To celebrate Roald Dahl Day on the 13th of September, I’ve put together a fun collection of Roald Dahl science experiments and activity ideas.
My 8-year-old is currently devouring Roald Dahl books, and I remember spending many happy hours reading them as a child, so this collection has been great fun to put together and a real trip down memory lane.
I also have some easy Roald Dahl themed fine motor control activity ideas suitable for younger children.
If you like the idea of edible experiments for kids, you’ll love my new book Snackable Science!
Roald Dahl Science Experiments
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Activities
Chocolate covered strawberries and changes of state
Learn about changes of state by melting chocolate and then using it to cover strawberries.
- Investigate whether chocolate sets on a strawberry faster inside a fridge or out in the open.
- Find out what happens if the chocolate and strawberries are frozen.
- Experiment with white, dark and milk chocolate to discover if one type of chocolate sets faster than another.
Extension ideas – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Science
Try adding a little golden syrup to the chocolate. Does this affect the texture and taste?
Photo thanks to The Crazy Kitchen
Making Giant Sweets
Find out how to make small gummy sweets expand by leaving them in cold and warm water for a couple of hours. What happens? Our gummy bear doubled in size but didn’t taste as good as when it was small.
- Experiment with different types of sweets. Try gummy sweets, hard sweets and sweets covered in sugar.
- Place some sweets in warm water and some cold and time how long it takes for them to reach a certain size.
Place some coloured sweets in water and watch as the colour dissolves into the water.
- Record how long it takes for the colour to fill the plate using warm and cold water.
- Experiment with different types of sweets.
More Skittle science ideas
Watch for the sugar ‘S’ floating on the water as it separates from the sweets.
Shrinking Crisp Packets!!!
Do you remember the part of the story where Mike TV shrinks himself? Why not try this fun, crisp packet shrinking activity from The Mad House, or dehydrate grapes to make raisins?
If you don’t fancy shrinking crisp packets, we’ve used shrinky art sheets before to make key rings, which worked well.
Willy Wonka Playdough
I love, love, love this Willy Wonka inspired play dough from The Imagination Tree.
Try smelling it, mixing the colours or use forces to squash, push and pull it. A fun idea is to make a shape using the least number of movements you can.
Make Your Own Great Glass Elevator
Design and build a pulley system to lift a homemade elevator.
Think carefully about which materials to use to make the elevator see through. This is a great opportunity to learn about transparent and opaque materials.
Georges Marvellous Medicine Experiments – Roald Dahl Science Experiments
Make a delicious ( or disgusting ) smelling potion using herbs and flowers from the garden.
If you want to make it extra special try adding baking soda and vinegar for some fizzy fun!
Add some scents to small jars and see if children can guess the smell. We used lemon juice, lime juice, vanilla essence and peppermint essence.
The Enormous Crocodile Activities
The Enormous Crocodile camouflages himself throughout the story so the children don’t spot him. Can you experiment with camouflage? Try leaving different coloured wool threads in the garden, which are the hardest to find?
Another idea is to camouflage an object so it’s hard for a friend to find.
The Enormous Crocodile See Saw
The Enormous Crocodile pretends to be a see-saw in part of the story. A simple idea for this is to ask children to design and build a sea saw with recycled materials.
Danny the Champion of the World Activities
Ask children to design a pheasant catching device? They can think about how to entice the pheasants into a box, perhaps by using a certain smell or food.
James and the Giant Peach Activities
Make a peach fly using helium filled balloons, or can you design and test a parachute for a peach?
Make a Wormery
Learn about earthworms by making a own wormery.
The Twits Activities
Mr Twit has a dirty beard with bits of food clinging to it. Discover what happens when food decays in this rotting apple investigation.
Make wormy spaghetti
Make some wormy spaghetti like Mrs Twit did for Mr Twit. To make this simply cook spaghetti in water and a bit of food colouring and add some pretend worms and a little vegetable oil for a fun sensory activity.
How to make worms from juice
Teach Beside Me makes some fantastic worms from juice!
Make glue and an upside down house
Muggle Wump turns The Twits house upside down using Hug-Tight Sticky Glue. Can you investigate which sticky substance makes the best glue to turn a dolls house upside down? We tried blu-tack, glu-dots and sellotape.
You can also make glue from milk! Try investigating how long this will hold a piece of dolls furniture upside down for.
The BFG Activities
The BFG blows dreams from bottles into children’s rooms, I imagine these bottles to be filled with a sparkly, glittery potion, maybe a bit like this lava lamp? What do you think?
Could you make a nightmare version using black or dark green food colouring?
How tall is the BFG?
Sophie fits inside the BFG’s shirt pocket, if she is the size of an average 8 year old, how tall ( roughly ) do you think the BFG is?
Did you know human arm span is often equal to height. You can test yours with this simple ape index activity. Do you think the BFG would have a similar ape index to humans?
Matilda reads a lot of books but did you know you can stack books on eggshells without them breaking?
Do you remember the part where Miss Trunchbull swings Amanda Thripp around be her pigtails? Try filling up a bucket of water and swinging it around in a circle over your head without the water spilling?
The reason this works is because of centripetal force. If the rate of rotation is high enough that the centripetal force is at least as great as gravity the water won’t spill out of the bucket.
More Roald Dahl Science Activities
This is actually not a book I have read, but I noticed Rainy Day Mum has some lovely Minpin inspired activities on her site.
Anna at The Imagination Tree has a great post about her Willy Wonka inspired birthday party.
If you need a costume for World Book Day, how about this Fantastic Mr Fox mask from Red Ted Art.
Which is your favourite Roald Dahl book?
Can you think of any more Roald Dahl science experiments for us?
Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Emma Vanstone