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Fun Holiday Gifts the Scientific Way

  • Melissa Pinkley Home School Enrichment
  • Published Dec 07, 2009
Fun Holiday Gifts the Scientific Way

About this time every year, my children try to come up with gift ideas for their grandparents, friends, and Sunday school teachers. I thought it might be fun to create some gifts this year using science. The projects below use principles of science to create gifts that you can share with family and friends, or even keep and use for yourself! 

Project #1: A Dry Flower Bouquet 

Our first science-gift project dries out fresh flowers for a bouquet that will last all through the year. Fresh flowers contain a lot of moisture, which causes them to wilt or mold if it is not drawn from the flower. So we create a drying mixture which will absorb the moisture from the fresh flowers and dry them so they will be preserved. Another name for this process is dehydration.

Items Needed 

  • Fresh flowers
  • Shoe box
  • Waxed paper
  • Cornmeal
  • Borax
  • Salt
  • Ruler
  • Thin wire
  • Scissors
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Green florist tape
  • Ribbon

What To Do

First line your shoe box with waxed paper. Next, mix 1½ cups cornmeal, 1½ cups borax, and 4 tablespoons salt in your mixing bowl. Once mixed, pour enough drying mixture into the shoe box to measure 1 inch.

The next step is to cut the flower stems to about 2 inches in length. Measure the wire and cut it into 4-inch strips. Carefully take each 4-inch strip and push it through the middle of a cut flower and down into the stem. Push the wire all the way through the stem so that it is seen on the other side. Place the flower facedown into the drying mixture in the shoe box. Repeat this step for each flower.

Once you have completed the step above, pour more of the drying mixture over the flowers in the box until they are completely covered. Place the lid on the box and set it in a cool dry place for two to three weeks. After a few weeks, take one of the flowers out and check if it is completely dry. If it is dry, then proceed to the next step. If it is not dry, place it back in the mixture for another week.

Once dry, remove the small wire from each flower and replace it with a 6-8-inch wire.  Once the longer wire is through the flower, wrap the wire with the florist tape. You may now arrange your dried flowers in the vase of your choice.

Project #2: Make Your Own Bubbles 

The second science-gift project creates a fluid that reduces the surface tension of water so that bubbles can be made. When the surface tension of water is reduced, it can more easily surround small amounts of air and form a bubble. Place this liquid in a container and give it to a friend. 

Items Needed 

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Glycerine (may be purchased at your local drug store)
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Container with lid
  • Thin wire
  • Measuring cups and spoons

What To Do

First, pour 1 cup of liquid dish soap into the mixing bowl. Next, add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of glycerine. Mix the ingredients well.

Take the wire and form it into a bubble loop. Test your bubble mixture with the wire loop. Once you have blown your bubbles, place the liquid bubbles into the container and seal it well. 

Project  #3: Fizzy Bath Bombs 

This last science-gift project, when mixed together with water, creates a chemical reaction. Don't be scared: you will not be blowing your grandma up when she uses her bath bombs. The chemical reaction occurs when the combination of citric acid and baking soda gets wet in the bath and forms carbon dioxide. Grandma will see fizzing and bubbling in the tub, but no explosions.

Items Needed  

  • 2 tablespoons citric acid (look in canning supplies or health food stores) 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Fragrance oil (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Waxed paper
  • Small cup or bowl

What To Do

Mix all the dry ingredients (citric acid, cornstarch, and baking soda) in mixing bowl. Next, in a small cup, mix the oil, fragrance, and coloring together. Slowly mix the liquid into the dry ingredients. Be sure to mix it very well.

Form 1-inch balls and place them on the waxed paper to dry. They should be semi-hard within 2-3 hours. However, let them dry 24-48 hours before placing them in a storage or gift container.

Label the container: "Add two or three to your bath and enjoy!"

I hope you have had fun creating some gifts with science. Have a wonderful Christmas season!   

Melissa Pinkley enjoys life with her husband, Wes. They learn a lot from their four children: Ben, Micah, Levi and Abigail. Homeschooling goes on 24/7 for the whole Pinkley family. They have been homeschooling for 10+ years.  The Lord is gracious and continues to help them follow Him.  

Originally published in Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to HSE Digital by visiting Every issue is packed with homeschool encouragement, help, and information. Get immediate access to the current issue when you start your FREE subscription today!