20 Fun Science Projects to do at home with your kids
Science projects are something that every grown-up remembers as a kid. Whether it was building a volcano with some plaster and baking soda, or mixing different paints in a bag to see what the result would be, these hands-on experiments act as great lessons for young students and will stick with them for years.
The best part is, most of what you would need to do a science project at home is already, well… at home! If you’re looking for something to do next weekend, here are some great science projects you can do at home with your kids!
Science projects using things you have at home
Observe the water cycle
If your child is ever wondering why it rains, or why there are clouds, then this experiment is perfect! All you need is a zip-lock bag, a marker, tape, blue food coloring, and water.
This water cycle experiment will help your child learn about the different stages of the water cycle. They’ll see the water rise, and some water back into the water at the bottom of the bag. This experiment is perfect for lower school students who are learning the fundamentals of natural science!
Inflate balloons with homemade carbon dioxide
This experiment is great to learn about how states of matter can change by mixing solids and liquids to create carbon dioxide gas. Watch how combining baking soda and vinegar will cause a balloon to fill up and rise from the chemical reaction of mixing these two materials.
For this fun chemistry experiment, you’ll need a 12-16oz bottle, a balloon, baking soda, vinegar, a small funnel for getting the baking soda into the balloon, and a measuring cup.
Make your own tornado in a mason jar
If your child doesn’t fully understand what a tornado is, then you can explain it with only a few household items! Tornadoes are quickly spinning vortexes of air, and we can create this same effect in a jar. Grab your jar, fill it with water, a few squirts of liquid soap, and a cap-full of vinegar and you’re good to go! Put the lid back on tightly and your child can watch a tornado form as they shake the bottle or spin it quickly.
Make your own volcano to explore different chemical reactions
This experiment is a classic and one that will stick with your child for years to come. Like the inflating balloon experiment, you’ll need vinegar and baking soda in order to create carbon dioxide. You’ll also use some liquid dishwashing soap, a small bottle, and some red food coloring for the lava. If you want to go above and beyond, you can build the volcano itself with some paper mache, plaster, or clay. If you don’t want to get those materials, just surround the bottle with a pile of dirt outside!
Follow this tutorial from Science Bob to watch your volcano erupt right in your yard! Experiment with different levels of vinegar, the shape of the bottle, the temperature of the vinegar, etc. to see how your volcano is affected. This is a great experiment, and who doesn’t love to see a volcano erupt!
Discover chemical reactions with mentos and coke
Looking for more epic explosion experiments? Try the infamous coke and mentos experiment! Putting mentos into a bottle of soda causes carbon dioxide bubbles to form around them. The mentos cause a rapid build-up of carbon dioxide molecules, and as these bubbles rise it frees up more carbon dioxide to create more bubbles. Eventually, so much gas is built up that the soda shoots out of the bottle!
Remember to take the necessary safety precautions when conducting this experiment. Follow this tutorial from ACS where you can also watch an informative video on the science behind the reaction.
Still want more chemistry? Build a lava lamp!
In this experiment, your child can learn about liquid densities in a super cool and colorful way! You’ll need water, vegetable oil, an alka seltzer tablet, food coloring, and a bottle to make your lava lamp.
The idea is that the Alka seltzer tablet makes carbon dioxide when it is put in the water, and the carbon dioxide bubbles attach to the food coloring. This is where you’ll see the colors float to the top. When it gets to the top, the bubbles release the gas and the food coloring will float back down to the bottom of the container. The lava lamp will run until the alka seltzer completely dissolves.
This experiment is beautiful and will definitely impress your child. For more detailed instructions, check out this tutorial from Science Fun.
Learn about physics and electricity with steel wool sparks
What happens when you rub a 9-volt battery against a ball of steel wool? Try this experiment to find out! This is a super neat physics experiment and is definitely worth finding some steel wool for. It will teach your child about the building blocks of atoms, circuits, and instant reactions.
Learn about oxidation and clean some old pennies
We know that over time, pennies start to look dirty. If they’re old enough, you’ll notice they start to have patches of green. Maybe your child has noticed this before and wondered why. Maybe they’ve seen the Statue of Liberty, and don’t know that it was originally a copper statue!
This experiment requires dirty or old pennies, and your child can try different liquids to see which ones work in making them look shiny and new. This tutorial suggests gathering a few groups of pennies, water, soap, and vinegar. Get two cups as well. In each cup, put one or two pennies in, and fill the cups with either vinegar or water and soap. Have your child guess which will clean the pennies. They may be surprised!
The acidic nature of vinegar dissolves the chemicals on pennies that form from copper reacting to oxygen, so the vinegar will be the most successful in giving you your shiny new pennies.
Learn about Capillary action with watercolors
More geared towards middle school students, this is a fun experiment that helps teach your child about capillary action. Capillary action is when liquid flows in narrow spaces without the assistance of gravity or another force. Take the 350 ft tall Redwood trees in California for example. The water is able to reach the top of the trees through capillary action and allow them to keep growing.
