Science is a rare school subject naturally exciting to most kids. They love testing to see if a hypothesis proves correct and let’s face it, they love getting messy. Experimenting with science at home is a great way to expand on what kids are learning in school while spending some quality time with your family.
Today’s toy stores are chock-full of chemistry sets and science kits, but it’s easy to create science experiments at home, even without the fancy equipment. Plus, it’s cheaper!
Part of the fun of experiments is the guessing. Make predictions with your child before setting out on your adventure. Write them down so that you can go back and double check your predictions after you are done experimenting.
Almost any material is a potential science project in disguise. But here are a few ideas to get you started:
Experiment With Chemistry
Ever heard of oobleck? It’s a fantastic material because it changes form depending on what you do with it. When it’s in your hand, it’s a liquid, but when it’s in the bowl it turns solid. Oobleck is fun and it’s a great way to talk about how certain mediums can change forms. Check out Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss, for a literature connection.
1 ½ cups cornstarch
1 cup water
Several drops of food coloring
Mix the food coloring into the water. Then stir with the cormstarch to make a thick mixture (similar to pancake batter).
No interest in oobleck? Consider a less glamorous alternative… water. Turn it to vapor by making steam, or put it in your freezer to make a solid – ice.
Experiment With Ecology
Introduce kids to evaporation. Take several small cups of water and place them in different locations around your house. (Make sure to put one where it will get sun to help with the evaporation!) Measure the amount of water in the beginning and then record the differences every several days. For a change of pace, put the cups into baggies: evaporation plus condensation! When your experiment is complete, discuss why the water in some places evaporated more or less than it did in other places, and talk about any condensation.
Experiment With Life Science
Why is it important for animals living in a savannah to be fast? Why do polar bears need so much fur? How do animals in the desert stay cool? Take a trip to your local zoo for a chance to bring habitat to life. Visit different animals and talk about the type of areas they live in. Discuss the different features that animals have in their unique environments. If you don’t have a zoo near you, go on an Internet hunt or visit a zoo online!
There are so many fun things you can do with your kids to expand on science at home. Have fun and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.