I bet you already have everything you need around the house to set up these six super cool (and EASY) science experiments in no time.
Before each experiment, ask your child to predict what they think will happen—just like real scientists do!—then compare the results at the end. Try one of the six ideas below and let us know your favorite!
To show your kiddo how gravity works, prop a wrapping paper tube on a solid surface so it’s tilted and have your child push a toy car or similar item through the top, so it slides down the tube. (A paper towel tube will work, but the “ride” will be shorter.)
Ask what would happen if you raised the top end of the tube higher (the toy slides down faster). Try setting up two tubes and racing different toys—which ones are the fastest?
This teaches them all about density and buoyancy (how well stuff floats)! Start by taking a walk around your home or neighborhood to collect some small items. Pinecones, sticks, coins, and toys are great examples.
Have your little one put them in a small tub of water and talk about what happens. Which ones sink right away? What’s the biggest difference between things that floated and those that sank? Hint: Things that sink are dense, meaning, they weigh a lot for their size.
Finally, something you can do with all those pennies lying around! Have your kiddo soak some pennies in a glass filled with about an inch of lemon juice for five minutes. They’ll love seeing how the lemon juice removes the “dirt” and makes them all shiny!
Leave them in longer and see what happens (the pennies get even shinier). You can also have them compare this to soaking the pennies in soda or water—do those get shiny too? Why not? It’s because the acid in the lemon juice is what dissolves the dirt (ie copper oxide, which forms when copper is exposed to air for a long time, kind of like rust).
An edible science experiment? Yes, please! Food is made up of chemicals just like everything else, so this experiment is great for showing what happens when you combine an acid with a base (a real chemical reaction)!
Put some lemon juice in a glass, add one teaspoon of baking soda, and stir. The liquid should start to fizz. Add sugar to taste and watch as it froths up even more! The fizz is carbon dioxide being produced by the chemical reaction. Add enough water to make it into lemonade, and have your kiddo taste—most kids love the funny, fizzy feeling on their tongue.
This is a fun way to introduce your kids to some physics! You’ll need 10 gumdrops (any gummy candy will do) and 20 toothpicks. Have your kiddo build up a simple structure (like the photo) by connecting the toothpicks and gumdrops.
When they’re finished, place different objects like small notebooks on top to see how much weight their engineering marvel can bear (Tip: the larger the base, the more weight it can support).
Line up three clear glasses of water so it’s easy to see the results, and place one tablespoon of sugar, salt, or flour in each (measure one cup of water per glass for best results). Stir with a spoon, then wait 60 seconds to check your results. Which material dissolved faster? Which one is the most cloudy?
You can explain that each mixture is a “solution”—that’s the science term for when one substance dissolves in another.
Here’s hoping you and your child have a ton of fun (and learn a bunch, too) with these fun experiments you can do at home.