5 easy science experiments for kids

Magic balloon

Ages: 4+

You need:

  • Balloon
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Clean, empty plastic bottle

1.   Stretch the balloon so it is easy to inflate.

2.   Pour the vinegar into the bottle.

3.   Use a funnel to fill the balloon with baking soda.

4.   Stretch the balloon over the top of the bottle.

5.   Quickly tip all of the baking soda into the bottle.

What is happening?

If all goes well, the balloon should inflate! Mixing baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that creates carbon dioxide (CO2). The gas rises and inflates the balloon.

Rainbow volcano

Rainbow Volcano science experiment

Ages: 4+

You need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food colouring
  • Glitter
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Clear plastic cup or glass jar
  • Large dish or tray

1.   Stand the cup in the dish.

2.   Half fill the cup with vinegar.

3.   Add a few drops of one colour of food colouring and some glitter to the vinegar. Then add a good squeeze of dishwashing liquid and stir.

4.   Add a heaped teaspoon of baking soda, stir again… and watch!

5.   When the foam slows, add another spoon of baking soda.

6.   To change colours, just add a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with a different colour of food colouring. Make sure you drop the coloured vinegar into the middle of the volcano.

What is happening?

The volcano is caused by the same reaction as in the Magic Balloon experiment. However this time the dishwashing liquid makes it foam rather than fizz and the glitter and colouring gives it a rainbow effect.

Experiment inspiration from babbledabbledo.com

Wonderful walking water

Ages: 3+

You will need:

  • 2 paper towels
  • 3 glasses or jars
  • Food colouring

1.   Place the three glasses side by side and fill the outer two with water. Leave the centre glass empty.

2.   Colour the water by adding a few drops of food colouring into the outer glasses. Choose 2 different primary colours.

3.   Fold a piece of paper towel in half lengthways. Repeat so that you have a long strip of paper towel. Carefully arrange the strip so that one end is submerged in a glass of water and the other end sits in the empty glass.

4.   Repeat Step 3 with the second piece of paper towel and other water glass.

5.   Watch and wait! In about 30 minutes you should see the water begin to walk between the glasses. Check your experiment again after two hours, what colour is the water in the middle glass? Why?

What is happening?

The process used in this experiment is the same that plants use to move water from the ground, through their stems, and up into their petals or leaves. This process is called ‘capillary action’ where water is moved along a conduit—in this experiment the conduit is the paper towel.

Lava lamp

lava lamp science experiment for kids

Ages: 3+

You need:

  • A clean, transparent bottle or cup (an empty soda or water bottle is perfect)
  • Water (room temperature)
  • Oil
  • Fizzing tablets (Alka Seltzer, or anything that fizzes in water will work!)
  • Food colouring

1.   Fill your bottle with oil until it is just below 3⁄4 full.

2.   Add about 10mL of coloured water into the oil and let it settle to the bottom of the bottle.

3.   Drop half a fizzy tablet into the mixture and observe the reaction occurring in the bottle. The water should fizz and bubble, rise through the liquid and slowly fall back to the bottom of the container.

4.   When the reaction has finished, you can add another half tablet and watch the reaction again!

What is happening?

Water is denser than oil, meaning that it contains more matter. Because of this, water will sink below oil when they are placed together. The oil and water won’t mix together because water molecules are more attracted to each other than to oil molecules. This would cause oily blobs to move around your bottle if you were to turn it upside down. When you add the fizzing tablet into your lava lamp, carbon dioxide (CO2) is introduced into the water, allowing the water to float to the top of the container. When the carbon dioxide bubbles pop, the water, being the heavier substance, returns to the bottom of the container.

Sugar crystals

Ages: 5+

You need:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Cotton string
  • A small, clean glass jar
  • A small screw, or metal weight
  • A straw or pencil
  • Baking paper
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • A small saucepan

1. Tie the screw onto one end of a piece of string. Tie the other end around the straw (it needs to be long enough to suspend the screw in the jar and it almost touch the bottom).

2. Heat the water in a saucepan until it comes to a boil (have an adult do this).

3. Add the sugar and stir continuously until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling. Add food colouring if you would like coloured crystals.

4. Remove from heat and carefully pour the liquid into the jar (have an adult do this).

5. Dip the screw into the mixture, then remove and let dry on a piece of baking paper for a day.

6. Return the dried string to the jar of sugar solution and leave for a week.

7. Watch the crystals gradually form.

8. Though it is tempting, try not to disturb the string within the 7 days, to give the crystals a chance to grow.


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