Mixture vs. Solutions

This month I introduce a tricky topic to the kids: the difference between a mixture vs. a solution. I applied the following definitions in 2 kid friendly “experiments”.

Mixture: 2+ substances which are mixed but not combined to make a new substance. They still retain their physical identities and can be easily separated.

Solution: 2+ substances that combine to make a new substance that cannot be separated easily.

Snowflake Solution:

  1. Wide mouth mason jar.
  2. Pencil
  3. Yarn
  4. Pipe cleaner
  5. 3 tablespoons of Borax
  6. 2 cups of boiling/very hot water

In your mason jar add the Borax and hot water. Stir until the Borax has dissolved.

Make a shape with your pipe cleaner and tie a piece of yarn to one end. Tie the other end of your yarn to the center of your pencil.

Suspend your pipe cleaner shape in the snowflake solution by placing the pencil across the mouth of the jar. Be careful not to let it touch the bottom and be sure that the water level is high enough to cover completely.

Leave at least overnight (sometimes longer). Remover and pat dry.

Snack Mixture & Chocolate “Milk” Solution:

  1. Various snack items depending on your child’s preference.
  2. Milk or soy milk
  3. Hershey’s chocolate

Mixed all the snack items together! I used this opportunity to discusse the basic principle of a mixture, that everything retained its own physical characteristic and could still be separated easily.

Mix the soy/milk and chocolate syrup in any proportion you wish. Once again discuss the fact that you cannot remove the chocolate from the milk and vice versa.

These methods can be modified and adapted to any situation you choose.

I chose these concepts this month because they are a building block of many applications in Chemistry. A side note, many of you may catch me on some technicalities, such as the fact chocolate milk is not technically a solution but a suspension, I was more after concept building with this lesson! 😉

*A bonus “experiment”*


  1. 8 oz. box of baking soda
  2. 1 7 oz. can of foam shaving cream
  3. Glitter (optional)

Pour one box of baking soda into a large bowl

Add glitter for sparkly snow.

Slowly add white shaving cream foam, stirring with each addition, until the mixture is smooth and moldable (up to an entire canister of foam).

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