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.
We saw one on Play School (Aussie TV show) last week and it was pretty cool. Have a flat small-medium sized white dish. Fill it with water and put four M+Ms in it (red, yellow, blue, green) spread out on the edges. Watch the magic happen as the colour moves out of the M+Ms and towards the centre. None of the colours mix so you get four quarters of bright colour. – Amanda
Ever got an electric shock off something? Demonstrate the science behind the shocks with this jumping frogs experiment. With just a balloon, some sugar paper and a woolly jumper, you’ll have frogs leaping in no time demonstrating the power of static electricity. It doesn’t have to be frogs either, let your imagination run wild to create some other jumping stars of this easy science experiment!
By building a lung model, you can teach kids about respiration and how their lungs work. After cutting off the bottom of a plastic bottle, you’ll stretch a balloon around the opened end and insert another balloon through the mouth of the bottle. You’ll then push a straw through the neck of the bottle and secure it with a rubber band and play dough. By blowing into the straw, the balloons will inflate then deflate, similar to how our lungs work.
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.
This experiment teaches kids about weather and lets them learn how clouds form by making their own rain cloud. This is definitely a science project that requires adult supervision since it uses boiling water as one of the ingredients, but once you pour the water into a glass jar, the experiment is fast and easy, and you’ll be rewarded with a little cloud forming in the jar due to condensation.
You could even step into the living room to have more scientific fun. Learn about static electricity with some tiny scraps of paper and a balloon. Blow up the balloon and tie it closed. Make a small pile of paper scraps on the floor, and rub the balloon back and forth several times on your hair or on a sweater. Immediately move the balloon to the paper and watch as the paper scraps cling to the balloon. Rub the balloon on your head or sweater again and then place it against the wall to see it stick there. This surprising sticking happens because you have moved electrons around and the balloon now has more of a negative charge, while the paper or the wall has more of a positive charge. Putting the two surfaces together makes the opposite charges stick to each other.
Science is a wonderful thing for kids! There is so much to learn and discover right around us. Many science concepts start in the kitchen with simple materials you already have on hand. Fill a plastic tote with easy to find supplies and you will have a homemade kids science kit filled with learning opportunities that are sure to keep them busy all year long!