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.
Your whistler has the basics of air pressure down just by using their mouth to blow. And now you can amaze them with this egg-cellent experiment. There is a little fire play involved (dropping a lit paper into the bottle), but that’s what causes the unbalanced air pressure, which pushes the egg into the bottle. Want to test it out? Head over to The Scientific Mom and get the step by step.
Adults who are supervising experiments do not need to be science gurus. In addition to step-by-step instructions for each experiment, the detailed science guide included with this kit provides adults with "mind blowing science secrets" that help to answer questions about what's happening in each experiment. All of the materials and experiments involve basic scientific concepts associated with acidic and basic liquids and are arranged to present these concepts in sequential order. The descriptions included in the science guide give background information related to each reaction and offer questions that adults can ask to help encourage fun learning during experimentation.
This celery science experiment is another classic science experiment that parents and teachers like because it’s easy to do and gives kids a great visual understanding of how transpiration works and how plants get water and nutrients. Just place celery stalks in cups of colored water, wait at least a day, and you’ll see the celery leaves take on the color of the water. This happens because celery stalks (like other plants) contain small capillaries that they use to transport water and nutrients throughout the plant.
Find out how plants “drink” water with some food coloring. Use carnations, roses, or stalks of celery submerged in the colored water and watch the liquid slowly seep through the plant’s “veins” and towards the leaves. Keep an eye out -- you could have a very colorful bouquet just after the first day. Get the rundown by Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments over here.
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.
You’ve probably seen the label that says “fortified with iron” on your cereal box, but how much iron is actually in your cereal? Is there enough to cause a magnetic reaction? This super easy experiment doesn’t require too many fancy ingredients (cereal + magnet) which means you and the kiddos can try it right away. The results may surprise you! Get the how-to at Rookie Parenting and get started!
This is one of the quick and easy and science experiments for kids to teach them about weather. It only takes about five minutes and a few materials to set up, but once you have it ready you and your kids can create your own miniature tornado whose vortex you can see and the strength of which you can change depending on how quickly you swirl the jar.
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.)
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.
Did you know that a simple potato can produce enough energy to keep a light bulb lit for over a month? You can create a simple potato battery to show kids. There are kits that provide all the necessary materials and how to set it up, but if you don’t purchase one of these it can be a bit trickier to gather everything you need and assemble it correctly. Once it’s set though, you’ll have your own farm grown battery!
By creating an articulated hand model, you can teach kids about bones, joints, and how our hands are able to move in many ways and accomplish so many different tasks. After creating a hand out of thin foam, kids will cut straws to represent the different bones in the hand and glue them to the fingers of the hand models. You’ll then thread yarn (which represents tendons) through the straws, stabilize the model with a chopstick or other small stick, and end up with a hand model that moves and bends the way actual human hands do.
Homemade Kits – There are probably loads of objects around your home already, which can be used to set up your own science experiments. These include things like salt, baking soda, vinegar, soap, cornstarch and of course food dye to make things more interesting! You’ll also need some basic equipment like tweezers, ramekins or small tubs, a funnel and a dropper for example. There are too many home science experiments to discuss here, but with these basic supplies you’ll find you can perform some really cool experiments to amaze the kids!
Red cabbage powder (0.25oz/7g), citric acid (2oz/59ml), baking soda (2oz/59ml), 3 color tablets, cross-linked polyacrylamide co-polymer (0.5oz/14g), vegetable oil (2oz/59ml), corn starch (2oz/59ml), paper, 2 cotton swabs, 3 test tubes with caps, test tube stand, 3 plastic cups, pipette, stir 2 sticks, small and medium plastic measuring scoops and activity guide.
The good news is that your white lab coat doesn’t have to sit in the closet collecting dust. There are a lot of fun, simple, and hands-on science projects families can do together to learn and understand some of the basic principals of the natural world. And they’re not just for kids: even moms and dads will get a kick out of these 10 family-friendly science experiments!