Toothpick 🌟Star 💦Trick Science Experiment For Kids (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)

This is a fun 🎄Christmas Inspired Science Experiment you can do with your kiddo. A magic toothpick trick on how to turn a broken toothpicks snowflake into a star? This science experiment will add a little magic to your Holiday Season. See how the toothpicks mysteriously move to form a star!

DSC_0011What you will need:

  • 5 wooden toothpicks,
  • a dropper or a drinking straw,
  • water.

DSC_0011Bend each toothpick in the middle carefully not to break it completely.

DSC_0011  Place all five semi-broken toothpicks in a circle with broken points meeting at the center. 

DSC_0032Using a dropper, carefully put few drops of water in the middle.

DSC_0011Observe how the toothpicks glide into place to form a star!

Please note that the second part of the video of "opening" of the star has been sped up 8x times. So be patient and do not be discouraged if your star doesn’t expand as fast.

Science mystery is revealed: toothpicks are composed of dry wood. When we bend and crack the toothpicks in the middle, the wood fragments inside compress. Once we add water to the center circle of the star, capillary action causes the water to be absorbed into the toothpicks.  As the water moves inside the dry toothpick from the starting point of the crack along the length to its pointed tips, the wood fibers that are bent expand and open up. That is the capillary action or water traveling inside the toothpick causes the toothpicks to glide as they straighten forming a star.

DSC_0032  As dry wood absorbs water and toothpicks straighten out, they push against one another opening up the inside of the star.


Tips for success (we had several trials and errors till we figured it out:)

  • Snap a little - do NOT break! How you break the toothpick matters: bend and apply the least pressure and be very careful not to break apart: the more wooden fibers are still connected, the better chances you will have that the "star" will open. If too many fibers are broken, the experiment will not work.  
  • Surface matters! We tried this experiment on a plate and it did not work. We are using this tray. 
  • The right amount of water! Too little would not be enough for the capillary action to take place, and too much water would just cause the toothpicks to float instead of gliding.


But how does wood absorb water? Wood absorbs water by capillary action, adhesion, and cohesion.These are the same factors that allow plants to carry water from the roots upwards through vein-like tubes to the leaves. For more on Capillary Action, see here "💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water). "

Water science is one of the favorite activities with my children! They can never seem to get enough of these experiments! See here "Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)" and here a video post "🎶Musical 💦Water 🌈Glasses (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)" and here "Pour 💦it in! Liquid Illusion" (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇). 

Montessori 💗 Pink Series  "i" sound (Language 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)

The process of learning how to read can be as simple and joyful as the process of learning how to walk. In Montessori Language curriculum, the hands-on phonetic approach helps children form a clear understanding of how written words encode the spoken sounds into the symbolic letters of the alphabet. By using this technique, young children master sounds made by each letter, as well as letters represented by each sound. 

In a Montessori “Pink-Blue-Green" Series approach, the child progresses very gradually as s/he is first introduced to three CVC letter words in 💗PINK Series, then blends (st, bl, pr...) in💙 BLUE Series, and finally digraphs (sh, th, ch, oi...) in 💚 GREEN Series.  

DSC_0125Today, we are working with"i" sound from 💗Pink Series.

In a Montessori literacy curriculum, Pink 💗Series is the first step in teaching a child how to  📖 read. After a child is familiar with sandpaper letters and knows about 15 letters of the alphabet, s/he can start working with Movable Alphabet while slowly incorporating the Pink Series boxes. Pink Series 3-letter phonetic words have the same pattern: CVC = Consonant -Vowel -Consonant. All of the vowels at this stage are short vowels: "a" as in 🐱cat, "e" as in 🖊pen, "i" as in 🐷pig, "o" as in 📦 box, and "u" as in 🌞sun. All the words in 💗Pink Series are phonetically decodable, that is all of the letters used in the series retain their phonetic sound that the child recognizes and is used to it. Pink Series boxes are arranged by sounds. In a video below, Adrian is working with [i] sound.

To compose the word, we are using Movable Alphabet (buy here), but you can use any letters on hand or simply write letters on a piece of paper. With younger children, also place a picture or an object representing that picture next to the word so that the child has visual assistance. At this age with Adrian, I generally just place the words in front of him, and only once he successfully blends the sounds, Julia or I would place an object representing that word next to it. 

 Viv Yapp (check it out here) was kind enough to make a little 📽video of 👦🏼Adrian 📖 reading the CVC word "bin" (see here or here).  


For more on 💗Pink Series CVC blending, see here Montessori 💗 Pink Series  "e" sound post which has a video of Adrian blending sounds and reading the words first, and only then being shown corresponding objects.

For an introduction to Literacy in Montessori Language curriculum, and our "Letter hunts" read our Letter Series post here, where you will also find other letters we have been exploring.

Enjoy your adventure on the road to literacy!