DIY science experiments for kids

DIY science experiments for kids

Before technology and the rising interest in science of Gen Y pushed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) into the interactive school curricula, things were different. At that time, parents and kids were erupting volcanoes, raising steam and creating rain out of simple things like wool, water and food coloring!

The good news is that these experiments continue to blossom with exciting innovations being introduced everyday. And the best part is, they make science all the more fun for people of all ages. These experiments can make simple things at home transform into a host of incredibly simple science projects. And not just that, you also derive a horde of learning experiences from these.

Here I have composed a few simple DIY (Do It Yourself) scientific experiments that will turn your science escapades into a fun learning experience. Before you start, let me tell you that these experiments require adult supervision.

  1. Red cabbage pH indicator

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • Half a head of red cabbage

  • Saucepan

  • Ice cube tray

  • Three tall glasses

  • Vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Water

DIRECTIONS:

  • Chop the half head of the red cabbage into small pieces and boil it in a saucepan.

  • When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and let it cool down for 30 minutes.

  • Strain the cabbage water and store it in a jar. This liquid is the indicator.

  • Pour this dark purple liquid into an ice cube tray and freeze it for a couple of minutes.

  • Fill a glass with water (this is neutral). Fill another glass with vinegar (this is acidic) and in the last glass, pour water and stir in a teaspoon of baking soda (this becomes basic).

  • Drop a couple of indicator ice cubes into each glass and watch how the color changes according to the pH level of the solution.

EXPLANATION:

Red cabbage contains anthrocyanin which changes color depending on the acidity of the environment. Therefore, it turns reddish in an acidic solution, blue in an basic solution and purple in a neutral environment.

  1. Dyed plants

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • Three white flowers

  • Four glasses of water

  • Food color (blue, green, yellow, red)

  • Knife

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix the four colors into four different glasses. Now you will have four glasses containing a solution of four different colors each. Do not forget to make the colors strong.

  • Now put in two flowers into two separate glasses. Now you would have a single flower and two glasses remaining.

  • For the last flower, ask an elder to slit the stem vertically so that you can put in the two parts of the stem into two different glasses.

  • Now put in one part of the stem into one glass and the other part into the last glass.

  • Place the glasses away from sunlight and wait for a few days. You will find that the petals turn into the respective colors they are dipped in.

EXPLANATION:

This experiment explains the capillary action of plants, where liquid slowly seeps in through the plant veins towards the leaves.

Recommended Read: How to get your child interested in science?

  1. Lava Lamp

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • A bottle

  • Vegetable oil

  • Water

  • Food coloring

  • Alka Seltzer (or any antacid or a fizzy tablet)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Fill a little more than half of the bottle with oil.

  • Now fill the rest with water leaving an inch at the top.

  • Add about 10 drops of food coloring into the bottle.

  • Break the Alka Seltzer into small pieces and drop one piece in. As soon as the bubbling stops, put in the other piece and continue till you have put in all the pieces.

  • Watch the magic unfold.

EXPLANATION:

This is a simple experiment on density and intermolecular polarity. Water and oil do not mix because they differ in their densities. As soon as you add food coloring (which is denser than oil) and the fizzy tablet, the water bubbles take the food coloring to the top of the bottle. Liquid rainbow is another way of demonstrating the same lessons.

  1. Invisible ink

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • Baking soda

  • Water

  • Toothpick

  • Piece of paper

  • Concentrated grape juice

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix ¼ cup (60 ml) of baking soda with 1/4th cup of milk.

  • Dip the toothpick in this solution and write your secret message on the paper.

  • Let it dry completely.

  • Now paint the grape juice concentrate across the paper with a paintbrush.

  • You would find your secret message appearing in a different color.

EXPLANATION:

Grape juice is an acid. It reacts with baking soda and a colored liquid is formed. This is basically an experiment of oxidation.

You can try these simple and quick experiments at home that help you understand scientific phenomena easily. Do not forget to ask elders to assist you along the way.

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