This fun and super easy science experiment teaches your children about osmosis. Plus, what’s more fun to experiment with than yummy gummy bears? And yes, in the name of science, everyone should taste the gummy bears! Our students at CEFA Early Learning schools love it – give it a try at home.

Best Ages for This Activity

Two to five

How to Make It


  • 8 gummy bears
  • 2 small bowls
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water

Let’s Get Started

  • Invite your child to try a science experiment
  • You will see what happens when you put a gummy bear in salt water and compare with gummy bears left out of the water
  • Boil ½ cup of water (be careful with your little ones around boiling water)
  • Add salt to the water, mixing it until no more salt can dissolve in the water.
  • Let the salty water cool in the fridge (if the water is not cooled, it will melt your gummy bear).
  • Once your water is cold, you can pour it in one of the bowls (plain white bowls are best so children can see the process)
  • In the other bowl, add plain tap water, unsalted
  • Make sure both bowls have the same amount of water and enough to cover the gummy bears J
  • Invite your child to place 2 gummy bears in the salty water bowl, 2 in the tap water bowl and 2 will be left out of water, to compare. The other two are for you and your child to enjoy.
  • Start the experiment in the evening or late afternoon and then leave it overnight.
  • Ask your child to predict what will happen to each of the gummy bears (do you think they will shrink? Grow? Stay the same? Disintegrate? – this can happen if you leave them in the water too long)
  • The next morning, see what happened. You will find that compared to the control gummy (the one left out of the water bowls, untouched), the gummy in the salt water grew quite a bit and the one in plain water grew even more. This is a delightful discovery for the children.
  • I encourage you to measure them, draw them and record your discovery whichever way your child can.
  • Of course, your child will want to try eating the gummies, which is an amazing sensory activity. Compare how they taste and how they feel in your child’s mouth. Encourage your child to use vocabulary to describe the texture and taste. Also describe how they feel to the touch before you try tasting them.
  • Don’t forget to use the steps of the scientific method:

  • Questions you can ask:
    • What do you think will happen to the gummy bear that we placed in the salty water bowl? Why?
    • What do you think will happen to the gummy bear that we placed in the salty water bowl? Why?
    • How long do you think we should leave the gummy bears in the water for? (use a timer if you can)
    • Do you think the gummy bears will taste different once they are soaked in the water for that amount of time? Do you think they will feel different? In what way?

Once you have posed, answered and tested all of your questions, you can explain what actually happened to your child.

Here is what happens in this experiment: What you witnessed in this experiment is the process of osmosis. Osmosis is a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.

Gummy bears are made of sugar, flavour gelatin and warm water all mixed together to form a “gummy bear solution”.  Once. The solution cools, some of the water dissipates from the solution and the gummy bears become firm but still chewy, thanks to some of the water still remaining in the gelatin. That little bit of water remaining in the gummy bear acts as a solution of water (with a lot of sugar dissolved in it).

When you place the gummy bear in tap water (which does not contain sugar in its solution), the different solutions of water will try to balance each-other. The plain water, with very little dissolved in it, will move towards the solution of water with a lot of sugar dissolved in it – the gummy bear. This movement of solvent from one of low concentration to one of higher concentration is called osmosis:

In contrast, when the gummy bear (solution with a lot of sugar) was placed in the salt water (solution with a lot of salt), it tried to equalize as well, but since the gummy bear had more sugar in the water than salt in our salty water, not as much water moved into the gummy bear to balance the solution. This explain why it grew but not as much. It still means, however, that the salt water had less salt in it than the gummy bear had sugar (imagine how much sugar is in that tiny gummy bear).

Learning Opportunities

This is a fun S.T.E.M. activity where your child can see a chemical reaction as it happens, as well as compare to the original (the control gummy bear) after the fact, to see the changes that took place. For better science learning, follow the steps of your scientific method with your child. Make sure you use as much math vocabulary as you can (for example, measure time, measure the gummy bears themselves, etc. Use descriptive words like big/bigger, small, medium large, more/less dense, etc.) and use as many opportunities as you can to measure, count and compare.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of (you will have to help with the boiling water, though).

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