Take one or more kids. Add a few common household ingredients. Et voilà, observe.
Kids love to explore the world around them and experiment with materials at their disposal. Just ask any parent with children who dig into bags of dry flour and bowls of wet batter while helping in the kitchen.
Take the fun one step further with these fizzy, colourful, gooey experiments that are sure to captivate your budding scientist at any age. By using non-toxic ingredients, like baking soda, vegetable oil and water, even the littlest ones in your home can participate in the magic. Learning will come naturally; they’ll think they’re just having fun!Photo: iStockphoto
You need: ground coffee filters, paper towels, an eyedropper and red, yellow and blue liquid watercolours (or food colouring).
Place a round coffee filter on top of a sheet of paper towel. Drip a few drops of one colour onto the filter. Then, drip a few drops of a second colour on top of the first. Watch what happens.
Red, yellow and blue are the primary colours. By mixing them in various combinations, you can create all other hues. The wet pigments on the coffee filter will mix together to form a new colour, right before your eyes.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: A clear jar, shaving cream, food colouring and water.
Pour water in the jar until it is half full. Spray shaving cream on top of the water. Add several drops of food colouring on top of the shaving cream. Wait and watch.
The food colouring will eventually break through the shaving cream and “rain” down through the water below not unlike when water droplets that form inside a cloud become heavy enough to fall from the sky.
Why does it rain? Find out HERE.
You need: Eggshells (broken in half), Epsom salts, water, food colouring and an egg carton.
Rinse and dry the eggshells, and place them in an egg carton. Combine equal parts hot tap water (not boiling) and Epsom salts. (We used 1/4 cup of each for six half eggshells.) Stir the Epsom salts into the water until they have dissolved. Keep adding salt until no more will dissolve. This is called a "saturated solution." Pour the mixture into the eggshells, making sure to scoop a bit of the undissolved salts into each shell. Add a few drops of food colouring to each shell, or leave the mixture uncoloured. Then, place the shells in the fridge. As the saturated solution cools, crystallization will begin.
After three to four hours, remove the shells from the fridge and drain the excess liquid. You will see needle-like crystals beginning to form inside the eggshells. After 24 hours, coral-like crystals will begin to grow on the edge of the eggshells.
What’s a geode? Find out HERE.
You need: A shallow tray, baking soda, an eyedropper (or spoon), food colouring, white vinegar and some small dishes.
Shake a layer of baking soda into the bottom of the tray. Mix a few drops of food colouring into small dishes of vinegar. Then, using the eyedropper (or spoon), drop small amounts of the vinegar/food colouring solutions onto the baking soda and wait for the bubbles to appear!
The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda to create carbonic acid. The carbonic acid then breaks down into water and carbon dioxide (which forms bubbles).
Try this: Here's how to make a volcano.
You need: School glue (the kind that dries clear), magic markers (we used washable), acorn caps (or small seashells, peanut shells or eggshells) and some play dough.
Colour the inside of the acorn caps with magic markers. Stabilize them by placing them on some play dough. Fill each colourful cap with glue. Let dry for 24 hours and marvel at the results.
Try this: Mix a little glitter glue with the regular glue for even more sparkle!Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: A large bowl, cornstarch, water and food colouring (optional).
Shake some cornstarch into a bowl. Slowly add water (and a few drops of food colouring if you wish), and knead together with your hands until you have a mixture you can roll into a semi-firm ball but that becomes liquid as soon as you stop rolling. Count on 1-part water to 1.5-parts cornstarch. If you mix up enough gooey goop, you can actually walk across it without sinking! (Click HERE for a video.)
Note: Gooey goop is messy but cleans up easily when dry. Do not pour it down the drain. Instead, remove the excess water and toss the cornstarch in the trash.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: Wax crayons, a cookie tray, parchment paper, clean rocks and a cheese grater or knife (adult assistance required).
Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Arrange the rocks on the tray, leaving space between each one. Remove the paper from the crayons, and grate or cut them so you have tiny colourful bits. Place crayon pieces on each rock, and put the tray in the oven at 200° F for around 10 minutes (or until the crayon has melted). Once cooled, the waxy rocks can be polished to a shine by rubbing with a lint-free cloth.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: A bottle or jar, vegetable oil, water, food colouring and Alka Seltzer® tablets.
Pour vegetable oil into a bottle until it is 2/3 full. Add some water until the bottle is almost filled to the top. Add a few drops of food colouring. The food colouring will mix with the water but not with the oil. This alone is enough to create the effect of a lava lamp (when the bottle is shaken). However, the real magic begins once the Alka-Seltzer® tablets are added. Break a tablet into several pieces and drop the fragments into the bottle, one at a time.
Alka-Seltzer® tablets contain citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When you drop the tablet pieces into the oil-and-water mixture, the citric acid and baking soda react, creating a fizz that forces the colourful water bubbles to move around the oil mixture — thereby creating a "lava lamp" effect.
Note: If you don't have Alka-Seltzer ® tablets, you can use a pinch of baking soda and a drop of vinegar instead.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: A bowl, milk, vegetable oil, food colouring and toothpicks or shish kabob sticks.
Pour milk into a bowl until it is 3/4 full. Add a thin layer of oil on top of the milk. Drip a few drops of food colouring onto the oil. Use a toothpick to “pop” the colour bubbles and swirl the ingredients slowly around the bowl. Create more bubbles by blowing gently over the bowl. The results are out of this world.
Try this: Redo the experiment with only milk (and no oil) or substitute dish soap for the oil.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: Milk, white vinegar, a bowl, measuring spoons, a strainer and a cooking pot (adult assistance required).
Heat one cup of milk on the stove until it is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat, and pour into a bowl. Add four teaspoons of vinegar to the milk and stir. The milk will start to separate and become lumpy. Pour the mixture through a strainer, and let cool. The resulting pliable substance can be shaped and molded and will become hard as a rock when it is completely dry.
Historically, milk was used to make plastic ornaments! Find out more HERE.
You need: Watercolour paper (or thick poster paper), watercolour paints, water, paintbrushes and table salt.
First, paint over the paper with water. Then, dip your brush into paint, and start applying colour to the wet paper. The paint will run and bleed. Experiment with darker and lighter colours. Next, begin lightly sprinkling salt onto the paint. Watch as the salt absorbs the water and pulls the paint around to create interesting patterns and textures. Once dry, brush the salt away from the paper and see what designs the salt left behind.
Try this: Redo the experiment with other types of salt (Epsom, rock, sea), and compare the textures.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: Liquid dish soap (we used a green generic brand), baking soda, a bottle (with lid) and food colouring (optional).
Mix equal parts dish soap and baking soda together in a bottle. Put on the lid and shake until the ingredients thicken. Then, pour the mixture out of the bottle and have some ooey, gooey fun.
Note: We did not add food colouring to our slime. The bright green colour is from the soap only.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: Dark coloured construction paper and some found objects.
On a sunny day, place a sheet of construction paper outside in direct sunlight. Then, arrange some found objects on top of the paper (we used kitchen gadgets). When you check on your project after about an hour, you will find that the sun has bleached the paper, leaving behind a visual impression of the arrangement of objects.
Try this: Experiment with different colours of paper and different objects to see which ones give the most dramatic results.Photo: Andrea Mulder-Slater
You need: A cardboard coffee or oatmeal container, plastic cling wrap, an elastic band, water, a few small toys and a knife (adult assistance required).
Cut two or three holes into the sides of the container large enough so a hand can fit through. Secure a sheet of plastic wrap to the top of the container using an elastic band. Pour a small amount of water on top of the plastic wrap. Look through the top of the can as you hold objects below. Notice how large everything appears when viewed this way!
Why do objects appear bigger when viewed through water? Find out HERE.