Want to be the cool mom?
All you need to do is raid your kitchen cupboards!
Yes, it really is that simple. If you have pepper, water and dish soap then you can set up this science experiment/magic trick in less than a minute.
And if you don’t have pepper or soap send the kids next door to borrow some! No special trips to the store needed.
This simple science experiment is a great way for kids to explore properties like buoyancy and surface tension or even just cause and effect.
But it can also double as a cool boredom buster when you need a fun idea ASAP. We’ve got all the details and instructions you need to become the Magic Pepper and Soap Master!
How to Do the Pepper and Soap Experiment
Grab your supplies and get ready for the science magic to happen!
- Plate or bowl
- Water (optional to color it blue)
- Dish soap
- Pour some water onto a plate or bowl. You want it to cover a fairly large part of the plate. Coloring your water blue with some food coloring is an optional step, but sometimes makes it easier to see the experiment in action.
- Sprinkle some pepper onto the surface of the water.
- Dip your finger into the dish soap.
- Place your finger in the center of the plate into the water.
- Watch as the pepper quickly scatters to the edges of the water on the plate.
The Pepper and Soap Experiment in Action
Want to see the magic pepper and soap experiment in action?
Here you go!
It is really as easy as this. Scout’s honor.
How Does the Magic Pepper and Soap Experiment Work
This pepper and soap experiment is chock full of learning!
Kids can learn about buoyancy, or the concept of sink or float, by adding the pepper to the water. If they’ve already mastered these concepts then this is a great opportunity to introduce surface tension.
When the soap is added to the plate the surface tension changes and the pepper no longer floats on top. The molecules pull back from the soap is able to break down the surface tension of water. As the soap moves into the water, and the surface tension changes, the pepper no longer floats on top. The water molecules want to keep the surface tension intact so they pull away from the soap carrying the pepper flakes with them.
With younger kids a simpler explanation works too. When you touch the pepper water with dish soap the pepper moves to the side of the dish. This is a perfect illustration of cause and effect.
No matter which science lesson you choose to focus on the end result will still be fun! The magic pepper and soap experiment is simple, easy, and totally awesome. Try it today as a science experiment or boredom buster–either option is sure to make you a cool mom!
Don’t let the fun and discovery stop there!
We have TONS of science experiments your kids will love on our Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids page!
Take me to the experiments –> Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids