8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Science if taught in the right manner can be a fascinating subject! Introduce your little one to the exciting world of science by teaching fun scientific concepts through simple experiments at home.

By Sherine Paul-Solomon

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children
“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.” ~ Vince Gowmon, Author, Speaker, Poet and Musician.

Learning begins at home. So, if your child grows up in a science-friendly home, where they are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, explore, experiment, discover – where they are given the right conditions for learning – they are then more prone to show an interest towards the subject.

A hands-on approach with interactive teaching is probably going to stoke your child's interest while also getting them interested in understanding how it works. So, expand your child’s horizon by making learning an enjoyable experience where they get to watch and learn. And like Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady and humanitarian, once said, “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”

So, here are a few experiments to get you started on an exciting journey that is sure to ignite your little one’s curiosity and critical thinking skills

1. Baking soda and vinegar balloons

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Medium

Wow your child with this experiment that uses the most basic household items. Give them a science lesson they will never forget!

Materials required

  • Plastic bottle
  • Balloon
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Method

Step 1: Add one third cup of baking soda into a balloon.

Step 2: Fill the plastic bottle with a cup of vinegar.

Step 3: Place the balloon tightly on top of the bottle but sideways so that the baking soda doesn't spill out.

Step 4: Lift the balloon above the bottle so that the baking soda falls into the vinegar causing a reaction.

Voila! You have an inflated balloon and a child filled with wonder and curiosity. 

Note: Hold on to the balloon so that it doesn’t fly off the bottle.

The science behind it:

When vinegar and baking soda mix together you get an acid-base reaction. As a result of this reaction, carbon dioxide gas is created. When the gas expands upwards trying to escape the bottle it leads to cause the inflated balloon.

2. Colour-changing flowers

Level of difficulty: Easy

Create your own little palette of colourful flowers with your child.

Materials required

  • White carnations or roses
  • Scissors
  • Food colouring
  • Glass jars or small test tubes
  • Water

Method

Step 1: Trim your carnation stems to the right height of the container you are using.

Step 2: Fill the containers with water and mix a few drops of different food colours into each container to let your child see exciting results. 

Tip: You could pick the colours of the rainbow.

Step 3: Place the carnations individually in each container. Ask your child to observe them for a week to ten days.

Step 4: Once the colour that was in the water transfers on to the white petals and you are satisfied, remove them from the water and create a beautiful colourful arrangement with your child.

The science behind it:

Despite not having roots, the water travels through the stem to the petals of the flower. Three reasons behind the water travelling to the petals are the capillary action, cohesion and transpiration.  

3. Coin in a glass

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Medium

This experiment is suitable for young children as they will enjoy the challenge of getting it just right so that the coin falls into the glass.

Materials required

  • Glass tumbler
  • Thick card paper
  • Coins

Method

Step 1: Lay the thick card paper on top of the glass. Make sure one edge is slightly more outward so that you can pull that part with ease.

Step 2: Place a coin on top of the card and make sure that it's centered.

Step 3: Quickly flick the edge of the card sideways and you will see your coin drop perfectly into the glass. 

Note: The angle you pull the card is important as if you do it upwards or downwards it may not. If you want to make it more challenging stack up coins and see how many you can get into the glass in one go.

For older children, you can try this experiment with an egg instead of a coin. Make sure you place a newspaper underneath in order to avoid a mess.

4. Egg in a glass

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Hard

The goal of this experiment is to get the egg to drop into a glass of water without it breaking. This fun experiment is more suitable for older children. Make sure to wash your hands after handling raw eggs. If you want to avoid a mess, you can also use a plastic egg.

Materials required

  • Glass of water
  • Pie pan
  • Cardboard tube
  • Eggs

Method

Step 1: Pick a flat surface on which to perform this demonstration. Fill the glass three quarters of the way with water. 

Step 2: Place the pie pan at the centre of the glass. Take your cardboard tube and place it vertically on the pie pan, placing it directly over the water. Gently place the egg at the top of the cardboard tube.

Step 3: The goal is to get the egg into the glass of water without touching the egg, cardboard or glass of water. Precisely yanking the pie pan out of the way will help you get the desired result.

Step 4: You have to hit the pan with sufficient force for it. If done right, gravity will do the rest of the job for you.

Step 5: Celebrate for a job well done as your egg lands in the water.

The science behind it:

This is the perfect way for you to introduce your child to Newton’s first law of motion.

The law states that an object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same velocity (speed and direction) unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In this case, as the egg is not moving at first, it wants to stay that way. When the pan is knocked off by your hand, its raised edge knocks the egg off the paper roll. When the support of the egg is removed, gravity comes into play applying a net downward force that pulls the egg straight down. This is what makes the egg drop right into the glass.

