If you want to try more science activities and experiments with your kids, one of the best experiments to start with is the magic pepper experiment. This experiment teaches kids about surface tension and what happens if you change the surface tension of water. Little kids especially love to see this experiment and action and will beg to try the science experiment over and over again.

Using glitter for the traditional magic pepper science experiment

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Magic Glitter Science Experiment:

  • Flat Bowl
  • Dish Soap
  • Glitter or Pepper
  • Toothpick
  • Water

It doesn’t take much to teach kids about surface tension in this super fun, super simple science experiment!

You’ll need just a few things for this activity:

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

This activity is traditionally done with pepper only, but we wanted to see if it would work with other materials as well. Scientific inquiry at its best!

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

First, we tried the classic pepper experiment. Once the dish soap was added, it suddenly sprinted to the edges of the container.

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

Next, we tried glitter.

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

Glitter had the exact same results.

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

Finally, we tried chili powder. The chili powder sunk to the bottom of the container. But when we put the toothpick all the way to the bottom of the container, it had similar results there, moving the chili pepper away from the toothpick.

The magic pepper experiment is a simple science experiment teaching kids all about surface tension. It's the perfect intro to science at home!

THE SCIENCE LESSON

The magic pepper science experiment is a lesson in surface tension. Ordinarily, pepper flakes are lighter than the water, which is why they float on top. But, the surface tension of the water keeps the flakes in place, unless the container is shaken. But when you add dish soap to the mixture, suddenly the surface tension is removed, causing the pepper flakes to fly outward suddenly to the edges of the container. It’s just like how water is difficult to move through, but when you skate on ice, you slip and slide like crazy!

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

More Food Theme Activities!

Don’t stop here! Seriously, what kid doesn’t love playing with their food? So, naturally, learning with their food has to be a favorite too…

Get even more food activities below!

>>101 Food Activities for Kids<<

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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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