Flying Tea Bag Ghosts

Activity for ages 4 and up.

Kids’ science doesn’t get much cooler than these fun flying tea bag ghosts. Kids will love learning about convection and air pressure so much that they’ll be running to the panty for every last tea bag. And, since this kids’ science activity is oh-so-simple to set up, you won’t mind repeating it over and over again.

Try it out and then hop over to snag 29 more addictively fun kids’ science experiments HERE!

Super Cool Kids Science Tea Bag Ghosts!!

Getting Ready

To prepare for this activity, I grabbed a stack of tea bags, scissors, a non-flammable plate, a black marker, and a lighter.  I handed my four year old daughter, A, a tea bag and the scissors and asked her to cut the staple end off the top.

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After A carefully dumped out the tea,  I quickly drew a simple ghost face on the now cylindrical tea bag and balanced it upright on the plate.  I asked a very anxious A to sit a few feet away and then lit the top of the ghost.

Tea Bag Ghosts. Super cool kids science!

The tea bag burned down quickly and we were prepared to see our little ghost fly but he simply vanished into a pile of ash on the plate.  It took us several attempts using a variety of tea brands to learn that thinner bags like Lipton’s simply turn to ash.  We had the most success with slightly thicker Stash and Tazo Tea bags.  Once we figured this out we had lift off!

Make magic flying tea bag ghosts!

My little ghostbuster just couldn’t get enough and she couldn’t wait to share her discovery with the rest of the family.

The Science Behind It

To explain this kids’ science activity to my four year old I explained that air takes up space inside and outside of the tea bag cylinder.  Then I asked,  “What do you think happens to the air when we light the tea bag on fire?”

“It gets hot,” she replied.

“Yes, and when air molecules get hot they move around more and take up more space,” I explained.  We then pretended to be hot air molecules dancing around the room to the Ghostbusters theme song.  We needed a lot of space to move without bonking each other.

Next, we pretended to be cold air molecules slowly walking around the room.  I asked A if we could fit more cold air molecules into the room without crashing into each other.  “Yes, we could fit a lot of us in here if we move slowly,” she replied.

“If you have a lot of molecules in a space it is denser than if you have less molecules.  So the hot air inside the cylinder spreads out and is less dense than the cooler air outside the cylinder,” I explained.  “The less dense hot air rises above the cooler, more dense air. ”

Make tea bags fly with this super cool kids science.

“Heating the cylinder also caused a convection current,” I continued.  “This is why ash flies up from a campfire.  When the air gets hot and spreads out it leaves space for the cooler air molecules to rush in.  This movement of air molecules creates a current that helps push the nearly ash tea bag {or campfire ash} into the air.”

“And that my little ghostbuster is how you make little ghosts fly!”

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13 Comments

  1. Ruby

    I Loved the tea bag ghost

    Reply
    • Ashley

      We are thrilled you enjoyed it, Ruby!
      Thanks for taking the time to let us know.
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply

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Hi, I’m Malia.

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