5. Music with water

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Easy

"Music is the art of thinking with sounds" - Jules Combarieu

Materials required

  • 5 drinking glasses or glass bottles
  • Water
  • Wooden pencil

Method

Step 1: Stack the glasses next to each other. Fill each glass with water starting from the lowest level in glass one to the highest level in glass five.

Step 2: Hit the glasses one and at time with a pencil and observe the sound it emanates. If you don’t have a pencil you can run your finger around the rim of the glass, and it will still emanate a sound

Step 3: Try and create a tune by hitting the glasses at different intervals

The science behind it:

The small vibrations created when you hit the pencil to the glass create sound waves that travel through the water. The glass with the least water will have the highest tone while the glass with the most water will have a deeper tone due to slower vibrations.

6. Lava Lamp

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Medium

Create your own little lava lamp and watch a colourful dance in a bottle

Materials required

  • Transparent plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Funnel
  • Food colouring
  • Alka-Seltzer or any other tablet that fizzes

Method

Step 1: First pour water into the bottle through a funnel till it is quarter full.

Step 2: Next pour in the vegetable oil till your bottle is nearly full with the liquid.

Step 3: Wait for the oil and water to separate.

Step 4: Add a few drops of food colouring to the mixture.

Step 5: Observe as the food colouring falls through the oil and mixes with the water.

Step 6: Take your Alka-Seltzer tablet and snip it into smaller pieces. Drop them individually into the bottle and watch your bottle transform into a lava lamp.

Step 7: Repeat as many times as you like by adding an Alka- Seltzer tablet and watch a fizzy dance

The science behind it:

As oil and water have varying densities and polarities when you try to mix them together, water sinks to the bottom. If you add food colouring that is also water-based by nature, it sinks to the bottom as well. But if you add in a crumbled Alka-seltzer tablet it reacts with the water enabling the coloured water droplets to rise to the top. They rise, pop, release air and then sink back to the bottom.

7. Rock candy

8 Easy And Fun Science Experiments For Children

Level of difficulty: Hard

Not only will you teach your child something new but on the bright side they earn a sweet treat at the end of it all!

Materials required

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden sticks
  • Clothespin
  • Food colouring
  • Glass jar

Method

Step 1: Measure two cups of water, pour it into your saucepan and bring to boil on the stove

Step 2: Add four cups of sugar to the water and continue to boil till the sugar dissolves. A supersaturated sugar solution forms

Step 3: Add any flavour you would like (mint, vanilla)

Step 4: Allow mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes

Step 5: Wet your wooden sticks and roll them in granulated sugar. Make sure they dry fully

Step 6: Add food colouring to the cooled sugar solution

Step 7: Pour the cooled sugar solution into a glass jar and insert the wooden stick into the centre of the jar. Ensure that the stick doesn't touch the edges of the jar. Hold it in place with a clothespin. Cover the jar with a paper towel

Step 8: Place the jars in a cool and quiet place and avoid movement as it will disrupt the crystal-making process. The crystal will grow every day. Ask your child to observe the progress on a daily basis.

Step 9: When enough rock candy has formed which is usually after two weeks, remove the stick from the jar and place it on a piece of wax paper to dry. Then bite into it and enjoy your treat!

The Science behind it:

A saturated sugar solution forms when you heat the water and sugar together. Once the solution starts cooling down, it becomes supersaturated. A supersaturated solution is unstable as it contains more solute (in this case, sugar) than what can stay in the solution. Hence as the temperature decreases, the sugar comes out of the solution, forming crystals. The lower the temperature, the more molecules join the sugar crystals leading to the formation of rock candy.

8. Tornado in a jar

Level of difficulty: Medium

A rare chance to see a tornado for real? Fret not! Show your children a pint-sized version of it in a bottle!

Materials required

  • Glass jar with lid
  • Funnel
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Food colour (optional)

Method

Step 1: Place your funnel on top of the empty glass jar, spoon in 3-4 tablespoons of glitter into the jar. If you wish to add any colour do that as well

Step 2: Fill the jar with three fourth of water

Step 3: Close the jar with the lid really tight so that when you turn it over no water spills or leaks out

Step 4: Flip the jar upside down and swirl it in a circular motion for 10-15 seconds

Step 5: Set the jar down on the table and observe the tornado twisting inside the bottle

The science behind it

When you swirl the water in the jar; it creates a vortex at the centre. As the water spins, the centripetal force causes the water to whirl around that vortex creating a mini spiraling tornado.

So, show your child the magic of science and enthral them by conducting experiments together with simple household items. Stoke their scientific curiosity in a fun and creative way!

About the author:

Written by Sherine Paul Solomon on 3 February 2020.

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