thanksgiving is also about having guests over for celebratory dinners and bonding over glasses of wine. So, how do you keep the kids engaged while you get your hands dirty in the kitchen? The online space is teeming with ‘things to do this Thanksgiving’ for the kids and there is no dearth of math quizzes, science experiments for kids, and coloring pages out there, some that are beautifully inspired by Thanksgiving, and can keep them occupied for long hours. But, what if you could get the kids to work simultaneously with you in the kitchen and make experiments out of the ingredients that you're using? Here are 3 Thanksgiving-inspired science experiments for kids that are as ‘autumny’ as the festival itself!

Tablecloth trick

Table Cloth

Source - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/12912974883

Thanksgiving is a time for sumptuous meals and wholesome turkeys! Just before you set the table for the grand Thanksgiving dinner, get the kids to carry out this little science experiment and understand the concept of inertia.

• Tablecloth
• Angular tabletop (not round or oval)
• Plastic dinner plates and glasses with flat bottoms

1. Spread the tablecloth on the table and flatten it out making sure there isn’t any wrinkle.
2. Place the crockeries on the tablecloth, close to the edge of the cloth.
3. Now, comes the tricky, execution part of the science experiment. Grab the ends of the table cloth and quickly pull it in a downward motion. Remember, the trick is to pull the tablecloth in a downward motion that’s perpendicular to the table and not at an angle; else the crockeries might rest in ‘piece’ forever!

How does it happen?'
The science concept behind the table cloth trick is inertia. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction. Therefore, the crockeries on the table did not move unless an outside force moved them. This precisely defines Newton's First Law of Motion.

Floral preservative


Source - http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/7171670995

Strewn leaves and flowers on the ground are a common sight during fall. What if you could pick up a flower and keep it fresh for a few more days? Make your own floral preservative at home and keep fall flowers alive for a longer period!

• A plucked flower
• A vase
• 1 gallon water
• 2 cups light corn syrup
• 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
• 4 teaspoons lemon juice
• Spray bottle

1. Fill up the vase half with water.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a spray bottle.
3. Spray the water in the vase with the solution. An ideal mix is 3/4 water and 1/4 preservative solution.
4. Sink the stem of the flower into the vase and keep it away from sunlight, in a relatively cooler place.
5. You can store the solution in a closed container at room temperature for 4-5 days, or two weeks refrigerated.
6. You can use the floral preservative on your Christmas tree as well!

Straw through potato


Source - http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindstorm/2812910869

While mom makes garlic flavored mashed potato and sweet potato au gratin to go with roasted turkey on Thanksgiving, why don’t you get your hands on a fairly large piece of the veggie and try a cool science experiment with it? Try stabbing the potato with a plastic straw without bending it. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? Here’s how that can be made possible.

• A raw potato
• A plastic straw
• Old newspaper

1. Hold the potato in your hand with the finger on the front and the thumb on the back and grab the straw with your writing hand.
2. Place your thumb over one end of the straw and stab it right through the potato with a sharp thrust.
3. Doesn’t your straw slid right through the hard, firm potato?

How does it happen?
The science experiment is based on the concept of air pressure. When you place your thumb over the end of the straw, it traps the air inside. The trapped air inside compresses the molecules and makes the body of the straw stronger. That keeps it from bending and helps it stab through the vegetable.


I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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