As everything started with a bang, I thought I’d start with a chemistry theme all about the Elements.
Periodic cupcakes – OK, there are over 100 elements in the periodic table so you don’t have to do each and every one, just tailor it to the number of guests you have. You can do which ever elements take your fancy (like I did in my example), or you could be a bit more systematic about it and pick elements within particular groups (such as the noble gases).
If you have the time, I think it is really cool to identify the different groups with different colour icing or different flavoured cakes – alkali elements are red velvet cupcakes, while metal elements are chocolate cupcakes.
Another take on this theme (if you don’t have time to bake and ice lots of cupcakes) is to make one rectangular cake and ice a periodic table onto it. You can then use different colours when writing each element in its box.
Build your own molecule – Make a number of melon balls (use different melons so you get different colours) and set these with tooth picks and the kids can build their own molecules onto the tooth pick. You don’t have to stick to melon balls – let your creativity (or food in the fridge) determine what you use for elements. You could use other fruit such as grapes, blueberries and candy like marshmallows.
Liquid, gas, solid – if your kids have lots of energy and you have the space for them to burn off some of this energy then this is a good game to play. It is basically a spin-off of classic musical statues. Kids keep as spaced out as possible while the music is playing, this is the gas phase. When the music stops someone calls out either solid or liquid.
Flash cotton/paper – when I used to be a Mad Scientist presenter all the kids (and myself) loved this trick. magicians use it all the time and it is a great deal of fun. You just light one end of your strip, throw it up in the air and in a flash it has disappeared. Here is a link to a young magician doing it. Also, it can be dangerous so I wouldn’t recommend letting the kids play with it.
Fire Proof Balloon (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/exp/fireproof-balloon/)