If you’ve ever wondered how elephants keep their tusks clean, we’ve got the answer. They use elephant toothpaste! Find out how to mix your own and figure out the science behind this dynamic exothermic (heat releasing) reaction from Asia Citro at Fun at Home With Kids. Our favorite part? That you get to throw in some sensory playtime after the action’s over.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OST experiences also promote an appreciation for, and interest in, the pursuit of STEM in school and in daily life. They help learners understand the daily relevance of science to their lives, the depth and breadth of science as a field of inquiry, and what it might be like to choose to do science in the world, either as a professional or a citizen scientist.
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!
Have you ever gone into a cave and seen huge stalactites hanging from the top of the cave? Stalactites are formed by dripping water. The water is filled with particles which slowly accumulate and harden over the years, forming stalactites. You can recreate that process with this stalactite experiment. By mixing a baking soda solution, dipping a piece of wool yarn in the jar and running it to another jar, you’ll be able to observe baking soda particles forming and hardening along the yarn, similar to how stalactites grow.
This experiment is a great way for young kids to learn about static electricity, and it’s more fun and visual than just having them rub balloons against their heads. First you’ll create a butterfly, using thick paper (such as cardstock) for the body and tissue paper for the wings. Then, blow up the balloon, have the kids rub it against their head for a few seconds, then move the balloon to just above the butterfly’s wings. The wings will move towards the balloon due to static electricity, and it’ll look like the butterfly is flying.
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.
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.