Monday, July 13, 2015

12 Awesome Science Experiments for Kids

Today I wanted to write about some of our new favorite science experiments (you can read about our old favorites here):


1.  Soda &Mentos Geysers--   Much like volcano experiments, diet soda and Mentos experiments are frequently asked for around here.  Ian was called up on stage during a homeschool day at an amusement park to set one off and we've set them off a few times around here as well.  One time we even tried to tape a soda bottle to Ian's skateboard & add Mentos to make it fly across the driveway.  It's fun but very messy.  We've experimented with different kinds of sodas and different flavors of Mentos too.


2.  Exploding Ziploc Bags-- The boys and I had so much fun one afternoon watching Ziploc bags fill up with air and "POP!"  We jumped a little when they exploded each time due to the noise but nothing came flying out at us.  Using water, vinegar and a tissue with a pile of baking soda inside it's a pretty easy experiment to put together.  We noticed freezer bags held up to the pressure better and that most of them split open along the seam anyway but it was still lots of fun.  Next time we want to add some watercolors or paint to the bags and see if we can get some sort of art project going too.


3.  Pop rockets/ Stomp Rockets/ Model Rockets-- My boys love anything having to do with rockets.  We have a few sets of stomp rockets and they'll play with them for hours stomping on them, jumping on them and aiming them in all different directions.  We were also lucky enough to get a few model rockets.  Their dad help them set them off a few times and it's amazing to see how fast and how far they launch but the experiment we like best is making pop rockets.  It's a super easy experiment for each of the boys to do on their own with little to no help.  We found some pop rocket canisters on Amazon and we were all set.  You just put a little water and a 1/2 of an antacid tablet into the canister, put the top on tightly and place the canister top side down.  As the antacid dissolves it lets off gas and when the pressure builds the canister goes flying.  Sometimes they fly quite high too!


4.  Breaking Open Geodes-- We bought several geode kits over the years and the boys just love hammering them open to find out what's inside.  It's a great way to spark some interest in geology.   We spent an entire morning breaking into our geode kits and we had a great time; you can read all about it here.


5.  Make your own Crystals-- We have a few crystal making kits and the boys always love creating crystals.  It's fun to take some "colored" liquid and watch it magically form crystals overnight.  The books we've gotten with various kits are great are explaining why and how crystals form.  We've also attempted to make our own rock candy and we've made crystallized borax & pipe cleaner ornaments too.  We've learned a lot about how crystals form, what shapes the various crystals form in, and why they form.

6.  Playing with Snap Circuits-- While not technically an experiment my boys LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our snap circuit sets.  We have a few different ones at this point and we've tried out a multitude of experiments.  It's a fun hands- on way to learn all about currents.


7.  Hatching Butterflies & Lady Bugs--  The boys received two different butterfly habitats one year and we sent away for the free caterpillars to go along with them.  My boys enjoyed watching the life cycle of the butterfly so much it's become an annual thing in our house.  This year we added a ladybug habitat and sent away for some larvae.  It's so fun watching the animals change and grow and my boys enjoy watching them eat too.  Best of all they get to handle them when we're releasing them.


8.  Superhero Science-- We had a great mini science lesson one day when I took some small superhero figures and froze them in ice blocks.  The boys had to figure out how to free their characters.  They used hot water, my hair dryer, salt, chisels and everything they could think of trying to be the first one to free their guy.  It was so fun and simple.  Sometimes I think the simple science experiments where they can really take over are the ones in which they learn the most.  I'm already planning another similar activity where I'll be freezing some Lego men in a baking soda/ water block and then they can add vinegar to all the ways that might work too.


9.  Candy Science-- Over the years we've done so many different candy experiments and they've all been so much fun.  We typically do them right after Halloween, Easter or Christmas when candy is abundant.  On top of dissolving the S off of the skittles and melting Starburst we've also experimented to see what it would take to dissolve Peeps, we've experimented with dissolving mints, candy canes, and smarties too.  Usually the boys each chose some things from our kitchen to try putting the candies in; vanilla extract, vinegar, water, oil, & things like that.  We've grown gummy bears, made rock candy, tried some sink/ float experiments, and all sorts of interesting things.  We try to find new experiments all the time and it's a great way to use up that leftover candy without feeling the need to eat it all.

10. Walking on Eggs-- We spent a whole day doing experiments with eggs. We read about the strength of the egg shell, the shape of the egg, and why they're so good at resisting pressure.  We started by trying to squeeze the egg in our hands without breaking them and slowly worked our way up to walking on eggs.  We all took a turn and it was amazing to see that the eggs did NOT break!  You can read all about it here.


11.  Elephant Toothpaste--
Using hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, food coloring, yeast and warm water we were able to see a huge chemical reaction.  We used a two liter bottle and a tray to catch it on.  I really was thinking a two liter bottle might be overly large for this experiment since it doesn't call for large amounts of any ingredient but it was a good thing we picked something so large.  We also remarked on how warm the bottle felt after the experiment too.


12. Edible science-- whenever we bake, make our own shell topping, make rock candy, etc. we always have fun.  We've experimented with tapioca beads, used Oreo cookies to learn about the phases of the moon, & made our own butter.  We have plans for many more edible science units too-- using starburst to learn about rock cycles, turning grapes into raisins, making a model of a cell using cake and candies.  The boys are always excited when they get an extra treat and it's such a fun way to learn science.


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