July 16, 2020

3 Bathroom Science Projects that Will Leave You Mystified!

Science is an active of our everyday life – even in the bathroom! Perhaps you might be wondering, what kind of science experiments can be conducted in the bathroom? Here are some interesting ones we’ve found! Check them out – it’s lavatory time! 

1. Why do our fingers wrinkle?

So perhaps wrinkly fingers isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the bathroom, but have you ever stayed in the bathroom for such a long time that your fingers turned wrinkly? Ever wondered why? Well, here’s a quick experiment that may give you some insights! All you will need is:

  • Some marbles (around 10 is optimum)
  • Two bowls
  • Warm water
  • A stopwatch 
  • A towel

Start by placing the two bowls side by side, and place the marbles into one bowl. Now, get your child to pick up the marbles, one at a time, and move it from one bowl to the other. Tell them to do it as fast as possible, and use the stopwatch to record the amount of time it takes. Be sure to record the timing. Next, fill the empty bowl with warm water, and get your child to soak their hand in the water for about 20-30 minutes so that their fingers become wrinkly. Then, get them to once again repeat the process of moving the marbles from the dry bowl into the bowl with water. Time and record the results. Then, get them to move the marbles that are now wet, into the dry bowl once again. Time this and record the results. Lastly, repeat the process of moving the marbles once more, but this time, wait till his or her fingers are no longer wrinkly. The marbles moved in this last part should be wet! 

You may use the table below to help record the results:

Time/s Wrinkly Not Wrinkly
Wet Marbles    
Dry Marbles    

Under which conditions was your child able to move the marbles the with the least time needed? Finger wrinkling is actually caused by constricting blood vessels beneath the skin, when it comes into contact with water for a long period of time! This process is controlled by the body’s automatic nervous system, and some scientists believe that this wrinkling in the fingers happens so that we are able to grip onto objects better when we have wet hands!

2. Bottled Toothpaste

Does your child enjoy seeing chemical reactions? Well this experiment is one that causes a huge chemical reaction! Don’t worry, no loud ‘bangs’, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide (1/2 Cup) (*Caution: Hydrogen Peroxide can irritate the skin, adults should handle this item with care and use disposable gloves if needed)
  • A disposable plastic bottle with a narrow neck (i.e. A 500ml coke bottle)
  • Funnel
  • A few drops of dish soap
  • Yeast (1-2 teaspoons) dissolved in warm water (2 tablespoons)
  • A pan (to collect the residue from the experiment)
  • Blue food colouring (optional, if you want your ‘toothpaste’ to have colour!) 

Start by placing the disposable plastic bottle in the tray, standing up. Next, fill the bottle with the hydrogen peroxide – use a funnel to ensure that there is no spillage. Then, add in the yeast mixture and swirl the bottle gently to ensure that everything is mixed. Add in some food colouring, or place a drop on the inner part of the bottle neck – this will give the ‘toothpaste’ some colour when the chemical reaction takes place later! Lastly, pour in the yeast mixture and stand clear! A foamy, white (and maybe blue, if food colouring is added) will form and start to be ‘squeezed’ out of the bottle! This reaction between the yeast and the hydrogen peroxide is an exothermic one, meaning that heat energy is produced! Get your child to carefully feel the side of the bottle when the reaction takes place – it should feel warm! This happens because Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is not a stable compound and decomposes slowly into water and oxygen. The yeast acts as a catalyst, rapidly speeding up this process causing oxygen to be released quickly and therefore, when trapped in the soap, causes alot of bubbles to be formed! 

3. Bath Bombs

This project is a super fun one, and has a really practical use afterward! You’ll need: 

  • Baking soda (1 cup)
  • Epsom salts (1/2 cup)
  • Citric acid (1/2 cup of anhydrous tablets)
  • Bath coloring tablets (optional)
  • Olive oil (3 teaspoons)
  • Water (1 tablespoon)
  • scented oils (optional)
  • Molds (to form the bath bombs in)
  • Spoons (2)
  • Bowls (2)
  • Cup

Combine all the dry ingredients into one bowl and mix. In the other bowl, repeat this for all the wet ingredients. If you’re using scented oils, add no more than 2 tablespoons full – how strong the scent is up to your preference. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Then, fill the molds with the bath bomb mixture! Make sure the pack it tight! Allow the mixture to dry in the molds for 4-6 hours before removing them. Now, get ready to watch them fizz when they come into contact with water! Have fun!

We hope you and your child enjoy these educational activities! Should you and your child be interested in science and scientific endeavors, check our our YMCA Learning Centre STEM programme! This programme aims to spark an interest in students in learning how the world around us works, through experiential learning. Do contact us to find out more! 

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