Science for Kids at Home: Tips and Ideas for Home Experiments
Science is a broad term. When you’re talking about science for kids, generally catching their attention starts with their curiosity. Curiosity is why we ask questions. It is why kids ask questions. Some kids will sit and watch a bug or dig in the dirt for hours trying to figure out the world around them. That is science. Observing the world around us and then making conclusions is the basis of all science.
When you add the fun of experimenting to science, it makes the whole experience better. Letting kids make observations and test different things in order to see different outcomes allows them to learn how the world works and maybe even a little bit of why it works the way it does.
It can seem like maybe you need all sorts of equipment like microscopes, beakers, and telescopes in order to do science experiments at home. Really all you need is some paper to write down your observations (they can even draw them). If you want to try some at-home science experiments, we’ve gathered some great ideas for you to try home experiments!
- The Classic Volcano - Baking Soda and Vinegar
This classic experiment combines a dry base, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), with a liquid acid, vinegar, for a bubbly and potentially explosive result. This experiment is always fun for kids and can be done in so many ways. You can test different amounts of the ingredients or what kind of container you are mixing them in for different results. This can lead to all kinds of discussions of what is happening chemically, why we use it to demonstrate “volcano” eruptions, how these same concepts are used in baking to create fluffy cake and so much more!
- Mentos and Soda
Another fun bubbly experiment, this one involves releasing the carbon dioxide that is put into soda in dramatic fashion. ACS explains what is happening.
- Elephant Toothpaste
Here we use hydrogen peroxide as the source of bubbles in this home experiment. Yeast is used to react with the hydrogen peroxide to release the oxygen. When you add a little dish soap you end up with a glorious foam that looks remarkable like toothpaste. There are lots of ways to experiment with it to get different results like adding food coloring or using different containers like our favorite tumbler. Talk about what the kids are observing and you can lead a discussion about why. Before your experiment, read up on a thorough explanation from Scientific American.
States of Matter Experiments
If you don’t know this word, it is simply a mixture of cornstarch and water. Also known as a Non-Newtonian Fluid, this mixture displays some cool properties of seeming solid and liquid depending on the amount of pressure you add to the surface. Check out this cool video from BeardedScienceGuy that walks you through the process! This home experiment can lead to conversations about other types of Non-Newtonian Fluids or maybe even just a good read of Dr. Seuss’s Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
If you haven’t heard of this popular science experiment, you might not have children. All kidding aside, there are so many recipes from Steam Sational for so many different kinds. Also a Non-Newtonian fluid, it provides sensory play in addition to the many different ways to experiment to make your kids find the perfect slime for them.
- Density Experiments
The questions of why wood floats or why oil sits on top of water is explained with density. Gathering a bunch of nature items and toys can help you experiment finding things that are more or less dense than water. A pretty cool experiment with just liquids can be found from Childhood 101.
- Ivory Soap in Microwave
This home experiment from Happy Hooligans is super fun science for kids. The effect is amazing and it starts a host of questions that lead to fun science facts.
- Water Surface Tension Experiments
Water is an amazing thing with so many properties that are unique. There are so many experiments that focus on water, but one of the most amazing things to witness is surface tension. Watching bugs walk on water or a glass seem to hold more water than it should all relates to surface tension. Rookie Parenting presents several different experiments.
Of course, the best home experiments are in cooking. Cake, cookies, even candy are all science mixed in our life. Biology (yeast leavened bread), chemistry (remember that baking soda), and physical science (temperature and states of matter) are all infused into cooking. All it takes is a little investigation to bring up questions to be answered in the kitchen.
Inside all of us is a little scientist waiting to observe the world and find the answers. Kids’ curiosity helps that shine brightly. Bring out that lab coat and try some of these experiments or maybe just follow their interests and go to the library to research about their favorite animal or that constellation they keep picking out of the sky at night.
Check out our IG for more ideas @PLBFun!