I have to give thanks to my friend from highschool, Monique, for giving me this super fun "science" experiment to do with my kids!
Have your kids watch in amazement while a simple bar of IVORY soap doubles in size and changes consistency in your microwave (or magic machine as my kids now call it!)
First off, start with a bar of IVORY soap. It has to be IVORY, if not it won't work (or won't work as well.)
Next, cut the bar of soap into quarters. You will only use 1/4 of the bar at a time in the magic machine...err, I mean microwave. Fight the urge to use the whole bar. Fight it. Trust me.
Place the 1/4 bar of soap into the microwave on a microwave safe dish. Put the microwave on for 3 minutes (although you will NOT need all that time) and let your kids peek in!
Can you see it popping up? It looks like a big huge cloud! Now, the plate will be hot..but the soap won't be! You can scoop it up and give it right to the kids!
Then you can let them go to town with it! You can keep the soap and let them rip off piece by piece to use to wash their hands. Or, you can do like my kids and play with it until it disintegrates!
The picture above it a bit blurry because I had to make a mad dash to the baby who reached in for a big handful to EAT! Ivory soap explosion, great fun to play, not so great to eat!
Now the science behind it! I put the word science in quotations earlier in this post because my kids did not care one bit about the explanation behind it. They could barely hear me warn them about putting it in their mouths or eyes...they were having that much fun! But for the rest of the world here it goes:
Ivory soap (and all soap actually) contains water. This water is both found in the chemical component of the soap and also trapped in the vapor state inside pockets of air inside the soap. As the soap is heated in the microwave it causes all the water to vaporize and cause air bubbles. The water found in the soap also expands. The heat softens the soap and allows it to expand easily. When the heat source is removed, the soap hardens again! Very similar to what happens when popcorn pops!
OK, go on and be the coolest mom in the world and explode some soap tonight! Enjoy!