We’re all in a new situation currently. Many of us are home in an attempt to help end the issues plaguing us, but this has caused a new issue. We are around our children and while we do love them, we also need to give them something to do. Of course, we also want them to continue to learn. The question is, what are some great ways to implement science at home?
We’re glad you asked, random reader. At Science Sensei, all we do is deliver great science content for you to look at and hopefully learn something new. While we’d love to tell you that reading our website will be educational for your child, this is quite self-indulging.
Rather, we wanted to give you some really cool ideas for you to do with your kids or have them do on their own. This will involve simple things you do around the house that will allow you to use things like Anatomy, Chemistry, Biology, and even Mathematics.
Of course, science and math often play off of each other. Don’t worry, we won’t be giving you Calculus and Algebra stuff to do. Even we find them useless most of the time. Rather, these ideas will involve some day to day stuff you can add science and/or math to or small experiments you can do with your kids.
Since we’re trying to cover all bases as best we can, we will be adding a recommended age for each concept. Of course, we also want to make sure you’re prepared. This is why we’ll also be adding a list of things you’ll need to do each thing too.
Temperatures are very interesting things to measure. While Americans often use Fahrenheit to determine certain temperatures, this is measured in Celcius elsewhere. Regardless of which you prefer, we’d recommend teaching your child about both versions. For example, the average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celcius.
We’d also recommend you show them how temperatures can change based on heat or movement. For example, have them take their temperature and you take your own. Then go outside for a bit, if possible, or do some indoor exercises. Once you have worked up a sweat, take the temp again. It’ll show them the basic science behind temperature and how it shifts.
Gardening is a major part of agriculture, which is a massive part of science overall. No need to go over the top with seeds, as there are certain fruits/vegetables already with them. You can purchase a lot of other seeds for cheap too, but we recommend you look into what is best for your region.
For example, in Florida, oranges are easy to consider but you can also easily plant tomatoes too. However, you also want to keep your child interested in this, so you’ll also want to search for some faster-growing stuff. Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, green onions, spinach, and lettuce grow pretty quickly. We’d also recommend planting a tree, for we cannot get enough of those. Perhaps you’ll want to plant an Apple Tree, to ensure fruit for years to come.
Supplies Needed: Ice, Basic Table Salt, & A String
What you’re going to do is essentially prove how salt melts ice and can make things stick to it like glue. We recommend you get a string to prove this. It can be a basic string or even one from your sock. Put it on the ice and then take it off, showing them how it’s wet and slides off the ice.
Do the same thing again but this time put the string on and add some basic table salt. Leave the string on the ice for about 30 seconds. Then pick it up, showing that the ice and string are now connected. The science behind this is that salt lowers the freezing point of ice, thus allowing the salt to become a thin layer on top of the ice. Once it melts and sticks, the string also sticks. If the ice re-freezes, the string will remain in place.
Today, pennies are made out of Zinc and have copper plating, meaning they are no longer completely copper. This means that acidic products can affect them. Each acidic item you use will affect pennies differently. We recommend you get several pennies, which are likely easy to find around your home.
The next thing you need is a measuring cup, glass, any good liquid holding product. We recommend clear versions you can see into, as it’s easier to see what is happening. You’ll show forms of oxidation and how acid affects things. Vinegar will actually tarnish the penny while Bleach will often turn it into different colors. Things like Lemon juice & Ammonia will mess with them too. However, if you have a penny made before 1981, it’s mostly copper…so less will happen.
Supplies Needed:Warm Water, Liquid Food Coloring, Vegetable Oil, Tablespoon, Large Mason Jar, Small Jar Or Bowl
What is better for kids than creating fireworks in a jar? We might be freaking out parents with this “science at home” concept, but don’t worry. To create this, start with your warm water in the large mason jar, fill it roughly 75% full. In your small bowl or jar, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 4 drops of food coloring. We recommend you get at least 4 different colors.
