Science Project Holiday Gifts – Air Freshener

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,282
    Learn how to make a great holiday air freshener for your next holiday party.

    Mary Porter Green: Hi! I am Mary Porter Green. Today, we are working on science experiments you can do with your kids that you can actually turn into great holiday gifts. So for our next experiment, we are going to be working with liquids and solids and we are going to make an air freshener that smells like peppermint. The materials you are going to need are distilled water; gelatin and you want the unflavored kind sold in the baking section usually. You are going to need a tea kettle or pot to heat the water or you can boil it in your microwave. You are going to need some kind of peppermint scent. We used peppermint extract which you can get in the baking section of your grocery store. Red food coloring, you are going to need a measuring cup to mix your solution in, the table spoon, salts and then any kind of recycled glass jar that you might have in your refrigerator that you can clean out and use and some kind of sticker to decorate the outside, plastic wrap and some ribbon. To get started, we are going to take a cup of hot water which we have pre-heated in our kettle and we are going to pour it into our container, then you are going to add approximately 4 tablespoons of gelatin and then you want to stir it until it dissolves. This might take a minute or two, it is kind of gloppy some times and you want to stir it until it is completely dissolved and point out when you are making this project with your kids how that the powder eventually completely disappears into the water, that's making what's called a solution and it is also a liquid solution, but it is eventually going to get firm and turn into a solid which is the air freshener.

    So, I think we have got that pretty well dissolved in there. If you have trouble getting in all dissolved, you might want to heat up the water again, sometimes the water isn't quite hot enough for the gelatin to dissolve completely. Alright, for our next step, we are going to add a cup of cold distilled water and next we are going to add to the cold water that we have thrown in two table spoons of salt. So we are adding more solids to our liquids and we are going to stir this all together until it is all dissolved. Alright, so next we are going to take our gelatin solution and we are going to make it look good and smell good. So take your red food coloring which you can buy in the baking section of your store in any store and add as much as you would like until it gets to the right color and this even an interesting and fun thing for the kids to stir in and see what color it turns, watch it disappear into the solution and change the color. And you can experiment with making different colors too and talk to your kids about color theory and what colors combine to make different colors, but today we are just going with red which of course is a primary color and we are finally going to add about a table spoon of peppermint extract. Now what you will find when you do this experiment is that the smell of the gelatin is actually relatively strong and so you need to add a lot scent to make it smell great. So now that you have mixed up your solution ask your little one that you are making the experiment with, what's going to happen how is it going to turn into a solid and also smell it, it smells wonderful. Take an opportunity to talk to your little one about those concepts and ask them why they think it turns into a solid from a liquid and actually what happens as it cools down the properties of the solution change and that's an interesting thing for kids to start to observe that heat makes things turn into liquids like water for example melts when it gets hot and when it cools it starts to turn into a solid like an ice cube when you put water into the freezer turns into an ice cube. Same thing with gelatin, as it cools down it solidifies.

    The other cool thing about this project is to get your kid thinking about smell that how smells work and we used a peppermint smell here. Smells you can only smell with your nose, so it is the only part of you that can smell and you can only smell something that's in a gas form. So what you are smelling is actually a gas that's coming off of this a vapor and it is hitting these receptors in your nose, it is telling you what the smell is. So that is a fun thing you can do with your little one when you have finished this, go around your kitchen or even around your house and see all the different smells you can find. So now we are going to pour out liquid while it is still a liquid into a jar and so the next step is to decorate your air freshener. What we did was go out and find some foam shapes that look like snow flakes, but you can do anything you have in your house and stick anything on there. We are going to stick these little snow flakes on the sides, make sure they are stuck on, they are really good and then what you want to do is leave it out until it solidifies. It will solidify much more quickly, if you put in the refrigerator, but it certainly doesn't need to be kept in the refrigerator because you wanted to make your room smell good and also you may want to cover it before you put in your refrigerator because it does give off smell and you may not want everything in your refrigerator to smell like peppermint.

    So once you are ready to give it away to somebody as a gift you want to just put it a little bit of cellophane or whatever you have across the top of lid and then wrap it with a little bit of pretty ribbon that you have recycled from another package that you have bought at the store and voila, you have a gorgeous air freshener. And tell whoever you give it to that the way to make it smell the best is to take -- go ahead and take the plastic off and just put it any where around their kitchen or their house or they want to a little bit of extra holiday peppermint smell.

    For our next experiment we are going to learn how to make crystal ornaments.