Carnival of Chemistry

When you need safety goggles, you know it’s going to be fun.

I love living in a university town! My kids get a lot of great chances for supplemental learning because of where we live, and this November was no exception, with our annual Carnival of Chemistry. The Kansas University Chemistry Club (Rock CaCO3 Jayhawk!) puts on this regional, accessible science event for children. My son was a big fan of the exploding balloons featured in the Frozen Fire demonstration, while my daughter really enjoyed learning about acids and antacids.

Other fun events included making molecules out of marshmallows, viewing sound waves, testing drinks for vitamins, experiments with the light and the spectrum, super conductors, and the ever popular Van de  Graaff generator. Some activities were completely hands-on, while the more dangerous ones were observation only.

Here’s a bicycle wheel gyro experiment.

If you’ve got a university near you, check to see if they have a similar event. It’s a blast, and you can pretend that your kids are the ones most excited to see frozen tennis balls shatter and hydrogen filled balloons explode.

Marziah Karch lives in Portland, Oregon and is the author of multiple books and magazine articles. She also writes for Lifewire and GlitterSquid. She's currently a doctoral candidate researching the information behavior of independent game designers.