Slowly mix around all of this, and you should see the droplets break apart. Then slowly pour this mixture into the warm water. You’ll then start to see why oil and water simply do not mix and the reaction to all of this inside the jar. It should result in an oil fireworks show, trapped in a jar.
Lenses are quite important to our everyday life. We use them in several different forms, which is why science at home experiments could be a good way to teach this. You’re essentially teaching them about light refraction and how light can affect how we see things overall. Lenses bend light rays as they pass through lenses.
You will then notice that the light rays can come from a point closer or further away from their original source. This, in turn, is what often dictates the size of an object in the lense. For eyeglasses or contacts, lenses can correct vision by directing light to focus properly on the eye’s retina. Meanwhile, magnifying glasses will be able to look closer at objects.
Supplies Needed:Measurement Cups, Bowls, Mixers, & Other Cooking Supplies
Cooking and Baking can be a great way to teach science at home. The idea behind this is that you’re essentially doing tiny portions of larger concepts. When you bake or cook, you have to follow exact instructions to get the best results. The best part is that you get to eat what you make after, so who could be upset about that?!?
With baking alone, you have to make sure you use exact measurements. This is key as it helps you to know the beginnings of things like Chemistry, where it is also key to use exactness. Overall, you’re teaching them a skill with this too. After all, it is cooking and good to know how to do if you wish to survive for a longer period of time in life.
Every kid loves slime, and we’re going to teach you how to make it with normal household items! First, mix 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of glue well. You’ll then want to add food coloring, glitter, or whatever else. Since you’re using white glue, it should change color with this. Next, stir in 1/4 or 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda.
After, add in 1 tablespoon of saline solution. If the slime is too sticky, just add a few more drops of saline. You can find this in your typical contact solution, by the way. Finally, start kneading your slime with your hands until the consistency changes. Simply put it in a clean container for 3 minutes to let it set. Then it’s ready to play with!
Supplies Needed:Shoes, Clothing That Can Get Dirty
Exercise is important for kids, as it helps their development and helps their overall health. With this, you can teach them certain exercises to build muscle or even how to breathe while using up lots of cardio. Yet you want to make this fun.
When you make exercise into a game, it makes them want to take part. For example, this can be done with football or basketball..both of which help cardio. You can also offer a monetary reward, such as $10 for the first one to do 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 jumping jacks. This can be substituted with other stuff too, like sweets or TV privileges.
Supplies Needed:Carton Of Eggs, Vinegar, Food Coloring, Jar/Vase
Wanna make eggs essentially into rubber? The first step is to put an egg into a jar then add vinegar to make sure completely cover the egg. If you want colored eggs here, merely add food coloring in before you pour onto the egg. You’ll let this sit for 24 hours.
The next day, drain the vinegar out and refill it with more. Then wait another 7 days. After the week is up, remove the egg and rinse it off. You’ll notice some scum on it sometimes but this usually washes off. This can also be done only 2 days instead of a week but 7 days have the best results. You can then just bounce the egg like a ball, and not even come close to breaking it.
Supplies Needed:Numerous Products You Wish To Get Rid Of
Years ago, scientist Galileo Galilei came up with something called the “Falling Bodies Experiment.” Essentially, he simply dropped two objects from the Tower of Pisa in order to prove all objects fall at the same rate, whatever their mass. For example, if one drops 10lbs of feathers and a 10lb watermelon at the same time, which one will reach the ground first?
Taking out any air resistance, both will hit at the same time. What if the weight is higher for one? They’ll still hit the ground at the same time if dropped at the same time. This science at home experiment would be insanely fun for you to teach kids and especially for them to learn.
Supplies Needed:2-Liter Soft Drinks, Pack of Mentos
This science at home experiment is something kids shouldn’t do alone. Mentos put into a soft drink will result in the drink fizzing over and often exploding out, but why? The quick answer is that this creates a process of nucleation. According to Webster’s, this is defined as “the first step in the formation of a new thermodynamic phase or new structure, via self-assembly or self-organization.”
