A new year is upon us and with it, a lot of uncertainty. Words like “lockdown” and “quarantine” are becoming part of our everyday verbiage. Parents are juggling more responsibilities than ever, keeping kids entertained, the family happy, and the minds engaged. So, here at Scientists in School, we have compiled a list of 10 tried-and-true experiments that will spark learning and support scientific discovery for kids of various ages while at home. They promise to pique your child’s interest in science and require only an occasional helping hand.
All experiments were chosen with the following formula in mind: easy to do, items most likely in your home, minimal mess but maximum fun!
Your kids will find themselves in a sticky situation by exploring the percentage of sugar in their favourite bubble gum. If you have an assortment of gum in your household, a scale, plastic cups and kids who like to chew gum, then check out this fun experiment.
Simple Snow and Ice Science Experiment
If the ground is covered in snow, then this is the perfect time to run a snow and ice experiment. Two glass jars, ice, snow and time are all you need to explore the physical properties of water.
Sparkling Snow Dough
Too cold to go outside, but your little ones love to play in the snow? Then try this easy recipe for Sparkling Snow Dough. All you need is baking soda and water. Kick it up a notch by adding glitter. This dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for an added sensorial experience.
This magic milk classic is a kitchen science experiment filled with colour and chemistry that requires only three items: full-fat milk, food colouring and a few drops of dishwashing soap.
Even toddlers can use iPhones these days, but how about going back in time and visiting some old-fashioned technology? Making a string phone requires only paper cups, a pencil, paperclips, and some string. Your kids can learn about sound waves and have some fun sharing secrets with their old-fashioned hand-held phone!
Balloon Blow Up!
In this experiment kids investigate elasticity and how gases move. You need balloons, funnels and a pair of safety goggles and of course the usual suspects, vinegar and baking soda.
Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Our feathered friends need energy to get through the winter. This simple bird feeder is a great way to chat about what animals do for food during the cold months when food isn’t as readily available. Help feed the birds by adding seeds to pine cones and then pull up a chair by a window and keep track of the birds that come to feed and visit.
Strung Out Solar System
If you have lots of different coloured yarn lying around, then your kids can spend an afternoon wrapping yarn on circular cardboard cutouts. Have students find the colour of yarn to match each planet and then with a little hand-eye coordination they can build the entire solar system.
It is always wise to save those empty paper towel rolls. With just a few household items, kids can become engineers as they plan, build, test, modify and re-test their design, while at the same time, exploring gravity, forces, and momentum.
Sodium Chloride Painting
This experiment sounds like it may need adult supervision and goggles but have no fear, sodium chloride is safe and found in every kitchen. Sodium chloride, also known as table salt, is the key ingredient needed for your little one to spend an afternoon mixing art and science. Grab some glue, card stock, droppers and small cups and let their imaginations go wild!