Amazingly Easy Science Experiments for Kids
Science is fun! It surrounds us in all aspects of our life. Sometimes in school, the fun aspect of science is thrown to the wayside to make room for definitions and theories. So, bring back the fun in science with these three easy science experiments you can do at home with your kids.
Walking Water Experiment
This is one of those “WOW” science experiments. Your kids will wonder how it’s possible for water to travel from one cup to another. Just like water travels up the stems and leaves of flowers, capillary action will cause water to travel up the paper towels. Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to travel up a porous substance without using gravity.
- Food coloring
- Paper towels
- 3 or more clear cups (6 to 8 ounces)
You will need an odd number of cups for this experiment. The more cups, the longer the chain of walking water. For simplicity, I’ll give the instructions using 3 cups, but you can increase it to as many as you like. We actually used 7 when we did it the first time. By using 7 you can make a whole rainbow of colored water.
Start by filling two of your 3 cups ¾ of the way with water. Next, you will need to add food coloring to the cups with water. Choose two different colors and add about 15 drops to each cup. The empty cup will form a new color, so choose your two starting colors based on the end color you want to see. See below for examples:
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red = Purple
Line up all 3 of your cups. Place the one with no colored water in the center.
Next take 2 paper towels and fold them in half lengthwise 3 times so that it will fit in the mouth of the cups. You may need to trim the end of the paper towels so that they will fit into the cups with just the ends touching the bottom.
Then, place one end of the paper towel into the colored water and the other end into the empty glass. Do this with both cups so that the empty cup has two ends of paper towels in it.
Then comes the hard part. You wait. It won’t be long until capillary action will start to take place and the colored water will begin walking up the paper towel. Within hours the middle cup, which was once empty, will now have water in it that is a completely different color than the original water.
For a whole rainbow of walking water, use 7 cups. Four of them will have colored water. The two end cups will need red food coloring. One of the middle cups will need blue and the other will need yellow.
Color Changing Milk Experiment
This is a quick and easy science experiment for kids that really will amaze them. It takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish, so if you just want to quickly show your kids something awesome, this is perfect.
- Milk (the higher fat content the better)
- Food coloring (red, blue, yellow, green)
- Liquid dish soap
- Cotton swab
Start by pouring about a half inch of milk into the bowl. Then have the kids place a couple of drops of each color food coloring into the center of the milk. Don’t worry about neatness, just keep the food coloring from over lapping.
Next put a drop of the liquid dishwashing soap on the end of your cotton swab.
Time to make the magic happen. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab into the milk. POOF!
What’s happening? The soap dissolves some of the milk’s fat particles which reduces its surface tension. The food coloring then moves with the surface by moving away from the drop of soap.
You can do a similar experiment with ground pepper on top of water. It’s not as cool looking, but it’s still neat to see the pepper rapidly moving away from the soap.
Lava Lamp Experiment
With just a few simple ingredients you can replicate the look of a lava lamp inside a plastic bottle. This is a fun science experiment for kids, and you can keep the lamp for a while to continue to enjoy the amazing lava show.
- 1 liter clear plastic bottle
- Vegetable Oil
- Food Coloring
- Alka-Seltzer tablets
Start by putting water into the bottle with the funnel until it is about ¼ of the way full. Then fill the bottle the rest of the way with vegetable oil. You will need to leave about 2 inches of space at the top. Wait a few minutes for the water and oil to separate.
Next, add about 20 drops of food coloring to the plastic bottle. The food color will sink slowly through the oil and eventually color the water at the bottom of the bottle. It’s fun to watch it drop.
Once the food coloring has mixed with the water, it’s time to make some lava. Take an Alka-Seltzer tablet and break it into pieces small enough to fit into the mouth of your bottle. Now it’s time for some bubbly action, put the pieces of the tablet into the bottle. Voila! It’s an instant lava lamp. Once the bubbling magic slows down you can add more Alka-Seltzer if you wish. It’s a fun experiment that you can do over and over again.
How does it work? Oil is less dense, lighter, than both water and food coloring. That’s why it floats on top of the water. When you add the tablet to the bottle it sinks to the bottom and starts to dissolve. As it dissolves, the tablet produces a gas called carbon dioxide. Since gas it lighter than water it floats up to the top bringing some of the colored water up with it. When the gas reaches the top of the oil, the gas is released and the colored water once again floats to the top.