The kitchen can be an ideal place for performing science experiments, with an adult’s help. For instance, with a few stalks of celery and some food coloring, you can watch capillary action happen almost before your eyes. Capillary action describes what happens as plants move water up from their roots to their leaves. Get four stalks of celery and cut off the bottoms so each stalk is 10 inches long. You’ll also need four identical cups, each filled with a half-cup of cool water. Decide what color you want to make the water, and then add the same number of drops of food coloring to each cup of water. Stir the water well with a spoon. Place one stalk of celery into each cup. After two hours, remove one stalk and label this one “two hours.” After four hours, remove another stalk and label it the same way. Do the same with the next stalk at six hours and the final stalk at eight hours. After you finish, compare the celery stalks to see how each one changed color, depending on how long it was in the colored water.
You won’t want to do this experiment near anything that’s difficult to clean (outside may be best), but kids will love seeing this “elephant toothpaste” crazily overflowing the bottle and oozing everywhere. Pour the hydrogen peroxide, food coloring, and dishwashing soap into the bottle, and in the cup mix the yeast packet with some warm water for about 30 seconds. Then, add the yeast mixture to the bottle, stand back, and watch the solution become a massive foamy mixture that pours out of the bottle! The “toothpaste” is formed when the yeast removed the oxygen bubbles from the hydrogen peroxide which created foam. This is an exothermic reaction, and it creates heat as well as foam (you can have kids notice that the bottle became warm as the reaction occurred).
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.
Adults and kids will learn amazing new things about basic and acidic solutions with the Mind-Blowing Science Kit. Whether erupting an under-water volcano or growing colorful, jiggly crystals, this science kit mixes learning with experimentation in a fun and colorful way for a wide range of ages. Each of the hands-on activities in the science guide is intended to be performed by a young scientist under adult supervision, although these activities can be adjusted to accommodate a range of ages and capabilities while still maintaining the educational excitement of the original experiments.
Kids will love shooting pom poms out of these homemade popsicle stick catapults. After assembling the catapults out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and plastic spoons, they’re ready to launch pom poms or other lightweight objects. To teach kids about simple machines, you can ask them about how they think the catapults work, what they should do to make the pom poms go a farther/shorter distance, and how the catapult could be made more powerful.
Insect hotels can be as simple (just a few sticks wrapped in a bundle) or as elaborate as you’d like, and they’re a great way for kids to get creative making the hotel and then get rewarded by seeing who has moved into the home they built. After creating a hotel with hiding places for bugs, place it outside (near a garden is often a good spot), wait a few days, then check it to see who has occupied the “rooms.” You can also use a bug ID book or app to try and identify the visitors.
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!
By mixing just flour, salt, and water, you’ll create a basic salt dough that’ll harden when baked. You can use this dough to make homemade dinosaur bones and teach kids about paleontology. You can use books or diagrams to learn how different dinosaur bones were shaped, and you can even bury the bones in a sandpit or something similar and then excavate them the way real paleontologists do.
There is a wide range of price and quality, which is normally reflected on each other and the higher the price the better the quality. However, kids are surprisingly happy with what they get and if the budget is low to make sure you’re enthusiasm is high. Kids love when you get involved and make the science magic happen, so ideally get enthusiastic.
This solar energy science experiment will teach kids about solar energy and how different colors absorb different amounts of energy. In a sunny spot outside, place six colored pieces of paper next to each other, and place an ice cube in the middle of each paper. Then, observe how quickly each of the ice cubes melt. The ice cube on the black piece of paper will melt fastest since black absorbs the most light (all the light ray colors), while the ice cube on the white paper will melt slowest since white absorbs the least light (it instead reflects light). You can then explain why certain colors look the way they do. (Colors besides black and white absorb all light except for the one ray color they reflect; this is the color they appear to us.)
If your kids are learning about genetics, you can do this edible double helix craft to show them how DNA is formed, what its different parts are, and what it looks like. The licorice will form the sides or backbone of the DNA and each color of marshmallow will represent one of the four chemical bases. Kids will be able to see that only certain chemical bases pair with each other.
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.
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.
Making an electromagnet at home is fun and easy. Most magnets, like the ones on many refrigerators, cannot be turned off; they are called permanent magnets. This one can be and is therefor called an electromagnet. They run on electricity and are only magnetic when the electricity is flowing. The electricity flowing through the wire arranges the molecules in the nail so that they are attracted to certain metals.
Volcanoes are made to erupt, and that’s exactly what’ll happen in this fun science experiment for kids! John and his kids show us how to make an erupting volcano, using vinegar, baking powder, washing up liquid and water, plus a splash of red food colouring for dramatic effect. Add playdough or plasticine to turn your plastic bottle into a more realistic volcano scene, especially if you plan to use this as a science project for school!
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.
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.
Geode Kits – For any child who thinks rocks are boring – a kit where they can break open their own geode is a great way to change their mind. National Geographic is a great choice if this is the type of kit you are looking for. Their products include hand-picked geodes and come with safety goggles and a stand for your child to proudly display their treasures. A great choice for children aged around 6 years old and above, they’re sure to be more interested in Earth science after this experiment.
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.