Carbon dioxide in the soft drink attracts to the Mentos, mostly due to the rough outer-shell, which creates bubbles. The CO2 in the soda combined with the fizz is squeezed together in the bottle but needs to get out. This is why the Mentos causes an “explosion” of sorts.
A cool science at home idea to do with kids is the Magic Milk experiment. This will teach them minor Chemistry! All you really need is regular household products. Although, we recommend Full Fat Milk for the best results. The first thing you’ll need to do is pour the milk into a baking dish or something with a flat-bottom surface to it.
Next, add droplets of food coloring all over the top surface of the milk, then mix them all up together. After, pour just a bit of Dish Soap in a bowl then coat your cotton swab(s) in the dish soap. Gently touch the surface of the milk with the swab. You’ll see a cool reaction! This is caused by proteins and fats in the milk, proving they are likely or capable of change.
This science at home experiment involves making a homemade lava lamp! You won’t need very much to do it either. The first step is to fill your jar or jars about 2/3 full of oil, this can be either cooking or baby oil. Next, fill your jars the rest of the way with mere water. After this, add drops of food coloring to your oil and water mix.
While some people mix the food coloring into this, you do not have to. Finally, add the Alka Seltzer tablets. It can be any version of them you have. You’ll now see the cool reaction inside! The reaction to the AS tablet will slow down eventually. When this happens, just add another.
If your child has reached roughly the second grade and beyond, they’ve likely learned at least a bit about oxygen. However, many kids do not understand how Oxygen truly works, especially how it operates in other forms. A good way to display this is by taking them swimming, either in your own pool or local swimming area.
This is when you teach them about H2O, the Elemental Number for Water. Keep in mind that this stands for Hydrogen and Oxygen. Mention that although oxygen we breathe is present in the water, we cannot use it. Yet fish can due to their gills. These gills take in oxygen and let the water carry away their CO2. This is why we have to hold our breath and they can breathe.
Supplies Needed:15-20 Highlighter Markers, Large Clear Bowl, Water
If you want to do some amazing science at home, this is for you. Highlighters contain something known as Fluorescein. This is a safe, biodegradable product. Making it fine to isolate around people, especially kids. You’ll need pliers to get the bottom off of the highlighter, exposing the Fluorescein tubes.
The best way to remove the Fluorescein from the tubes is to use rubbing alcohol and filter it out. Make sure you catch the stuff in a beaker or bowl. Put your solution into a saucepan and put it on an oven eye on Medium. This will concentrate the Fluorescein well and It’ll likely turn reddish or brown. Merely pour this into a big bowl of water and watch what happens!
Supplies Needed:Vegetable Oil, Shallow Dish, Napkins, Magnet, Iron Fillings
Ferrofluid is pretty awesome. It’s essentially magnetized liquid and it is pretty cool to see in action. To make it, first, pour vegetable oil into a shallow dish, then pour iron fillings into it and mix the two up until it becomes thick. You can find iron fillings at your average hardware store, in case you’re wondering. This creates your ferrofluid.
Now use a napkin to absorb any excess oil, allowing the ferrofluid to become thicker. You can do this best by attaching a magnet to the outside of the dish. It should help you get most of the oil out. Now, just add your magnet to the dish with the liquid and it should take the shape of the magnetic field it’s in. Remove the magnet, it’ll go right back to being a liquid. When deciding to get rid of the ferrofluid, merely pour it into the trash and not your drain.
Supplies Needed:Water, Clear Plastic Bottle With Cap, Glitter, Dish Soap
The Tornado in a Bottle Experiment is nothing new, as this science at home experiment has been around for decades. You won’t need much for it either. To make it, first, fill your plastic bottle with water until it’s 3/4 full. Then add a few drops of Dish Soap.
