Kids will love these easy science experiments

Use simple materials from the cupboard to create interesting, hands-on science experiments that children and children-at-heart will both enjoy! Make an ocean in a bottle, an erupting volcano, some quicksand, an invisible ink message or a tornado in a bottle.

Ocean in a Bottle

Materials:Blue waterCredit: Khaki from stockvault.net

  • 600ml plastic soft drink bottle
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Blue food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon glitter

Process:

  1. Half-fill the bottle with water.
  2. Add a few drops of food colouring and mix.
  3. Add the glitter.
  4. Fill the remainder of the bottle using the vegetable oil.
  5. Screw the lid back onto the bottle.
  6. Gently rock the bottle back and forth to create waves in your ocean.
  7. Shake the bottle to try and mix the oil and water.
  8. Leave for a while and the oil and water will separate once again.

Tips:

  • Add some small plastic sea creatures before the oil to create more of an ocean scene.
  • Glue the lid on the bottle to prevent leakages.

What’s Happening?

Oil and water do not mix together well. Oil and water are too attracted to their own molecules to mix in with each other. Oil has a lower density causing it to rise above the water.

 

Volcano Experiment

Materials:foam(103482)Credit: Bjorgvin Gudmundsson from stockvault.net

  • Plastic soft drink bottle
  • Red food colouring
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid

Tip:

  • If you want to make it look like a volcano, shape some play-dough around the bottle to make it look like a mountain.

Process:

  1. Put the bicarb soda in the bottle.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar, red food colouring and dishwashing liquid.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to the volcano and watch it erupt!

Tip:

  • Increase the amounts of the ingredients depending on the size of your bottle.

What’s Happening?

Bicarbonate soda reacts to the acidic vinegar. Carbon dioxide is produced as the two ingredients mix.  The pressure from the carbon dioxide builds in the bottle until it can be contained no more and erupts!

 

Quicksand

Materials:flour(103483)Credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

  • 1 cup cornflour
  • ½ cup water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon

Process:

  1. Mix the water and cornflour together. That's it!

What’s Happening?

When stirred quickly, the mixture becomes hard and you can punch or poke it. The particles of the cornflour cannot slide over one another easily when there is not enough water in the mixture. When stirred slowly or left to drip off the spoon, the mixture will be like a liquid. Mixing slowly lets more of the water in between the cornflour particles, letting it slide.

 

Invisible Ink

Materials:Lamp(103480)Credit: Khaki from stockvault.net

  • Half a lemon
  • Water
  • Cotton bud
  • Bowl
  • White paper
  • Lamp

Process:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of water and mix together.
  3. Using the cotton bud, write a message on the paper.
  4. Wait for it to dry completely.
  5. Heat the paper by holding it close to a lamp to make the message appear!

What’s Happening?

Lemon juice turns brown when it is heated. This process is called oxidization. Adding the water to the lemon juice makes it harder to see when the message is written on the paper.

 

Tornado in a bottle

Materials:AbstractCredit: Khaki from stockvault.net

  • 600ml plastic soft drink bottle
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • 1 tablespoon glitter

Process:

  1. Fill the bottle three-quarters full with water.
  2. Add a few drops of dish washing liquid.
  3. Add about a tablespoon of glitter.
  4. Holding the bottle by the neck, turn it upside down and spin it. Look inside to see your mini-tornado!

What’s Happening?

A vortex is created from the spinning bottle. The water spins more rapidly in the middle of the bottle and more slowly at the outside. The glitter should make this effect easier to see. Try adding a few drops of food colouring to the water to make a colourful tornado!