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.
Children aged 9+ start to want more detailed experiments and activities, which shows they are ready to begin real-science. Whether they have interests in physics, chemistry or robotics there is always something to get them started on their way. Some tops are harder than others and make sure you read all the features and facts so that you find the ideal gift for your child.
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.
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.
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.
If your kids are curious about how animals like polar bears and seals stay warm in polar climates, you can go beyond just explaining it to them; you can actually have them make some of their own blubber and test it out. After you’ve filled up a large bowl with ice water and let it sit for a few minutes to get really cold, have your kids dip a bare hand in and see how many seconds they can last before their hand gets too cold. Next, coat one of their fingers in shortening and repeat the experiment. Your child will notice that, with the shortening acting like a protective layer of blubber, they don’t feel the cold water nearly as much.
Is it a liquid or solid? The answer is both! This DIY slime—made from glue, borax and water—is also known as a polymer (molecules that can stick close together to be a solid or spread apart and take liquid form). And it’s all thanks to borax, which acts as a binder to prevent the glue from going completely liquid. Check out Explorable’s recipe on mixing the ingredients. Prolong the life of your goo by keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge.
The word “oobleck” comes from a Dr. Seuss story where a young boy must rescue his kingdom from a sticky substance. But the neat part of this experiment is how oobleck reacts to vibrations. Put the oobleck over a subwoofer (on top a cookie sheet!) and watch it dance to difference frequencies. Your dancer will see how sound isn’t just about volume! Check out more of this awesome experiment from Tammy of Housing a Forest.
'Tis the season for gumdrops and this classic structural engineering challenge uses just two ingredients: toothpicks and candy. We’re particularly fond of this one from The Homeschool Scientist because it helps you explain what the concepts (engineering, load distribution, physics, shape comparison) are to your kiddos while they are building it. doing it. Visit The Homeschool Scientist to get going. And click here for five more gumdrop-themed challenges.
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!
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.
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.