Afterward, sprinkle in a few pinches of glitter. The glitter is to help make your tornado easier to spot. Put the cap on the bottle, making sure to seal as tight as possible. Turn the bottle upside down, holding at the neck. Now, quickly spin the bottle in a circular motion. You’ll now see a mini-tornado forming in the bottle! This is yet again, minor Chemistry and very fun to do.
Most of us grew up playing with JENGA blocks, so why would we not play with them alongside our children? While it may seem like a dumb game, JENGA actually teaches you a lot. Not only does it teach us about Geometry but it also shows you how Physics operates, on top of Isaac Newton’s Gravitational concept.
Promoting science at home, you will show your children all of these things and they will quickly learn the best ways to keep the JENGA Tower up. How many blocks can support the tower? Where can we take from and leave it standing? All of this teaches major lessons in the above science/math categories that will serve your children well as they age.
While it may not seem like a great way to promote science at home, playing a game regarding what sinks & floats is great. It not only helps kids understand how floatation works, but you could also show them how to make flotation devices. This way, should they need to know, they’ll be good to go. You’re also teaching about Density & Buoyancy.
The major thing to discuss is why something sinks. The only reason something sinks is that it weighs more than the water it is displacing. If it weighs less, it floats. This is why big rocks sink but boats float. The rock might be heavy but it’s only displacing a small bit of water and thus sinks. Meanwhile, a boat, which takes up a large surface area, isn’t weighing more and will float. The same premise explains how humans float.
Supplies Needed:Hydrogen Peroxide, Uncooked Pasta Noodles, Yeast, Mason Jar & Lid
In this way to promote science at home, we’re making the Pasta Rocket. The main way this works is through the Hydrogen Peroxide and Yeast. When they are combined, it caused the Peroxide to release oxygen gas. You’ll need a Mason Jar with Lid, which you’ll cut a hole in to put the pasta noodle. Do not use a ring to keep the lid and jar together. We want it to be loose.
Fill the jar 3/4 of the way with Hydrogen Peroxide. Then add about a quarter teaspoon of yeast. Mix it in, and you should already see it bubbling up. Now put the lid on and simply put a noodle on top of the hole. Just ignite the top of the noodle and you’ll see a rocket flame pop up. Thankfully, it won’t result in the Pasta going up in the air if you followed directions.
Many seem unaware of various, yet interesting chemistry concepts. If you want to do some awesome science at home, we recommend coming up with a lot of these. In this situation, we’re going to teach you how to make fire out of household sugar and sodium chlorate. You can get the latter in things like Herbicides. Be sure to dispose of this well when you’re done.
Sodium Chlorate and Sugar, on their own, are not flammable. However, together, they are. You just need to put a bit together, and fire will happen almost immediately. If you put a good bit of it together….you could create a small bomb. This is why it’s often hard to get your hands on straight, pure, sodium chlorate today. We cannot stress enough to only use a small amount of each one.
While we’re not one to say that children necessarily “need” puzzles to properly grow into good human beings, they are very helpful. The reason? They encourage your child to think and adapt. At the same time, it teaches them about simple concepts of life, such as rule-sets. In that, no matter how much you want a puzzle piece to fit…it can only go one place.
This cannot change, regardless of how creative you might be. As a result, if we had to mention a way to keep your child involved in science at home material…we’d highly recommend puzzles. Of course, they can be small or massive types. It’s just up to you on how you go about it. You’re teaching brain science with this, which is important in childhood development.
Wanna see a magic trick? Okay, okay. This is not exactly science if it’s magic, right? Well, as The Flash says (attributed to Arther C. Clarke)….”magic is just science we don’t understand yet.” In this case, we DO know how the trick is done and it’s absolutely amazing. So get your supplies together and pour half a cup of water into one cup. You’ll want to put a drop of color in too. Science at home is not as fun if people “think” they know how the magic is done initially, right?
These clear cups are great but the color ensures people will see what you’re doing. Now, if you open an average diaper you’ll see powder in it. This is super absorbent and the average one will likely give you a teaspoon of this powder. Put all that powder into another cup. Now pour your colored water into the powder cup. Then wait 10 to 15 seconds. Use some magic words if you want. Then turn over the cup to see that the water has now disappeared!
