The Empty Box Candle Snuffer

The Action

Blow out a candle by using nothing but an empty box!

Grade Level

Grade 2 - Air and Water


Empty shoe box

Birthday candle


Masking tape


Show an open, empty box to the students and ask, "What is in the box?" (Anticipated answer: nothing!) Make a small hole in the side of the box (about ½ cm in diameter) at the same height as the birthday candle to be used. Tape the top of the box shut. Light the birthday candle and place it 5 cm away from the box in front of the hole. Hit the box top (with an open hand) with a sudden tap. The lighting and snuffing of the candle may be repeated by repeating the above two steps.


Care must be taken as fire is involved so take precautions not to burn yourself.


If the candle doesn't snuff out with the first sudden tap on the top of the box, the box may be too far away from the candle. Simply, move the box a little closer (approx. 5 cm).

Science Principle

The shoebox is occupied with air and by tapping the top of it; the air was forced through the little hole, blowing the flame out, just like when we pucker up our lips to blow out a candle. By tapping the box, the volume of it suddenly becomes smaller for a short moment and this action forces the air out. This shows that air is occupying all the space around us, even in an empty box.

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