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.
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.
Below are 37 of the best science projects for kids to try. For each one we include a description of the experiment, which area(s) of science it teaches kids about, how difficult it is (easy/medium/hard), how messy it is (low/medium/high), and the materials you need to do the project. Note that experiments labelled “hard” are definitely still doable; they just require more materials or time than most of these other science experiments for kids.
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.
Kids this age will probably enjoy a whole range of different science kits. It’s good to look for something which will help with what they are learning about at school. Pre-teens are becoming more and more independent, so it might be worth looking for an experiment kit which is simple enough for them to do alone, but still hard enough to keep them entertained and learning.
If your snacker has noticed how their apples have turned brown after being left out for too long, then they’ve seen oxidization in action (loss of electrons and nutrients when in contact with oxygen). Fortunately, lemon juice only oxidizes when in contact with heat. This method works with baking soda and milk too. Click here to find out how to write secret messages with your little spy.
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!
When these nails and copper wires collide, heat is generated (psst ... heat is a result of expended energy, so you can explain to your little runner why he feels warmer after a race around the house). But with some potato magic, the properties of the nail and copper stay separated, allowing the heat to become the electric energy needed to power up your devices. Build your own potato battery with this tutorial from PBS Kids.
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!