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Fun and Easy Science Experiments for Kids
Carrying out science experiments at home can provide a fun and interesting way for children to learn about a huge variety of things about the world around them. Many experiments can be carried out with things commonly found around the house or that can be bought easily and cheaply. These experiments are useful for home educated children or for interesting activities to keep children busy at weekends or during school holidays.
Some experiments may not be suitable for younger children or will need adult supervision and assistance.
Copper coins become dull and dirty because oxygen in the air reacts with the copper and creates a copper oxide coating. Soaking copper coins in lemon juice for a few minutes will remove the copper oxide and make the coin shiny again.
Make a Submarine
This is a perfect experiment for bath time.
1) Fill a plastic bottle with water and let it sink to the bottom of the bath.
2) Place the short end of a bendy straw into the open end of the bottle.
3) Now blow air down the straw and into the bottle.
The bottle becomes lighter because it contains less water and more air.
Submarines have special tanks that fill with seawater so they can dive under the water. When the submarine needs to rise back to the surface the water is pumped out and replaced with air kept in the submarine.
Make a Balloon Hovercraft
1) Cut the top off of a plastic drinks bottle approximately a quarter of the way down the bottle.
2) Make a small hole in the bottle top.
3) Blow up a balloon and hold it closed.
4) Put the open balloon end over the bottle top while still holding it closed. This can be fiddly and may take two people to do.
5) Place the bottle on a flat surface and let go of the balloon.
6) Give the balloon a push and it should float.
The air rushing out through the hole in the bottle top pushes the bottle up off the ground, causing it to glide like a hovercraft.
1) Half fill a glass with water.
2) Place a straw or pencil into the water and rest it on the side of the glass.
3) Look at the straw/pencil from the top, bottom and each side and note how it looks.
Light travels slower through water than it does through air. As the light travels through the glass and water it changes speed and direction which produces effects such as making the pencil/straw look bent.
Reflections are created when light hits a surface and some of it bounces off. Mirrors reflect nearly all the light that hits them and create a flat, accurate reflection of you. Curved mirrors like are often found at fairgrounds create distorted images due to how they reflect light.
Look at your reflection using a spoon. The inside (concave) and outside (convex) surfaces produce different reflections.
1) Stand 5 drinking glasses in a line on a flat surface.
2) Fill the glasses with varying amounts of water. The first glass should have a small amount and the last should be almost full (with the others in between).
3) Hit the glasses with a pencil and each will make a different sound.
When you hit the glass vibrations are created. These travel through the water and create the sounds. The vibrations move slower when there is more water and produce a deeper sound.
Homemade Lava Lamp
1) Pour water into a large plastic bottle until it is one quarter full.
2) Pour vegetable oil into the bottle until it is nearly full.
3) Wait until the oil and water separate out into two layers.
4) Add twelve drops of food colouring to the bottle. This will fall through the oil and mix with the water.
5) Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into small pieces and drop one piece into the bottle.
6) Once the reaction stops you can add another piece of Alka-Seltzer.
Oil and water do not mix as oil has a lower density than water. When the Alka-Seltzer tablet falls into the water it releases bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. These rise to the top and carry some of the coloured water with them. Once the gas escapes at the top the coloured water will fall back down, creating the lava lamp effect.
Alka-Seltzer contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate; these react with water to create sodium citrate and carbon dioxide gas.
1) Fill a glass with warm water and stand it on a stable flat surface.
2) Gently place an ice cube into the glass.
3) Watch the water level carefully as the ice cube melts and note what happens? Was it what you expected?
Even after the ice cube has completely melted the water in the glass does not overflow. This is because when water freezes it expands so takes up more space than it did when it was water. The water from the melted ice cube takes up less space in the glass than when it was frozen so the water does not spill.
This project can take a few days to get started but can then be observed over a length of time to watch for changes. Avoid using any foods that have meat or fish in as they will smell unpleasant. Good foods to try are bread, biscuits and fruit or vegetables.
1) Cut 3-5 pieces of different food, around 1.5-2cm in size.
2) Dip each piece of food into water.
3) Place the foods into a plastic container and arrange them so they are in a single layer.
4) Place the lid on the container and tape around the join to seal the container.
5) Label the container with the date and food types.
After a few days green/white or bluish fuzz should start to grow on the food. After several more days the food may begin to look bad and rot. Keep growing the mould for two weeks to see how it spreads and the foods rot.
After the two weeks it is best not to open the container and to just throw it away rather than washing and reusing it.
© 2013 Claire