There are a number of fun science experiments you can do at home with children of all ages. It is just a question of gathering the supplies and making sure you pay attention to health and safety. Choose age-appropriate activities and watch your children’s love of science grow.
1. Large Magnets
Get a number of magnets to illustrate attraction and repulsion. Make sure they are large enough so a child can’t swallow them. You can create a maze on a piece of paper or cardboard and place a metal object like a paperclip on top. Slide the magnet underneath to drive the paperclip through the maze.
2. Coke Bottle Geyser
Get a 2-liter bottle of diet cola and a tube of mint Mentos candy. Go outside into an open space. Drop 7 Mentos into the bottle, preferable at the same time, and run away. Watch the soda shoot straight up out of the bottle like a geyser.
3. Invisible Ink
You will need half a fresh lemon, some water, a cotton bud, paper, and a lamp. Juice the lemon into the bowl and add a few drops of water. Dip the cotton bud into the lemon juice and write a message on the paper.
Wait for the juice to dry, so it becomes completely invisible. When you want to amaze people with the secret message, hold the paper close to the lamp or the bulb. The heat will make the writing appear.
4. Homemade Volcano
You will need a 25-ounce plastic bottle with the top cut off wide enough to place the ingredients inside. Place the bottle on top of a flower pot and surround it with dirt so that it does not wobble. Gather the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap
- 3 drops red food coloring
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Add the soap and food coloring to the bottle. Add the vinegar. Pour in the water and fill the bottle almost to the top. Place the baking soda in a small cup and add a little of the water to it to moisten. Pour it into the bottle and step back. The contents will start to flow like lava out of a volcano.
5. Homemade Penicillin
Grow mold on bread by putting slices in different environments:
- In a plastic bag in the dark
- In a plastic bag in the sunlight
- On a plate uncovered
- In the refrigerator
…and see which one gets moldy first. Beware of bugs in the course of this experiment.
6. Homemade Slime
This fun, stretchy substance can occupy kids for hours. You will need:
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of white craft glue (like Elmer’s glue)
- 1/4 cup of liquid starch (used for clothes)
- Green food coloring
In a mixing bowl, pour all of the glue and add the water. Stir well. Add about 6 drops of food coloring. Stir in the starch. The mixture will soon bulge and you can start to stretch it and shape it. Store in a plastic bag when you are not playing with it so it does not dry out.
7. Homemade Clouds and Rain
This will teach children how clouds hold water and how when they become too heavy, it starts to rain. You need:
- Water, colored with some food coloring
- A clear jar/glass/vase with water in it
- Shaving foam
- An eyedropper
Squirt some shaving cream on top of the water in the vase. That will be your cloud. Pour the colored water into the vase carefully.
It will start to rain under the “cloud” as the cream gets to the point where it can’t hold any more water. The colored water should make pretty patterns the kids will enjoy as well. Experiment with different colors to add interest.
All of these experiments are easy to do, and can stimulate kids to take a greater interest in the wonderful world of science.
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