Summer Experiment with Water & oil

This next activity makes a great Summer Science experiment.  We revisited our oil and water experiments, only this time we froze the water and experimented with oil & ice.

Summer Experiment with Ice & Oil
Summer experiment with oil and ice
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The last time we experimented with a few different substances and water, comparing how each liquid reacted to the water.  This time we kept things a little more simple and explored with just baby oil and frozen colored water.  This activity is very inexpensive and a great way to cool things down a bit on a hot day.

I filled an ice cube tray with water and added a few drops of food coloring to each ice slot before popping it in the freezer.  A few hours later our ice was frozen.  The only other thing we needed for this experiment was a pie pan filled with baby oil.  You could use vegetable oil, but I love that the baby oil is clear.  They also sell it at the Dollar Tree.  Just be sure that little ones will not be tempted to taste.  Baby oil is not safe for ingestion.  If you have concerns you might prefer to use vegetable oil since it is edible.

All you have to do is add your ice to the pan of baby oil and observe

water and oil

I loved that we could watch and observe the ice slowly melt into the oil, and then bead up right before our eyes.  This was quite a different observation than simply adding the water to the oil like last time

water and oil

The more the ice melted the more water bubbles formed.  If you moved the ice quickly through the oil it would create lots of tiny water bubbles

water and oil

Rosie loved making more an more colored water bubbles, and couldn't resist touching them with her hands

oil and water

She played and explored with the ice and oil until all the ice had melted

water and oil

Simple fun on a hot day outside!  I love that this activity requires very little set up and virtually no materials.  We always have baby oil and food coloring on hand, but if you don't, both can be found at the Dollar Tree.

The Science Behind the FUN:  Oil & water do not mix.  This is because oil is made up of non polar molecules while water is made of polar molecules.  The water and oil will never mix, but over time the water bubbles will pull together in the oil.  The explanation for why as well as more details about the reaction of oil and water in relation to each other can be found here.

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