10 simple science experiments you can do at home
three girls doing science experiments

Preschooler

10 easy science experiments you can do with your kids at home

by Kiindred | posted 5th March, 2021

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It’s never too early to get your little ones involved and excited by STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Science is officially cool!

There are so many easy ways to get kids thinking about cause and effect and start wiring their brains for future learning. All whilst having a little fun!

These simple activities can be done at home, with everyday items you probably already have around the house.

So next rainy day, or when you need something to entice them away from the TV give these science experiments a try. You may like to work to their interests or open them up to new and exciting concepts they haven’t come across before. Or a combination of both!

The kids will love these simple science experiments. Not only will they have fun but there are also so many learning opportunities hidden in them. Use each activity to start a conversation about the how and the why.

This is building the foundation of curious minds and the next generation of thinkers, makers and doers.

Some examples of questions to ask the children after you do the experiments to start a discussion may be:

• What did you see when you put the…?

• Why/how do you think that happened?

• Is there anything else you noticed?

Make sure the kids are always supervised when doing any of these activities. Some of the experiments may also require extra precaution with safety gear such as goggles, coats/aprons or gloves.

10 science experiments to do with your kids

1. Magic milk

This is a perfectly simple experiment to ease you and your child into the world of science. But just because this is simple doesn’t mean they won’t love it.

magic milk science experiment

Image and experiment via Fun Learning For Kids

What you need:
• Milk
• Liquid food colouring – gel doesn’t work well
• Liquid dish soap
• Cotton buds
• Large shallow dish

Instructions:

1. Pour a thin layer of milk into the shallow dish.
2. Get the kids to add drops of food colouring into the milk.
3. Dip the cotton bud into the dish soap.
4. Then get the kids to put the cotton bud into the milk – holding it in one spot for about 15 seconds and watch what happens.

2. Ocean in a bottle

This is a classic toddler science experiment that never fails to disappoint!

ocean in a bottle science experiment

Image and experiment via Happy Hooligans

What you need:
• Water
• Cooking oil
• Blue food colouring
• Large clear, plastic bottle
• Funnel

Instructions:

1. Fill your bottle around ⅓ of the way
2. Add in several drops of the blue food colouring.
3. Then get your child to shake the bottle up to disperse the colour.
4. Ask your child what they think is going to happen when you add the water.
5. Then fill the bottle up with oil and place the lid on tightly and get shaking.

3. Colour changing flowers

This is a really simple science experiment, but the kids will love watching the flowers change colour!

Image and experiment via Fun Learning For Kids

What you need:

• White flowers
• Liquid food colouring in a variety of colours
• Small glasses or jars

Instructions:

1. To start you will want to trim the stems of each flower to fit the glasses or jars.
2. Fill each cup about halfway with water.
3. Add 10-15 drops of food colouring into the water and give it a stir.
4. Place a flower into each glass.
5. Get the children to discuss what they think will happen.
6. Set a timer to check back every couple of hours.

4. Shaving cream rain clouds

Shaving cream rain cloud

Image and experiment via One Little Project 

What you need:

• A clear glass, vase or bowl (you can do one big one or one for each child)
• Food colouring
• Shaving cream
• Small cups or containers
• Water
• An eyedropper or syringe

Instructions:
1. Start by filling the small cups with water.
2. Add different colours of food colouring to each one. The more colouring you add, the bolder, the clouds will look.
3. Fill the large glass or vase about ⅔ full with water
4. Top it with shaving cream, making it into a cool shape and into peaks on top.
5. Use the eye-dropper or syringe to drop the different colours of water onto the shaving cream cloud. The closer you squirt to the edges, the faster it will go through the shaving cream and come down as rain.

5. Bottle rocket

What kid isn’t going to get excited by making their own rocket? And with a little good old bicarb and vinegar, you can!

Bottle rockets

Image and experiment via Steam Powered Family

What you need:

• An empty, rinsed 2L bottle (the kids can decorate this any way they want to make it look like a rocket)
• Baking Soda (aka sodium bicarbonate)
• Vinegar
• Paper towel
• A cork (or substitute something like a pool noodle piece, a cork will give more power to your launch!)
• A launchpad (this needs to be something that will hold your bottle up, you can make it out of lego or a cardboard box or anything around the house)
• A nice big open space – outdoors is best because there will be mess (and it will shoot up high)

Instructions:

1. Pour approximately 1 – 2 cups of vinegar in the bottle.
2. Take a piece of paper towel and cut it to about 10cm square.
3. Place about a tablespoon of baking soda in the centre of the paper towel. Fold up the paper towel so the baking soda is wrapped up inside and it fits snugly inside the mouth of the bottle.
4. Insert the cork into the opening of the bottle, make sure it is in there tightly.
5. You need to move quickly for this next bit! Flip the bottle over, place it in the launchpad and move back quickly and watch the rocket blast off!

