Rainbow in a Jar
Science can be a weighty subject, but it can also be beautiful. This rainbow jar science experiment for kids from Playdough to Plato is the perfect example. Use it to teach your child the concept of density: Different liquids have different weights, so the heaviest (with more molecules) will sink to the bottom while the lightest (with fewer molecules) will float to the top, resulting in colorful layers. You’ll need multiple materials to make the various solutions—corn syrup, honey, dish soap, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, food coloring—plus a dropper, but it’s well worth the work for the artful result.
Face it: There are few science experiments for kids more exciting than ones involving something that explodes, especially when it’s an everyday kitchen item like a plastic bottle of soda. As Science Kiddo points out, you can use any carbonated beverage (though keep in mind that sugar-containing ones are stickier to clean up). Plus it’s such an easy science experiment for kids: All they have do is carefully drop a little dry ice into the soda and watch the almost-instantaneous reaction. The science: Little bubbles of carbon dioxide form on the surface of the dry ice by the process of nucleation, which causes the gas to rocket to the surface and escape the bottle. Make sure everyone wears safety goggles and insulated gloves, since dry ice is, as Larry David would say, pretty, pretty, pretty cold (-109 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact). Squeamish? This cool science experiment for kids also works with Mentos candy. Either way, this one’s strictly intended for outdoors.
DIY Lava Lamp
If you’ve ever stared at a lava lamp, you know how mesmerizing it is. So imagine how excited your kids will be to make their own courtesy of Mom Inspired Life. All that’s required is vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets. How does it work? Water and oil don’t mix, and oil doesn’t change color but water, when mixed with food coloring, does. The effervescent tablets react with water to supply the bubbles, which rise to the top of the glass, then pop and fall back to the bottom. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what fun this science experiment for kids is!
Another entertaining science experiment for kids that also educates is this one from Little Bins for Little Hands. You’ll want to pick up test tubes and a rack but likely have everything else handy: food coloring, paper towels, scissors and a timer. Fill the tubes with different colors of water, connect thin strips of paper towel to two tubes each, then measure how long it takes the colors to meet and mix. The water travels by capillary action, the movement within the spaces of a porous material due to adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension. But don’t over-science it: This experiment’s just plain fascinating for kids to observe.
This fun science experiment for kids from Preschool Powol Packets doubles as a magic show. Simply fill a Ziploc bag about two-thirds full of water and then carefully poke a sharp pencil all the way through it. For dramatic effect, hold the bag over your child’s head and watch him squirm. Don’t worry: Not a drop will spill. Plastics are made of long chains of molecules called polymers. Piercing the bag forces them apart, but they quickly press back as much as possible, sealing the hole you’ve made. When you’re done, pull the pencils out over the sink to prove this was actual science, not a mere trick.
Back to the kitchen for this one from Kids Activities Blog. Using a spoon, gently place a raw egg (in its shell) in a cup or jar filled with white vinegar. This acid will slowly break down the shell, which is made of calcium, a base. Tell your kids to be patient: It takes about 15 minutes for the egg to start bubbling, but after about eight hours it will start to spin and dance as the gases are released from the shell. The egg also absorbs the liquid and swells due to the process of osmosis. In roughly three days, you’ll have a “naked” egg with a soft permeable membrane that’s irresistibly squishy. This is one science experiment for kids that is both gross and oh-so-cool!