'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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
These sound like big words for our little ones, but there’s an easier way to break it down. Water and oil won’t mix because they’re not the same “weight” or substance (just like clay and LEGOs won’t become one). Now add a drop of food coloring (which is heavier than oil) and a fizzy tablet and watch the air bubbles take coloring with them to the top. Head on over to S. L. Smith’s blog to see how it’s done.
With a combination of a solid fuel source and a liquid oxidizer, hybrid rocket engines can propel themselves. And on a small scale, you can create your own hybrid rocket engine, using pasta, mouthwash and yeast. Sadly, it won’t propel much, but who said rocket science ain’t easy? Check out this video from NightHawkInLight on how to make this mini engine.
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.
It happens to the Statue of Liberty and it happens to the change in your pocket! Create your own home lab with just a few household ingredients (this experiment will literally cost you just pennies). It’s also a chemical reaction with very non-toxic ingredients, so it’s safe and fascinating even for young kids. Click over to Buggy and Buddy to get the simple how-to.
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.
Making an electromagnet at home is fun and easy. Most magnets, like the ones on many refrigerators, cannot be turned off; they are called permanent magnets. This one can be and is therefor called an electromagnet. They run on electricity and are only magnetic when the electricity is flowing. The electricity flowing through the wire arranges the molecules in the nail so that they are attracted to certain metals.
Volcanoes are made to erupt, and that’s exactly what’ll happen in this fun science experiment for kids! John and his kids show us how to make an erupting volcano, using vinegar, baking powder, washing up liquid and water, plus a splash of red food colouring for dramatic effect. Add playdough or plasticine to turn your plastic bottle into a more realistic volcano scene, especially if you plan to use this as a science project for school!
This is an easy experiment that’ll appeal to kids of a variety of ages. Just take a zip-lock bag, fill it about ⅔ of the way with water, and close the top. Next, poke a few sharp objects (like bamboo skewers or sharp pencils) through one end and out the other. At this point you may want to dangle the bag above your child’s head, but no need to worry about spills because the bag won’t leak? Why not? It’s because the plastic used to make zip-lock bags is made of polymers, or long chains of molecules that’ll quickly join back together when they’re forced apart.
It takes a few hours to see the results of this leaf experiment, but it couldn’t be easier to set up, and kids will love to see a leaf actually “breathing.” Just get a large-ish leaf, place it in a bowl (glass works best so you can see everything) filled with water, place a small rock on the leaf to weigh it down, and leave it somewhere sunny. Come back in a few hours and you’ll see little bubbles in the water created when the leaf releases the oxygen it created during photosynthesis.
Chemistry Kits – Perhaps the most classic of the science kit options, these are great for kids who are interested in learning about how things work. There is a huge range of kits in this bracket, ranging in features and suitability. There is a chemistry kit for just about any child, and with a bit of research it’s easy to find one to suit your child’s age and ability.