Incredible Growing Gummy Bears

Here’s a fun experiment that hardly takes up any room, isn’t messy, and your kids will love it!

Here’s how we landed on this experiment: We stopped at the drug store for baby wipes, and 3.5 year old N bombarded me with five minutes of this… “Mom, stop! You have to see this. Mom, can you get me this light up candy cane/cup shaped like a fairy/snow globe. Wait!!! I really want it!” I normally adore her enthusiasm, but I have a short wick for the begging and pleading for random odds and ends. Pair that with a toddler who insists on standing in the shopping cart and you get the picture of me yearning for a hot cup of coffee and a copy of US Weekly! If you ever wondered if I’m actually raising independent thinkers, the answer is most definitely “yes!” So, on our way to the check-out, we walked down the candy aisle. Dumb move, I know, and N quickly managed to pull a bag of gumdrops off the display with a request to make gumdrop sculptures. 

Ack. She knows my weak spot for creative projects! Um, yes, we can buy the gumdrops for the sake of your growing mind. And with that, she also pulled down a pack of gummy bears. I remembered reading about a gummy bear experiment, and that’s how we ended up bringing these little jelly woodland creatures home with us.

The experiment is easy. We each had to eat one, of course, and then N chose a couple to add to the water. I asked her what she thought might happen to them after being submerged, and she said she didn’t know. After a couple hours we checked on them, and found them covered in tiny bubbles. We compared them to one of the dry originals, and the wet bears were a bit plumper!

I left N in the kitchen while I put her baby sister down for a nap, and returned to find her nibbling on one of the plump bears!! She had this to say, “I know I wasn’t supposed to eat the bear, but I had to also compare the way they taste to see if they tasted the same.” How could I be upset with that?

In all, we let the bears sit in water for three days, and you can see the size difference in this image. The gummies kept expanding and then finally seemed to fall apart. If you try this at home, and want to do a taste comparison, be sure to refrigerate your gummy bears so they don’t grow bacteria. Yikes!

The Science behind the Experiment

Gummy bears are made up of water, sugar, and gelatin. Like a sponge, gummy bears will absorb water but the gelatin keeps the bears from dissolving in the water.

 

Comments

  1. chelsea says

    On Monday, as we picked up antibiotics for the kids’ agonizing ear infections, I voluntarily marched them to the candy section to grab a bag of gummy bears.  I just felt so sorry for them, and the gummy bears definitely cheered them up.  So, knowing we have an essentially full bag hiding in my secret spot, I showed the kids your experiment.  As they followed the progression of familiar gummys to blobs of color, they both said, “Nah, we don’t want to do that.  We just want to eat them.”  Oh well.

    • Rachelle says

      Ouch, sorry to hear you’re on antibiotics over there, Chelsea. N would have said the same thing in their position — I think she saw this experiment as a means of getting the little sugar bullets into our house in the first place!

  2. M Wall says

    Confession time! In my younger days, my friends and I would often perform this experiment with vodka for a portable “pop”…not real proud of that, but this post did make me chuckle thinking back on it! Will have to try an under 21 version this time around. And I can totally relate to what you mean about raising an independent thinker. Sounds like your kids have your number like my son has mine :) 

    • Rachelle says

      Oh, a cuter version of jello shooters. I like it! Yep, my kids have my number all right. And I know that one day I’ll be super grateful for that! 

  3. Tammy Dube says

    We did this by accident a few month ago.  A gummy bear fell into some water and was not discovered until the next day.  The kiddos were amazed at how big it grew.  Although they were not impressed with the taste.    

    • Rachelle says

      Ha! How crazy that you just landed on this experiment. I guess that’s how many things were once discovered. And yes, the taste is pretty tasteless…my daughter wasn’t impressed either.

  4. Natalie says

    I just saw a similar experiment on the other blog where they also compared with what happened to a bear put into a salty water. Pretty interesting!

  5. Lola says

    I want to try this experiment but I also want to eat the gummy bears after. What can I add to the water so that it tastes better?

  6. Selena says

    I think I might try to change the type of water. You know like salt water, chlorine water, fresh water and see if they have the same results.

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