6. Sink or float

This is a great experiment to let the kids take charge and get them really using their brains to predict outcomes.

Image and experiment via Fun with Mama

What you need: 

• Printer
• Paper/cardboard
• Any items around the float such as balls, apple, spoon, crayon, button, flower, rubber duck, leaf, toy car etc.
• Water
• Water table or large plastic containers

Instructions:

1. Go around the house and gather items that you can test – get the kids involved.
2. Print out worksheets or draw them up yourselves (another whole activity in itself)
3. Fill up the tubs with water (children should always be supervised around water).
4. Get the child to pick up an item and inspect it, describe it and make a guess whether they think it will sink or float.
5. Then talk about each item and ask them why they thought each one would sink or float.
6. You can then get them to race 2 items at a time and guess which one will sink the quickest.

7. Apple oxidation

Test the effects of different liquids on an apple with your budding little scientist.


Image and experiment via Jennifer Findley

What you need:

You can choose any liquids you like but there are some good options:

• Plain water
• Saltwater (1/8 tsp of salt, 1 cup of water)
• Sugared water (1 tbsp of sugar, 1 cup of water)
• Honey water (1 tbsp of honey, 1 cup of water)
• Lemon juice
• Lemonade (or another soft drink)
• Apple juice
• Orange juice
• Milk

You’ll also need some cups and an apple, cut into wedges.

Instructions:
1. Pour liquid into separate cups and label what each one is
2. Discuss which liquids they think will have the greatest effect on the apple
3. Cut up the apple and place one slice in each cup, ensuring the liquid is completely covering the flesh.
4. Keep one apple slice out of the liquid as a comparison.
5. Put a timer on for 3 minutes, 6 minutes (and then more if you want, you can even test overnight).
6. Have a conversation about which ones had the greatest effect on the apple and why.

8. How to grow an avocado from a seed

Growing an avocado is super-easy and looks really cool – but just a word of warning this one will require a little bit of patience! It can take 5-10 years for an avocado tree to actually produce fruit…

But in the meantime as the avocado seed sprouts, it looks cool and the kids will enjoy watching it grow.

As well as a good lesson in science it’s also teaching your kids about sustainability and helping them understand where some of the foods they love to eat come from.

Avocado seed sprout in glass
Experiment via Good Housekeeping 

What you need:

• An avocado seed
• A glass or jar
• Toothpicks

Instructions:

1. Save an avocado seed that hasn’t been cut or damaged and give it a good wash. Let it dry and then insert 3-4 toothpicks evenly around the centre.
2. Place the seed on top of the glass so it is suspended by the toothpicks.
3. Fill the glass with enough water to submerge the bottom of the seed.
4. Place it out of direct sunlight and make sure you change the water regularly.
5. In 2-6 weeks you should have roots beginning to sprout.
6. Once that sprout is around 6 inches long, trim it back to half of that to encourage more growth.
7. Once it grows out again it’s time to move it to a pot with some soil and continue to water it and watch it grow!

9. Balloon-powered car

This one is a little fiddly to make but watch your little one’s face light up as their car takes off!

Image and experiment via Science Sparks

What you need:

• Thin cardboard
• Tape
• 4 plastic lids
• 1 balloon
• 2 skewers
• Elastic band
• Straws

Instructions:

1. Carefully attach each skewer to one plastic lid to make a wheel and axle. Depending on the type of lid you may be able to pierce the plastic otherwise you might need to glue it in place.
2. Cut a straw in half and place each half over the skewer, before attaching the second wheel
3. Cut the cardboard so it fits over the axles as the body of the car. You want the car to be as light as possible so make this as small as you can.
4. Attach the cardboard to the straws with some tape.
5. Turn the car over double-check that the wheels can move freely.
6. Attach your balloon to one end of another straw and fix in place with an elastic band.
7. Attach this straw and balloon to the top of the car with some more tape.
8. Then blow up the balloon and let it rip!

10. Static electricity butterfly

Balloons provide endless fun to kids but you can also turn them into a learning activity with this simple science experiment.

Image and experiment via I Heart Crafty Things

What you need:

• Thick cardboard
• Coloured paper
• tissue paper
• pencil
• scissors
• googly eyes
• balloon
• glue stick

Instructions:

1. Cut your cardboard into a square, roughly 7 inches x 7 inches (big enough to sit your balloon on)
2. Cut your tissue paper into butterfly wings, they should be slightly smaller than your cardboard.
3. Then cut a body for your butterfly out of paper and glue it down the middle of the wings. It should overlap and stick on to the cardboard. Make sure you don’t glue the wings down you need them to be loose.
5. Glue on your googly eyes and any other decorations your kids like.
6. Now blow up your balloon.
7. Rub the balloon into your hair (or your toddlers) to give it an electric charge. Then hold it on top of your butterfly (close but not touching), and the wings raise and lower as you move the balloon.

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