Since this does involve some use of fire, always be sure this is done with adults present! First, mix roughly 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice with one tablespoon of water. Stir using the cotton bud. You will now use the damp end of the cotton swab to write your hidden message on the piece of paper you have.
Once this is complete, light your candle using matches or a lighter. Now, hold your paper over the candle but make sure it is a safe distance from it. You want the heat to reach it but not be so close that it can burn the paper or you. The lemon juice, due to oxidation, will begin to turn brown and allow you to see the hidden message. It’s the perfect, fun experiment to teach your kids about this sort of stuff and about how oxidizing works!
With this, you can go over the top and make an entire paper-mache volcano. However, this can work with a volcano made from rocks, dirt, sand, and much more outdoors too. We’re pretty much just going to tell you how to make the actual “explosion” part of the volcano. Be sure to decide on this before making the explosion formula.
Pour water inside a cup around 2/3 of the way full. Then add 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of Dish Soap, and 1/2 to 2 oz of the washable paint to it. Now, mix all this up well and then pour it into the volcano you created. Finally, add 1 cup or 8 oz. of Vinegar in and BOOM!! your explosion will begin. It’s perfectly safe for kids with zero stain risks!!
A boat powered by Soap?!? Yes, it’s possible! Well, sort of. Using some scissors, cut out the middle section of a paper plate to get a square. Next, cut two side sections in the same area to get what looks like a mini-house look. After that, go to the bottom and cut a small rectangle in the middle, then what will look like a circle on top of that, which should get you to the middle.
Pour a little dish soap in a small cup or holder of any kind, then pour water into a small tray. This can also work in a bathtub too. Place the boat on the water. Finally, use your toothpick to stick into the dish soap then touch it to the boat at the middle circle you created. It should send the boat flying! This is a form of surface tension.
Supplies Needed:Plastic 2 Liter, Cup/Glass, Clean Sand, Charcoal (Activated), Gravel or Small Rocks
Learning how to make water safe to drink can save your life one day. Any water in the wild is likely going to be unsafe to drink barring a few circumstances. Therefore, purifying or filtering it can be crucial. To do this, you’ll need sand, charcoal, and gravel as well as a bottle and cutting device.
First, cut off the bottom of the bottle, turn it upside down with the cap on. Add in an inch of charcoal, then add about 2 inches of gravel or rocks. Next, add 3 to 4 inches of sand and finally finish off with another gravel layer. Leave at least a half-inch of space from the top though. Now, pour your dirty water into this. Open the cap of the bottle while you have it over a glass or water holder. You should now get clean drinking water!
Supplies Needed:LEGOs (to fit the age of your child)
LEGOs are a lot like JENGA blocks. They each team something very valuable, structure. See, when you’re working with JENGA blocks, it’s all about removing from a structure to see how long it remains. With LEGOs, it’s all about creating something special. Thus, one of the best ways to do science at home is simply playing with LEGOS.
They will learn small forms of Geometry, which also will, in turn, teach them how to evaluate the things they make. Can it stand? Does it need more to keep it up? Can it move and remain the same in its new place? All of these questions and more can be answered just by playing. Sometimes, creating science at home moments is just that easy.
First and foremost, the name of this is “water into wine” but don’t think too much into that. You can substitute the wine with juice, of course. To do this, you will first need to fill up one glass with water all the way to the brim. Do the same with your juice glass. Now, get a plastic container and cut out a square from it. This needs to be big enough to fit over the glasses you use.
Next, put this plastic piece over your water glass and turn it over, placing the water glass on top of the juice glass with this plastic piece in the middle. Now, slowly make an opening between the two by pulling the plastic piece out a small bit. Some of the juice/wine will go up while the water goes down. After about 10 minutes, the two will have officially switched places!