Solids, Liquids, and Gases

Everything within God’s great creation is made of molecules. His first action in His divine plan of human creation was to give us a home. A nice solid planet. He filled our planet with this glorious liquid called water, and surrounded it with a clean and clear gas called oxygen. He is brilliant, isn’t He? Everything was planned out perfectly. How anyone can look at the intricacies of creation and deny the existence of God Almighty bewilders me.

Regardless of the type of molecule, matter exists as either a solid, liquid, or gas. Yes, for this article, I am ignoring plasma, young children have a hard time understanding its characteristics. Energy (like heat) causes these molecules to move faster and further apart. Very slow moving, compact molecules create a solid; while faster molecules flow more freely and take the shape of a liquid; and lastly, the really hyper molecules become gases.

Ready for some experiments to teach your kids about the 3 states of matter?

Water makes up 3/4 of the Earth’s surface and 2/3 of a human body. Although it is the most common thing on Earth, its properties are so unusual, making it oh so valuable. Water is the only known substance that can exist on Earth in all 3 phases of matter. These first two unbelievably simple experiments very effectively demonstrate the substance as ice, water, and vapor.

Ice Cubes in a Pan
Place a few ice cubes in a frying pan. Heat up the pan and allow them to melt into water. Watch as the water is vaporized.

Get 3 balloons. Fill with water and place in the freezer over night, fill one with regular water, and the last with air. Let the child play with all 3 and guess which form is in each balloon.

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.

Psalm 135:7

The Bible talks about three different heavens. The Earth’s atmosphere, outer space, and the heaven where God resides. We know much about the first and second heavens. We know that our atmosphere is made of breathable gases while outer space is not. Many children have a hard time understand air simply because they cannot see it. Try this experiment to show them that air really does take up space.

Dry Cotton Ball

    • Fill up a container of water
    • Tape a cotton ball onto the inside bottom of a clear plastic cup. Do not place the tape over the cotton ball, either use double sided tape or roll up a piece and place it under the cotton ball.
    • Holding it upside down, submerge the cup all the way down into the water. Make sure you do not tilt the cup.
    • The child will assume that the cotton ball has gotten wet and will be amazed when they feel that it is still completely dry. Explain that the cup is filled with air. So there was no room for water to enter the cup.

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.

Isaiah 42:5

Rock Candy
What you need:

  • Hot water
  • A clean paper clip
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Thread or string
  • A heat-resistant glass
  • Magnifying glass
  • A spoon
  • Food coloring (optional)

What to do:

  • Half-fill the glass with very hot water. Add food coloring if you desire. Slowly mix as much sugar as possible in the water. The sugar will dissolve. Keep adding sugar until you have a thick syrup.
  • Hang a paper clip from a piece of thread or string and suspend it in the glass. Make sure the paper clip doesn’t touch the bottom.
  • Leave the cup where it won’t be disturbed and cover it to keep dust out.
  • After a week or so, crystals will begin forming around the paper clip and string. Use a magnifying glass to examine the crystals’ shapes.

When sugar dissolves in hot water, it breaks up into pieces so small that you can no longer see them. As the sugar water cools and the water evaporates, the sugar re-concentrates out and forms crystals.

Are you impatient? Try these almost instant crystals
Simply create a super saturated solution of baking soda and water. Pour the solution into a jar. Set a twisted pipe cleaner down into the jar. Place in a sunny window and within 30 minutes you will see “crystals” growing on the pipe cleaner.

Online Games for Kids
Science Materials Changing State
Solids, Liquids, and Gases
States of Matter
More Solids, Liquids and Gases
Solids and Liquids Activities

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag
What you need:

  • Gallon ziplock bags (use a thick freezer bag)
  • Quart ziplock freezer bags (use a thick freezer bag)
  • Chocolate or strawberry milk
  • Rock salt
  • Ice

What to do:

    • In the quart bag put about 1 cup of milk. Zip it tight.
    • In the gallon bag put some rock salt and ice, about 1 cup of each.
    • Put quart bag into the gallon bag with the salt and ice. Zip tight.
    • Let the kids knead or roll the bag and really work the milk. Within 20 minutes or so the milk turns into ice cream.

Want to really enjoy the ice cream? Read on…

Chocolate Bowls
Blow up a small balloon. Don’t make it too big or you’ll end up with a enormous bowl. Dip the balloon halfway into melted chocolate, turn it upside down and place in the freezer for an hour or so. Carefully poke a hole in the balloon to sloooowly release the air. Carefully peel the balloon away from the chocolate. Fill your new bowl with ice cream. Or be responsible and fill with fresh fruit.

Alka Seltzer
Plop, plop, fizz fizz! Yeah, you might need this one after the homemade ice cream, chocolate bowls, and root beer floats! It begins as a solid tablet, bubbles as it lets off gas, and ends as part of the liquid.

…I saved my favorite for last. Please people, if you have never made this crazy concoction, go and do it now. Well, after you finish the rest of the magazine articles, of course!

Mix 1 cup of corn starch with 1.5 cups of water and some food coloring for effect. Oobleck is fascinating because it isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. Scientists have labeled it a Non-Newtonian fluid. Watch these amazing videos:

Oobleck Non Newtonian Video
Amazing Oobleck

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

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