With a combination of a solid fuel source and a liquid oxidizer, hybrid rocket engines can propel themselves. And on a small scale, you can create your own hybrid rocket engine, using pasta, mouthwash and yeast. Sadly, it won’t propel much, but who said rocket science ain’t easy? Check out this video from NightHawkInLight on how to make this mini engine.
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.
Chemistry Kits – Perhaps the most classic of the science kit options, these are great for kids who are interested in learning about how things work. There is a huge range of kits in this bracket, ranging in features and suitability. There is a chemistry kit for just about any child, and with a bit of research it’s easy to find one to suit your child’s age and ability.
In this quick and fun science experiment, kids will mix water, oil, food coloring, and antacid tablets to create their own (temporary) lava lamp. Oil and water don’t mix easily, and the antacid tablets will cause the oil to form little globules that are dyed by the food coloring. Just add the ingredients together and you’ll end up with a homemade lava lamp!
With just some basic materials you can create your own musical instrument to teach kids about sound waves. In this water xylophone experiment, you’ll fill glass jars with varying levels of water. Once they’re all lined up, kids can hit the sides with wooden sticks and see how the itch differs depending on how much water is in the jar (more water=lower pitch, less water=higher pitch). This is because sound waves travel differently depending on how full the jars are with water.
It takes a few hours to see the results of this leaf experiment, but it couldn’t be easier to set up, and kids will love to see a leaf actually “breathing.” Just get a large-ish leaf, place it in a bowl (glass works best so you can see everything) filled with water, place a small rock on the leaf to weigh it down, and leave it somewhere sunny. Come back in a few hours and you’ll see little bubbles in the water created when the leaf releases the oxygen it created during photosynthesis.
If you’ve ever wondered why someone can measure and pour ingredients into a bowl, mix them up, and then bake the batter in the oven to make a cake, you’ve thought about science. The process of mixing certain ingredients together and adding heat causes the ingredients to react and change. For example, baking powder or baking soda in a cake recipe will react with acidic or wet things in the batter to puff it up and make the cake light and fluffy. Scientists tested these reactions so many times that they learned what would happen every time. This is called experimentation, and you can do it, too.
Don’t be crodsquinkled, as these dream potion experiments are the best way to bring the bizarrely brilliant world of the BFG to life. These easy to make concoctions will whizz, fizz and pop before your eyes, creating exciting chemical reactions that will have all kids squealing with delight. Again made using things you’ll find at home or can pick up from the supermarket, this is an easy project to try with the kids. Be warned though - this is one of the messiest science experiments for kids on the list!
The kit includes components that can be used to breed bacteria and experiment with genetic engineering. If you know a child who’re itching to investigate the field of genetics, then this product might serve as a great gift. The Thames & Kosmos Biology Genetics and DNA kit takes children on a journey through reproduction biology, chromosomes and cell components.
Let’s be honest, we’re all secretly waiting for the hovercraft to be a bonafide mode of transport, but in the meantime why not try this Balloon Hovercraft experiment at home? Using just a balloon, a bottle cap and a CD, you’ll be able to create a hovercraft that glides across the table to move, and with just 3 easy steps to follow, it’s perfect for a quick at-home activity.
Disgusting Kits – These kits are great for young boys especially, who love everything gross! They will love to create horrible slime and sludge to gross out their friends, and parents! They tend to feature things like brains and snot – sure to be popular with little ones! Parents will love that their kids can explore disgusting substances in a fun, safe and educational way.
With just a package of Starbursts and a few other materials, you can create models of each of the three rock types: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Sedimentary “rocks” will be created by pressing thin layers of Starbursts together, metamorphic by heating and pressing Starbursts, and igneous by applying high levels of heat to the Starbursts. Kids will learn how different types of rocks are forms and how the three rock types look different from each other.
Sir Isaac Newton discovered many integral concepts that are important for scientific discovery today, and this kit teaches them all: inertia, momentum, kinetic energy, and potential energy. This Engino Newton’s Law Kit is perfect for the kids who are very hands-on and like to build things. Your kids will understand how classical mechanics works by constructing their own catapult, balloon powered plane, drag racing car, crash car, and more.
This grow-your-own experiment that lets you grow crystals inside an egg shell. Be sure to get alum powder that contains potassium, or else you won't get any crystal growth. Adding drops of food dye to the growing solution yields some super cool crystals. A perfectly formed geode takes about 12-15 hours to grow, making this a great weekend project. Check out more of Art and Soul's gorgeous eggs over at their blog!
As you wonder and ask questions, experiments will let you watch chemical reactions as they happen. Even something as simple as writing a secret message on the bathroom mirror with a cotton swab and dish detergent can teach you about science. When the bathroom fills with warm steam from a shower, your message will appear like magic on the mirror. It’s not really magic, though. The dish detergent on the mirror is preventing water molecules in the steam from sticking together, so you can see the letters you wrote earlier.
Wonderful ideas! As a former science teacher, science department chair and system-wide science supervisor,; I salute you! It is mothers like you who keep the spark of investigation going in the eyes of our children. I love, love love hands-on science! You are training the scientists of tomorrow…or maybe the artists…doesn’t matter, we need both! Suggestion: let them see how many drops of water they can get on a penny. All you need is a penny, a medicine dropper and water. Oh, and a very steady hand and table that doesn’t shake. Then fill a jar with water (almost to the top) and predict how many pennies they can put in until the water overflows. Good lesson in surface tension and cohesion. You will need a steady hand, sturdy surface and a lot of pennies! I have some others, but no enough space.
Penguins, and many other birds, have special oil-producing glands that coat their feathers with a protective layer that causes water to slide right off them, keeping them warm and dry. You can demonstrate this to kids with this penguin craft by having them color a picture of a penguin with crayons, then spraying the picture with water. The wax from the crayons will have created a protective layer like the oil actual birds coat themselves with, and the paper won’t absorb the water.
It happens to the Statue of Liberty and it happens to the change in your pocket! Create your own home lab with just a few household ingredients (this experiment will literally cost you just pennies). It’s also a chemical reaction with very non-toxic ingredients, so it’s safe and fascinating even for young kids. Click over to Buggy and Buddy to get the simple how-to.