A Mad Scientist's Blast

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A Mad Scientist's Blast

Birthday Boy: Coleton Baker of Price, UT

His Dream Party: Two Hours of Lab Lunacy Party

Report From: Layna Baker, Coleton's mom

It was a simple experiment. Could we combine Coleton's upcoming seventh birthday with his passion (fueled by Harry Potter, of course!) for mixing potions? We decided to concoct a kooky chemistry party. Read on to see how we proved our theory: silly science can be serious fun!

GETTING THE LOOK

As the budding scientists arrived, we spiked their hair, absent-minded-genius-style. (Albert Einstein's do may have come naturally, but we used styling mousse.) The boys kept telling each other, "You really look like a crazy scientist!" They also donned rubber gloves and inexpensive safety goggles we'd ordered online. This cool gear was theirs to take home at party's end.

More lab lunacy: To make lab coats, cut large adult-size white T-shirts down the middle, fold the collars back to form lapels, and secure them with double-sided tape. Stick on name tags with "Doctor" or "Professor" before each kid's name.

LAB PREP

We'd transformed our kitchen into science-party central by covering the table with a plastic cloth, then setting out a variety of glass jars, vases and pitchers, ingredients, and measuring tools for mixing potions. The kitchen lab served as the perfect petri dish for combining science-themed experiments and plain old fun. The party was really budget-friendly, since we already had on hand most of the ingredients -- staples such as food coloring, vinegar, baking soda, dishwashing soap, and milk.

More lab lunacy: For a freakily fun (but not edible!) lab test centerpiece, suspend plastic toys -- critters, doll parts, and any other weird bits and pieces you've got lying around -- in clear gelatin. For an edible version of this lab test gone awry, make the centerpiece with gummy candies and flavored gelatin.

EXTREME TREATS

Finally, for the sweetest science project, each guest mixed food coloring into a bowl of frosting, creating his own "magic goop" for cupcake decorating. The project turned into a contest to see who could create the ugliest color. Of course, all the boys ended up with dark brown. Still, the goopy cupcakes were devoured, and by the time the last wild-haired scientist headed out with his take-home lab equipment, we knew Coleton's party had been a mad success. For a scientifically proven crowd- pleaser, check out our lab-flask cake.

POTION POWER

We gave the mad scientists plenty of time to delve into kitchen chemistry. They had a ball working with all the ingredients: they called the vinegar "stinky" and the baking soda "magic powder." We showed them how to do some basic experiments, but they also just loved making up their own potions.

PARTY-PERFECT EXPERIMENTS

Eruption in a Bottle

1. Pour warm water into a plastic bottle until it's three-quarters full.

2. Add some drops of food coloring and 1/4 cup of vinegar.

3. With a funnel, quickly add a heaping teaspoon of baking soda. Instantly, the mixture will fizz and overflow from the bottle.

Color Collisions  

1. Pour some milk into a bowl.

2. Add a drop of food coloring.

3. Pour a small amount of dishwashing soap into another bowl. Dip a toothpick into the soap, then into the drop of food coloring floating in the milk. The drop of coloring will instantly spread into a ring, repelled by the soap. For another fun experiment, try adding drops of several food colors to a single bowl of milk.  

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