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.
Insect hotels can be as simple (just a few sticks wrapped in a bundle) or as elaborate as you’d like, and they’re a great way for kids to get creative making the hotel and then get rewarded by seeing who has moved into the home they built. After creating a hotel with hiding places for bugs, place it outside (near a garden is often a good spot), wait a few days, then check it to see who has occupied the “rooms.” You can also use a bug ID book or app to try and identify the visitors.
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.
Another physics kit that is sure to interest your child if they enjoy the Engino Newton’s Law Kit is the Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Kit. This one teaches your kids about chain reactions and moving machines while also encouraging creativity and ingenuity by building their own. Plus it uses LEGO bricks they can play with when they’re done experimenting.
Wonderful ideas! As a former science teacher, science department chair and system-wide science supervisor,; I salute you! It is mothers like you who keep the spark of investigation going in the eyes of our children. I love, love love hands-on science! You are training the scientists of tomorrow…or maybe the artists…doesn’t matter, we need both! Suggestion: let them see how many drops of water they can get on a penny. All you need is a penny, a medicine dropper and water. Oh, and a very steady hand and table that doesn’t shake. Then fill a jar with water (almost to the top) and predict how many pennies they can put in until the water overflows. Good lesson in surface tension and cohesion. You will need a steady hand, sturdy surface and a lot of pennies! I have some others, but no enough space.
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
Not only will your kids build these physics machines, but they’ll also learn about the theories and facts behind each by understanding Newton’s Laws. For ages 8 and up, the Engino Newton’s Law Kit will teach your kids the effects of potential and kinetic energy by conducting one of the 8 included experiments. By the end, they’ll understand how energy is transferred from one car to another during a crash, or how an object gets catapulted from its machine.
Rock kits – This area tends to include those already covered such as geodes and geology kits, as well as crystal growing sets. They might also include rock collections, which your child can identify then how off their knowledge. Another great product coming under this category is the rock tumbler. Using this special machine, kids can turn ordinary rocks into shiny gemstones. Kids can then get creative and turn their new rocks into keychains, jewellery, or anything they fancy. A great way to combine science and art.
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.
You don’t need a storm to see lightning; you can actually create your own lightning at home. For younger kids this experiment requires adult help and supervision. You’ll stick a thumbtack through the bottom of an aluminum tray, then stick the pencil eraser to the pushpin. You’ll then rub the piece of wool over the aluminum tray, and then set the tray on the Styrofoam, where it’ll create a small spark/tiny bolt of lightning!
Like the popular baking soda and vinegar experiments, this film canister rocket literally takes it to the next level by using that creation of gas and energy to jet off into the sky. If your explorer has seen videos of mountain tops getting blown off during a volcanic eruption, this science project is pretty much any space lover’s version. Get the building instructions over at kids science activity blog The Science Kiddo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A nature journal is a great way to encourage kids to be creative and really pay attention to what’s going on around them. All you need is a blank journal (you can buy one or make your own) along with something to write with. Then just go outside and encourage your children to write or draw what they notice. This could include descriptions of animals they see, tracings of leaves, a drawing of a beautiful flower, etc. Encourage your kids to ask questions about what they observe (Why do birds need to build nests? Why is this flower so brightly colored?) and explain to them that scientists collect research by doing exactly what they’re doing now.
Penguins, and many other birds, have special oil-producing glands that coat their feathers with a protective layer that causes water to slide right off them, keeping them warm and dry. You can demonstrate this to kids with this penguin craft by having them color a picture of a penguin with crayons, then spraying the picture with water. The wax from the crayons will have created a protective layer like the oil actual birds coat themselves with, and the paper won’t absorb the water.
My First Mind Blowing Science Kit also comes with cool scientific tools like test tubes, pipettes, stirring sticks, and measuring scoops that will make your child feel like a real chemist. Not only will they learn important skills in conducting experiments, they will also learn the basics of acids and bases. While none of the experiments are particularly messy, it’s safer to perform them on a flat surface with adult supervision.