Study.com has a capillary action tutorial that only requires three glasses, some water, two food colorings, and two paper towels. You’ll be able to see the colored water travel from one glass to another connected by a paper towel. It’s super cool!
Learn about mixing colors with some paint and a baggie
This one is great for students who are starting to explore the color wheel. All you need is some paints and plastic baggies! You can make a game out of it by putting the colors in a bag without mixing them, and have your child guess what color they will combine to make. After they guess, they get to squish and squeeze away to mix the two colors and see their new creation!
Make s’mores with a homemade solar oven
Try this fun experiment using some tin foil and a pizza box. What better way to teach your child about harnessing solar energy than with a homemade solar oven to make delicious s’mores? This one requires a bit more craft, so it’ll be a great afternoon bonding activity with your child. Check out this step-by-step guide by Steve Spangler Science and you’ll be eating summertime sweets in no time!
Explore the (styrofoam) solar system
Another classic, teach your child about the solar system using styrofoam balls and acrylic paint. You can just paint the styrofoam balls, or get more crafty and connect them all in the correct order with sticks.
For more detailed information on the correct sizes and paint colors, follow this solar system tutorial. Your child will love it and want to show it off to their friends!
Create a leak-proof bag to learn about polymer chains
This cool trick will amaze anyone of any age. It’s easy to set up because all you need are some pencils, a Ziploc bag, and water. The idea is to poke the pencils directly through the bag and out the other side. You can do it multiple times and the water won’t leak out! Why? Polymer chains! The Ziploc is made of a polymer which means that when you poke the bag with the pencil, the chains of molecules will act as a sealant.
Learn how saltwater affects buoyancy with an egg
Eggs are much denser than water, so when you put an egg into a tub of water, it will sink right to the bottom. But what happens when you start adding salt to it? If you’ve ever been to the Dead Sea, you know that you’re extremely buoyant due to the high concentration of salt.
Teach your child about salt’s effects on the buoyancy of water by slowly adding increments of salt to your tub of water and watch the egg slowly rise back to the top. For more detailed instructions, follow this Science Fun tutorial!
Play the sink or float game with objects around the house
Still want more buoyancy experiments? Grab a bowl of water and some small objects around the house. It could be a lego brick, keys, a fork, an empty cup, a penny, whatever you want! You can play the “sink or float” game with your child where they have to guess whether or not the object will, well, sink or float.
For a bonus educational experience, if they get it wrong, you can try to explain why something sinks or floats to help them better understand buoyancy!
Test your building skills with a LEGO boat experiment
Who doesn’t love LEGOs? If you have a lot of the little bricks lying around the house, you can challenge your child to a boat building competition. No, it doesn’t have to be a beautiful boat. The idea is to get your creation to float on water. If it doesn’t, take it out and try again! See what works, and what doesn’t, and try to figure out why different things are making it float.
Make a marshmallow catapult to learn the basics of engineering
This is more of a fun activity than anything else, but it’ll get your child used to the fundamentals of building things and how physics has a role in it. You’ll need some jumbo marshmallows, mini marshmallows, wooden skewers, a plastic spoon, a rubber band, and some tape.
Follow this step-by-step guide to create your marshmallow catapult and then fire these delicious treats across the room!
Test out the aerodynamics of your paper airplane
Sure, making paper airplanes can just be a fun activity, but you can also turn it into an afternoon experiment! Ask questions like why does one plane fly farther than the other? What happens when you crease the wings? What happens when you increase or decrease the length of the body? What happens when you tape the front of the plane versus leaving it open?
Posing these questions and experimenting will give your child a grasp on aerodynamics, and also practice with the method of forming hypotheses, testing them, and then forming new hypotheses.
Discover where your taste buds are with a flavor experiment
A taste test experiment is a fun activity for all ages. A lot of people don’t know how our taste buds work, so this will be a great opportunity to learn with your child! This ToughtCo tutorial will walk you through how to set up the experiment, form hypotheses, and test them so your child can learn about what areas of their tongue are sensitive to which flavors.
Bring out your inner musician with musical glasses
Last but not least, this experiment is for the students who love music, and love to make it even more! Connections Academy offers a bunch of different takes on the water glass experiment, but the basic idea is that you fill several cups of water to different levels and gently blow on the cups to produce a sound. Since the water levels are different, they should create different sounds.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this activity, like manipulating sound waves, using measuring cups and basic math, and experimentation to create new sounds each time!
Which science project will you do?
As you can see, there are a ton of possibilities when it comes to science projects or experiments you can do with your child. Each of these is unique and offers a learning experience using a hands-on and fun approach. Feel free to share your results with us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post!
If you’re interested in learning more about our science programs at Gulf Stream School, check out our Academics page on the website!