Lightning is essentially electrons moving uber fast between the sky and the earth—and with a few simple materials, you can use homemade static electricity (the reason behind your hair sticking up when you rub a balloon or go through a tunnel slide super fast) for DIY lightning. Figure how to recreate a family-friendly version of this spark by visiting activity blog Learn Play Imagine.
There are a lot of science kits for kids out there, so it can be difficult to work out which brands are the best. Some of our favorites for realistic experiments include 4M and National Geographic. For younger kids, the Kids First brand has a lot of good value kits to choose from. The brand Sick Tricks is also a great choice for kids looking to impress their friends or parents with new tricks and experiments. For robotic science kits, Cozmo and LEGO are great options.
For this saltwater density experiment, you’ll fill four clear glasses with water, then add salt to one glass, sugar to one glass, and baking soda to one glass, leaving one glass with just water. Then, float small plastic pieces or grapes in each of the glasses and observe whether they float or not. Saltwater is denser than freshwater, which means some objects may float in saltwater that would sink in freshwater. You can use this experiment to teach kids about the ocean and other bodies of saltwater, such as the Dead Sea, which is so salty people can easily float on top of it.
For this magic milk experiment, partly fill a shallow dish with milk, then add a one drop of each food coloring color to different parts of the milk. The food coloring will mostly stay where you placed it. Next, carefully add one drop of dish soap to the middle of the milk. It’ll cause the food coloring to stream through the milk and away from the dish soap. This is because the dish soap breaks up the surface tension of the milk by dissolving the milk’s fat molecules.
What better way to teach your kids about science than with more than 70 experiments in a big bag? The Big Bag of Science contains scientific ingredients and a book of 30 pages filled with experiments like soda geysers, twisting tornadoes, growing jelly marbles, vanishing liquids, and more! The instructions are easy-to-follow and color-coded so your child will easily complete the experiment without any trouble. The book explains what’s going on in each experiment so they understand why and how things work.
My nieces are seven years old and into science. The experiments were easy and straightforward - easily read and done by the kids but adult supervision is probably a good idea. Mind blowing? Not so sure about that but very cool for the budding scientist. Perfect kit to start with. I think it's a cool way to encourage girls to love science and math. Boys will love it too - an exploding volcano! - so it really is great for the whole family. Younger kids could definitely participate with the aforementioned supervision. We LOVED it!
You’ve probably tried a salt crystal growing kit at some point in your life (5th grade Science Fair perhaps?) but Schooling a Monkey takes the idea to a new level with these Salt Crystal Feathers. This awe-inspiring project is deceptively simple and inexpensive to achieve, and requires just a wee bit of patience to see the results—kids will love checking in on the progress. Visit Schooling a Monkey now to get started.
Like the popular baking soda and vinegar experiments, this film canister rocket literally takes it to the next level by using that creation of gas and energy to jet off into the sky. If your explorer has seen videos of mountain tops getting blown off during a volcanic eruption, this science project is pretty much any space lover’s version. Get the building instructions over at kids science activity blog The Science Kiddo. 

This simple experiment teaches kids about inertia (as well as the importance of seatbelts!). Take a small wagon, fill it with a tall stack of books, then have one of your children pull it around then stop abruptly. They won’t be able to suddenly stop the wagon without the stack of books falling. You can have the kids predict which direction they think the books will fall and explain that this happens because of inertia, or Newton’s first law.
Children aged 9+ start to want more detailed experiments and activities, which shows they are ready to begin real-science. Whether they have interests in physics, chemistry or robotics there is always something to get them started on their way. Some tops are harder than others and make sure you read all the features and facts so that you find the ideal gift for your child.
Everyone can get ahold of a few potatoes, and what better way to use them (aside from consumption, that is) than to make them into an operating clock? It’s easy and only requires the use of a few things many people have handy, or, if you need to go to the electronics store to purchase an LED clock anyway, you can get the alligator clips and electrodes there, as well.
This experiment is a great way for young kids to learn about static electricity, and it’s more fun and visual than just having them rub balloons against their heads. First you’ll create a butterfly, using thick paper (such as cardstock) for the body and tissue paper for the wings. Then, blow up the balloon, have the kids rub it against their head for a few seconds, then move the balloon to just above the butterfly’s wings. The wings will move towards the balloon due to static electricity, and it’ll look like the butterfly is flying.

The word “oobleck” comes from a Dr. Seuss story where a young boy must rescue his kingdom from a sticky substance. But the neat part of this experiment is how oobleck reacts to vibrations. Put the oobleck over a subwoofer (on top a cookie sheet!) and watch it dance to difference frequencies. Your dancer will see how sound isn’t just about volume! Check out more of this awesome experiment from Tammy of Housing a Forest.
Dry ice is already cool enough on its own (yes, pun intended) but it takes science to turn them a rad overflow of bubbles. When you add water, it changes the temperature of the dry ice, causing the ice to go from solid to gas. That’s where the fog and bubbles come from! Head to crafty blog Simply Modern Mom to get the full tutorial. But be careful: Dry ice can cause serious skin burns, so make sure your kids are well supervised and know not to touch the ice.
Scientific Explorer's Mind Blowing Science Kit includes almost everything you need to set up exciting, colorful experiments with your young scientist. Included in this dynamic kit are the following components: red cabbage juice powder, citric acid, color tablets, polyacrylamide crystals, a pipette, small and medium scoops, and three plastic cups. Only basic supplies are required but not included, such as water, towels, a plate or tray to catch spills, and a stirring spoon. Although none of the experiments included in this kit are especially messy, each one should be done on a flat surface that can be easily wiped clean in case of spills.
But the point is, I had not done any of these experiments with my daughter until we got this box. This has everything in one box, with all the equipment-- including a stand for the test tubes, which another review didn't have for some reason. (And get a little bag superabsorbent polymers, too. Those little buggers are fun but somehow end up everywhere). It's fun, it's easy, there are some experiments that require patience, which is really good for this age group. We are most of the way through the kit, doing maybe three experiments a week, and now I am shopping for more kits. Because even though I have the equipment, the books, and the education to diy the whole thing... the kit is easy, fun, and we actually DO it.
Younger children are most likely to be interested in something which is very hands-on, and gives results quickly. They probably won’t be interested in growing a crystal, and are probably a bit young for something like a robot building kit. Young kids will be most likely to enjoy a gross science kit, or a volcano kit. Also think about safety features when buying for younger children. Make sure they won’t eat anything they shouldn’t, or there are no small parts which could be dangerous.
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