Science Experiments For Kids


Let’s face it, with so many TV shows and i-pad games around, finding activities that both entertain and educate the kids is not always easy. At swiish, we’ve gotten many questions from readers who are looking for new, fun activities to try with the kids that help them to have fun and learn at the same time.

Here are some easy experiments that will have the little ones addicted to science. What’s that? You never thought that would be possible? Well, it’s true! Oh, and if the thought of cleaning up after an erupted baking soda volcano is making you anxious, don’t worry – the experiments are all pretty mess free so you can do them indoors, which also makes them perfect for rainy days (see, we’ve got your back!).

Make A Rainbow
Kids love rainbows! Teach them how they are created with this fun experiment.

What you will need:

• A glass of water (3/4 full)
• White paper
• A sunny day

What to do:

• Take the glass and paper to a sunny area (near a window is best)
• Hold the glass of water above the paper and watch as the sunlight bends and creates a beautiful rainbow effect on the piece of paper.

When sunlight refracts (bends) it is separated into different colours. Try holding the paper at different heights to see how it changes the rainbow effect on the paper.

Floating Ping-Pong Balls

Teach kids about gravity by making ping-pong balls float in the air above a hair dryer. They will love this one and it’s incredibly easy.

What you will need:

• A hairdryer
• A few ping pong balls

What to do:

• Turn your hairdryer on the highest setting
• Place the ping pong ball above the hair dryer

The ping-pong ball stays afloat directly above the hairdryer. This is because the pressure from the hairdryer creates a column of lower air pressure and the surrounding higher air pressure pushes it to stay in that column.

Taste Without Smell

See how important our nose is when tasting!

What you will need:

• A peeled apple
• A peeled potato

What to do:

• Have the kids taste both the peeled apple and potato while blocking their nose. Can they tell the difference?

It’s very hard to tell the difference without scent because your nose and mouth are connected through the same airway. Foods that have a similar texture will taste the same without our sense of smell.

Blowing Up Balloons With Carbon Dioxide

Save your breath and blow up a balloon using lemon juice and baking soda.

 

 

What you will need:

• A balloon (stretched)
• 40mL of water
• Soft drink bottle
• Drinking straw
• Lemon juice (fresh from a lemon not bottled)
• 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

What to do:

• Pour the water into the soft drink bottle
• Add the baking powder and stir it with the straw until it has dissolved.
• Pour the lemon juice in and quickly put the balloon over the mouth of the bottle.

When you combine baking powder (a base) with lemon juice (an acid), carbon dioxide is created. The gas rises out of the bottle but cannot escape the balloon so the pressure causes the balloon to inflate.

Invisible Ink

Let the kids bring out their inner spies by creating secret codes using lemon juice.

What you will need:

• Half a lemon
• Water
• Spoon
• Bowl
• Cotton bud
• White paper
• Lamp or other light bulb

What to do:

• Squeeze some lemon juice and a few drops of water into a bowl
• Mix the water and lemon juice with a spoon
• Dip the cotton bud into the mixture and write a message on a piece of paper
• Wait for the juice to dry so it becomes invisible
• When you are ready to show your message heat the paper by holding it close to a light bulb

Lemon juice is an organic substance that oxidizes and turns brown when heated. When it is diluted with water it is impossible to see on paper unless it is heated. Don’t have lemon juice? Orange juice, milk, honey, onion juice and vinegar will also have the same effect.

Lava Lamp

Make your own lava lamp using water, oil and a secret ingredient to make it fizz and bubble.

What you will need:

• An empty soft drink bottle with cap or clear jar with a lid
• Vegetable oil
• Alka-Seltzer tablets (available from Priceline or pharmacies)
• Food colouring
• Water

What to do:

 Fill the bottle or jar ¾ full with vegetable oil
 Carefully fill the rest of the bottle/container with water (you will notice the water and oil won’t mix)
 Add about 10-15 drops of food colouring so the water is a nice deep vibrant colour
 Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into 6-8 pieces
 Drop one of the Alka-Seltzer pieces into the bottle or jar. It will fizz and bubble!
 When the fizzing stops, add another piece, and then another and so on.
 Once you have used up the whole tablet, put the lid on tightly and swirl the liquid around, tip it slowly up and down, watching the coloured blobs move around! You have just made your own home made lava lamp!

Why didn’t the oil and water mix?

Molecules in water and molecules in oil do not mix. When left together for a long time they will separate and create layers. The alka-seltzer tablets react with the water and create bubbles of carbon dioxide. These gas bubbles attach themselves to the blobs of coloured water taking them to the surface through the oil. When the bubbles pop at the surface, the blob of coloured water sinks back down to the bottom. Voila ! Scientific and psychedelic… Groovy!

Spinning Bucket

OK, we know we promised you mess free. And technically this should work, but maybe just in case, take it outside to the back yard. We don’t want any accidental spillage!Dare the kids to spin a bucket of water above their heads in a circular motion! Will they end up soaking wet? Try this fun experiment and find out!

 

What you will need:

• A reliable bucket with a strong handle
• Water
• An open area where water spillage is ok

What to do:

• Fill the bucket until it is around half full with water.
• Stand well clear of other people or any objects that could get in the way.
• Hold the bucket by its handle with your arm extended and start spinning it by your side towards the sky and back to the ground in a circular motion, make sure to spin it fast enough to keep the water inside the bucket. Be prepared to get a little wet while your technique improves.
• Stop spinning before your arm gets tired, watching out for splashes as you carefully bring the bucket back to rest on the ground.

This experiment demonstrates what is called ‘centripetal force’ which is force acting on an object moving in a circular path, directed towards the centre around which it is moving. This type of force can also be seen on roller coasters or by satellites in orbit around a planet. Regardless of the science behind it, it’s one that the kids will love!

Any great experiments you’ve tried with your children? Share them with us here!

Experiments courtesy of Sciencekids.co.nz and madaboutscience.com.au

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