Four Science Experiments to Try at Home with Kids
This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.
By Stephanie Ryan
With parents across the United States still struggling with the constant pressures of homeschooling as a result of the pandemic, the creative juices may be running dry at this point. Subjects like math and science are intimidating things for parents to teach, especially since they may not enjoy the topics or may not feel well-versed enough to make the topics fun for the kids.
With lockdown fatigue hitting many of us, it’s tough to keep us parents motivated and energetic about the topics.
During a time when our kids’ educations are being impacted beyond belief, it is best to keep things simple, fun, and easy for everyone involved. Below are four fun, easy, and kid-friendly science experiments you can do from home to keep the interesting world of science fun for everyone.
Mentos and Coke
An oldie, but a goodie. This experiment that started as a viral internet trend actually has some great science theory behind it, and it’s guaranteed to keep the kids entertained. All you need is a large bottle of diet coke, mentos, and eye protection.
Simply stand the bottle of coke upright, remove the lid, drop the packet of mentos in and get out of there.
The carbon dioxide in the bubbles is what makes drinks fizzy and dropping something into the drink, speeds up the carbon dioxide release. While this looks like a chemical reaction, it’s actually a physical one, as bubbles form on the surface of the Mentos and results in the foamy fountain.
If you want to make it more interesting, try using different fizzy drinks and ranking which brand has the biggest reaction. You could also try this reaction using warm or cold soda and note which temperature causes the biggest reactions.
This simple, two-ingredient experiment that requires just an orange and ½ teaspoon of baking soda will create a fizzy, citrusy snack—though, we wouldn’t encourage making this a regular thing.
Simply cut an orange into pieces, dip part of it into the baking soda, and take a bite. When you start to chew, you will experience a fizzy reaction in your mouth.
By mixing the acidic fruit with the baking soda base, it makes loads of tiny carbon dioxide bubbles – the same thing that makes our pop so fizzy.
You really can’t go wrong with this classic experiment, which has entertained kids for decades. As well as being able to combine it with a papier-mâché art project to make the volcano itself, you can put a science spin on it by causing it to erupt.
You will need food coloring (preferably red), a small jar or container, vinegar, dish soap, and baking soda.
Insert the jar into the mouth of the volcano, and add two spoons of baking soda, one spoonful of dish soap, and a few drops of food coloring. Then, just add a few drops of vinegar into the mixture and watch it come to life.
You can teach your kids valuable physical and chemical lessons about reactions. Then, if you should decide to go further with the volcano lesson, this chemical reaction experiment with a hint of geography will make for a super exciting homeschool lesson.
If your kids are glued to YouTube or TikTok, they’ve probably been part of the slime craze at some point. Making slime with your kids is a great opportunity to do something super creative and fun, while also teaching them the science behind it.
There are many different slime recipes, but a slightly different one that uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen will give your kids a slightly different slime experience.
You will need cornflour, water, a spoon, a mixing bowl, and food coloring (to add their personal flair!).
Simply put the cornflour in the bowl gradually and add small amounts of water and add a few drops of coloring until it becomes a thick paste. While your kids play around with the paste, note to them how difficult it is to stir quickly.
This is a good opportunity to teach about fluids. Explain how this type of slime behaves differently from most slime because of the increase in viscosity when pressure is applied, to the point where a liquid feels almost like a solid.
Try introducing these fun experiments into your lessons and your kids will be able to grow a tangible understanding of the concepts they learn about during class.
Their love for science will then continue to grow as their passion for asking questions and discovering their answers grows, too. Then, seeing their minds grow will allow parents to rediscover their own inner scientists and push that quarantine fatigue out of their minds.
About the Author
Stephanie Ryan earned her Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has an M.S. and B.S. in chemistry, from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Saint Mary’s College, respectively. She has taught science in formal and informal settings from K-16, and developed curricula for After School Matters programs in Chicago, Illinois.
*Photos courtesy of Stephanie Ryan