The Wonderful World of Science Experiments for Kids
Learning| June 3, 2020
These science experiments are a great way to introduce kids to STEM activities while having fun. Use common household items or pre-assembled kits – it‘s easy!
Money doesn’t make the world go around; the principles of science do. Introduce kids to the basics of physics, chemistry and biology with fun and easy science experiments that double as STEM activities to engage and delight and, perhaps, even start them on a lifelong love affair with science.
Hands-on science experiments give kids a break from screens and textbooks, exposing them to the real-world applications of STEM – while having fun too. There are plenty of easy science experiments that require no more than simple household items to get started, but the results can be explosive, igniting, curiosity-inducing and, of course, educational. Or, if you prefer the prep work being done for you, opt for a science experiment kit. Either way, the kids will love becoming junior scientists and discovering how their world really works.
Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption
This kids science experiment is a firm favourite because of the explosive scientific results and, well, the mess. While kids will love watching a frothing eruption, they will also be witnessing a chemical reaction and nucleation (the first step in the formation of a new structure).
Note: To be safe, this is an activity that requires parental supervision to make sure little scientists don’t get too close to the eruption. Also, as it can get messy, it’s best to do this outside.
What You Need
Go outside, put the Diet Coke on the ground and unscrew the lid. Quickly slip the funnel into the neck, then drop down about half a packet of Mentos. The opening of the bottle and the dropping of the Mentos should be done as close together as possible to avoid too much carbon dioxide being released from the bottle. Remove the funnel quickly and stand back from the bottle: watch it blow.
Get kids to ask
- What makes the bubbles in a soft drink? (carbon dioxide)
- What happens when you open the bottle of Diet Coke? (the carbon dioxide tries to escape)
- What is the surface of a Mentos like? (it has lots of tiny dimples, which increase the surface area and increase bubble formation)
- What happens when you drop the Mentos inside the liquid? (it speeds up the process by breaking the surface tension of the liquid)
This easy volcano experiment will let kids see chemical reactions at play – in this case an acid-base reaction with the citrus juice reacting to baking soda, releasing carbon dioxide gas. It’s not a huge eruption, rather it’s like bubbling lava flowing, so can be performed in the kitchen or laundry.
What You Need
- A few lemons
- Baking soda
- Food colouring
- Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid 500mL
- J.Burrows Plastic Plates 23cm 100 Pack
- Craft sticks
Place half a lemon on the plate (so the plate can catch eruptions). Juice some extra lemon and set aside for later. Take the craft stick and poke a few holes in the sections of the lemon (to help reaction). Put some drops of food colouring into lemon. Add liquid dish soap across the top and let it sink into lemon a little. Then add baking soda on top and push into lemon holes with craft sticks. You can add some more lemon juice here if you want. Wait a few minutes for the eruptions to begin.
Get Kids to Ask
- How long does it take for the eruption to occur? (will depend somewhat on how much lemon juice and baking soda is applied)
- What happens when you add more lemon juice at the end? (should speed up the reaction)
- What happens if you try this volcano with different citrus fruit? (grapefruit, lime and oranges will have different reactions – and nice smells!)
Raw or Boiled Egg
Great for sparking little kids’ interest in basic physics, such as centre of gravity and inertia, this particular science experiment is also perfect for quizzing older members of the household on their own science knowledge. Will they know which is boiled and which is raw?
What You Need
- 1 boiled egg
- 1 raw egg
(both at the same temperature)
Spin the eggs at the same time and watch what happens. The raw egg should wobble due to the egg’s centre of gravity changing as the white and yolk move around, while the hard-boiled egg should spin evenly. If you touch the moving eggs lightly, the boiled egg should stop faster, due to inertia.
Get Kids to Ask
- Do the two eggs feel the same? (they should feel the same)
- What happens when the kids are on a ride and they suddenly change direction? (their body wants to move in one direction and the ride in another, like the raw egg that wobbles)
Making Butter from Milk
This science experiment allows kids to benefit from their labour once it is finished. It also teaches them the key chemistry concept of what happens to a mass when heat is applied. This is an easy science experiment but it does require some physical work from the kids – they will feel the churn – so it could be wise to have some helpers to share the load.
What You Need
- 1 cup fresh whipping cream
- 1 clean mason jar
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 strainer
- 1 container
Make sure cream is at room temperature. Put cream into a mason jar (make sure to fill only halfway so the cream has plenty of room to move around the jar) and shake for around 8-15 minutes (this is where kids may need some extra siblings or friends to help). Check on it halfway so kids can see the cream separating and add a generous pinch of salt. Keep shaking. Once there is a solid mass in the jar, strain that from the liquid and transfer to a container.
Get Kids to Ask
- How long does it take for cream to turn into butter? (that will depend on the constant, vigorous shaking)
- Observe what state the cream was to begin with. (liquid)
- Observe what state the butter is. (solid)
Kids’ Science Experiment Kits
Sometimes, as a parent, the best gift is someone else doing all the prep work for you. This educational and engaging Simple Science Experiments book is a good starter, as are these fun science experiment kits.
- Galt Magnetic Lab
Supporting STEM learning and with nine at-home experiments included, kids will learn how to drive a racing car without touching it, design mazes for marbles and perform levitation tricks, among other educational and fun experiments.
- Horrible Science Perilous Planes
How about this for blue sky thinking: check out the science of flight with a kit that has all you need to experiment with the forces involved in launching planes, parachutes and helicopters.
- Galt Body Lab Kit
Teaching kids about anatomy and the human body, this box-set includes 14 experiments, where children can measure air in lungs, test muscle memory, listen to a heartbeat and more.
- Elmer’s Everyday Slime Starter Kit
Slime may be huge fun but it’s also a sticky lesson in chemistry, so it’s a win-win to have the preparation all done for you with a kit. Making slime will also add STEM activities into the day, without the kids suspecting a thing.
- Horrible Science Shocking Rocket Kit
Rockets never go out of fashion in science-land and this kit teaches kids about space travel as they build a water-fuelled rocket.