Any science you can eat gets a big thumbs up around here! Do you know you can make your own gummy bears from scratch? Plus, they are a lot healthier than their store-bought counterparts. Make a healthy treat with the kiddos and learn a little edible science too. Are they a liquid or a solid? Explore states of matter while you make homemade gummies and then try out a fun gummy bear science lab activity too!
HOW TO MAKE GUMMY BEARS
Kids love edible science projects, and this one is a great way to explore states of matter as well as osmosis and irreversible change! WOW! Plus, you get a tasty treat out of it as well. You don’t just have to make gummy bear shapes! Why not make LEGO brick gummies. While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun edible science experiments.
Our science experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
GUMMY BEAR RECIPE
We made these a healthier version of the real thing using organic fruit juices and honey!
YOU WILL NEED
- 1/2 cup of fruit juice
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoon of plain gelatin
- silicone molds
- eyedropper or small spoon
ALSO CHECK OUT: Explore our gelatin heart for creepy-cool science!
HOW TO MAKE GUMMY BEARS
STEP 1: First mix together the fruit juice, honey and gelatin in a small saucepan on low heat until all the gelatin is dissolved.
TIP: Vary the color of your gummy bears by using different types of fruit juice.
STEP 2: Use a dropper (or whatever works best for you) to add the gelatin mixture to silicone gummy bear molds.
Note: One batch of gummy bear mixture fills a mold as seen below!
STEP 3: Now let your homemade gummy bears set and firm up for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
STEP 4: Set up a science experiment with the gummy bears. You can even compare homemade gummy bears and store-bought gummy bears too!
ARE GUMMY BEARS LIQUID OR SOLID?
Earlier we asked the question about whether a gummy bear is a liquid or a solid. What do you think? The gelatin mixture does start in a liquid form, but as the mixture is heated the protein chains within the gelatin come together. Then as the mixture cools the gummy bear takes a solid form.
The process can not be undone which makes this a great example of irreversible change. When heat is applied the substance changes into a new substance, but it cannot go back to what it was originally. Other examples include a baked potato or a fried egg.
You will notice when you eat your gummies that the gelatin also creates a chewy texture. This happens because of the protein chains that form during the heating process! Gummy bears are actually a semi-permeable substance which means it allows water to pass through it.
BONUS: Growing Gummy Bears Experiment
- Using different liquids (water, juice, soda, etc.) observe how gummy bears expand or don’t expand when placed in a variety of solutions and determine why that is.
- Add a single gummy bear to cups filled with various liquids.
- Don’t forget to measure and record the size of your gummy bears before and after!
- Measure after 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, and even 48 hours!
Osmosis! Gummy bears will expand in size due to osmosis. Osmosis is the ability of water (or another liquid) to be absorbed through a semi-permeable substance which in this case is the gelatin. Water will move through the substance. This is why the gummy bears grow larger in size in the water.
Osmosis is also about the flow of water from a higher concentrated place to a lower concentrated place. You can see this when the water enters the gummy bear and causes it to grow larger. What about the other way around? You can test it with salt water!
What happens when you put a gummy bear in a saturated salt water solution? Does the gummy bear look smaller? This is because the water moves out of the gummy bear to enter the salt solution. You can make a saturated solution by slowly stirring salt into warm water until it no longer dissolves! See how we do this to make salt crystals here.
Now what happens if you put the saltwater gummy bear into the freshwater?
Note: The gelatin’s structure helps the bear keep its shape except when placed in an acidic solution such as vinegar. Check out our dissolving gummy bears experiment!
MORE FUN EDIBLE SCIENCE
EASY HOMEMADE GUMMY BEARS RECIPE FOR TASTY SCIENCE
Homemade Gummy Bears
How to make your own healthier gummy bears for edible science!
- 1/2 Cup Fruit Juice
- 1 TBS Honey
- 2 TBS Unflavored Plain Gelatin
First mix together fruit juice, honey, and gelatin on low heat until all of the gelatin is dissolved.
Use an eyedropper (or whatever works best for you) to add the gelatin mixture to the silicone gummy bear molds.
Let the gummy bears set and firm up for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
We used different flavors of juice for an assortment of gummy bears.