Named after the Dr Seuss book, this non-Newtonian fluid is a mixture of cornflour and water. Simply mix one part water with two parts cornflour and add a drop of food colouring for effect. Non-Newtonian fluids don’t follow Newton’s law of Viscosity and have the properties of both liquid and solids. When left alone, this corn flour mixture will act like any liquid, but also like a solid when pressure is applied. Kids will have a blast pinching and squeezing this mixture and watching it run down their hands. Luckily, corn flour is easy to clean up. Check out Housing a Forest to learn how to make your Oobleck dance.
By mixing equal parts hot water with Epsom salts and food colouring, you can grow your own crystals. For something a bit more interesting, you can form shapes out of pipe cleaners and put them in this solution to make a crystal in that shape. This is a good way to start teaching your kids about the structures of elements and how a solid can dissolve into a liquid. For other crystal recipes, look at this blog by Kidz World.
Jack and the Bean Stalk
A great way to teach children about food supply is to have them grow it themselves. Simply, get some beans or popcorn seeds, cover them in cotton wool and keep the cotton wool slightly wet until roots start to form. When the roots are long enough, move the seeds to a pot of soil, keep the soil moist and soon there may be a few bean stalks. This project has the added benefit of teaching those little ones responsibility, because they will have to look after something everyday. Find out how to do this experiment on Science Sparks.
Teach children all about sound waves with this experiment. At least two participants are needed so it works well for multiple children or for some one-on-one parent-child bonding time. Simply get two paper cups, poke a hole in the bottom of both cups, get a long piece of string. Put the ends of the string into the cup and tie a knot to keep it in place. Then each person needs to take one cup, walk a distance away and then let the phone call commence. Sciencing explains the science behind this experiment.
Liquid density can be a really awesome learning curve for little minds, especially when it involves a multitude of colours. This experiment results in a rainbow of floating liquids that can be quite beautiful. It is simply pouring different coloured liquids of different densities onto one another. Easy Science for Kids explains everything you need for this experiment. Something else you can do is to pour oil over water, let the kids see how the oil floats, and then add a squirt of dish soap and stir the mixture, the oil will form little blobs in the water instead of floating above it.
Using potatoes to power a clock, you can teach your kids about energy and how energy transforms. This experiment involves connecting wires to potatoes using copper. The wires are then connected to an electronic device, such as a LED clock to power it up. You can add to this experiment by using boiled potatoes instead of raw and by trying out other vegetables and comparing your findings. Check out Ups Battery Center for more information.
Let there be light
Let the kids create their own rainbow using a plastic container filled with some water, a mirror and a white card. On a sunny day, put a mirror in the water at an angle that catches the light, hold the card in front of the mirror and move it around until you can see the rainbow. With this experiment, you can teach your children all about light refraction and how light consists of different colours. Look at Science Wows to learn more about this experiment and to see some other light experiments.
There is not much that kids enjoy more than a messy explosion of some sort. So a great way to get them interested about science is to create just that. As mentioned, this experiment can get messy so we recommend doing it outside. You can cause an eruption by mixing vinegar, dish soap and bicarbonate of soda together. You can use any jar for this experiment or you can make it look like a volcano by adding some red and yellow food colouring to the vinegar and putting the jar in a mound of dirt. This way your kids can learn about both chemistry and how pressure builds in an actual volcano. Science Bob will give you the details for this experiment as well as some ways to vary this experiment for different results.