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!
Any one of these simple science experiments for kids can get children learning and excited about science. You can choose a science experiment based on your child’s specific interest or what they’re currently learning about, or you can do an experiment on an entirely new topic to expand their learning and teach them about a new area of science. From easy science experiments for kids to the more challenging ones, these will all help kids have fun and learn more about science.
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).
Refraction is when light changes direction and speed as it passes from one object to another. Only visible objects reflect light. When two materials with similar reflective properties come into contact, light will pass through both materials at the same speed, rendering the other material invisible. Check out this video from BritLab on how to turn glass invisible using vegetable oil and pyrex glass.
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!
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!
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.
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.
The latest science kits come kitted with all sorts of lab equipment like utensils, beakers, test tubes, filter funnels, safety glasses and a range of devices to make learning and experimenting exciting. One of my favorite ones is how to grow and watching how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, which is very beautiful. With so many to choose from, one is definitely going to fit your child’s needs.
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!
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 light refraction experiment takes only a few minutes to set up and uses basic materials, but it’s a great way to show kids how light travels. You’ll draw two arrows on a sticky note, stick it to the wall, then fill a clear water bottle with water. As you move the water bottle in front of the arrows, the arrows will appear to change the direction they’re pointing. This is because of the refraction that occurs when light passes through materials like water and plastic.
Sometimes classroom learning leaves out the fun and resources and funding limit the options, especially with crowded classrooms. This is why here we aim to highlight the importance of one to one teaching and a good student comes usually from a patient teacher. Wisdom and guidance combined with excellent equipment could save lives in years to come and what seed is planted today with creating the foundation for life to come in the future.
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.
If you do this sidewalk constellation craft, you’ll be able to see the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt in the daylight. On the sidewalk, have kids draw the lines of constellations (using constellation diagrams for guidance) and place stones where the stars are. You can then look at astronomy charts to see where the constellations they drew will be in the sky.
This kit also teaches your kids about the influential scientists who paved the way in the field, such as Francis Crick, James Watson, and Gregor Mendel. From genes, heredity, traits, and inheritance, to reproduction, cellular components, DNA sequencing, and genetic engineering—this kit will teach it all in a fun and educational way that your kids are sure to love.
There are many fun ways to get your children into natural science and Geodes are one way. This starter kit has 7 unique and fascinating ways to get discovered the mystery of the earth crust. Geodes are natural and a wonder to many who like to collect, but even as a one-off this is a great way to get kids thinking. This is fun and the breaking aspect always makes things interesting for those that need some initial enthusiasm.
Ah, slime. It’s the one thing that parents across the UK have been being pestered to make, so why not turn it into a science activity? For our concoction, we mixed shaving foam, PVA glue and a little bit of air freshener (fabric conditioner can work too!), to create a slime that you can swirl, stretch and crack, providing hours of fun. Try changing the quantities to see how the mixture changes, and ask the kids to explain the differences.
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.
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!
Making a borax snowflake is a crystal-growing project that is safe and easy enough for kids. You can make shapes other than snowflakes, and you can color the crystals. As a side note, if you use these as Christmas decorations and store them, the borax is a natural insecticide and will help keep your long-term storage area pest-free. If they develop a white precipitant, you can lightly rinse them (don't dissolve too much crystal). Did I mention the snowflakes sparkle really nicely?
Put the pencil across the top of a jar so that the string hangs down the middle of the jar. If it hangs down too far, roll the string around the pencil until the string is not touching the sides or bottom of the jar. The string will act as a seed for the crystal. Any type of jar will do, but canning jars are best since they can endure the hot temperatures. Tall skinny olive jars are also nice because they don’t use up so much of the liquid.
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
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.