7 Science experiments for kids

Children are always looking up to adults and wishing for the things they’re too young for. While adulthood is anticipated for the freedom of driving, physical change and independence that comes with age and wisdom, us adults look upon children with an envy of our own. This envy is of creative freedom, the ability to let your mind run wild with questions and imagination is a point of excitement in a persons progression into adulthood. Within the interest of science, this creative freedom is rapid within the mind of a child. Take that youthful curiosity and bring it to life with these experiments you can do yourself with everyday objects.

Ever looked in your wallet/ coin purse and thought, my coins are so old and rusty? Wanting to get the very best in coin quality when using a vending machine or buying a chocolate? Well fear not as through the magic of science we can make that old change look like a million bucks (warning! Clean coins, while looking like a million bucks, will not actually be worth a million bucks).

Ingredients:

  • A bowl
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Dull or dirty coins (the less visible the queen is under all the dirt and muck the better)

Steps:

  • Thoroughly stir through 1 teaspoon of salt to 1/4 cup of vinegar.
  • Place dirty coins into bowl
  • Wait 20 seconds and then take the coins out and rinse them in water
  • Dry them with the paper towels.

What happens?

Vinegar is an acid and the salt that is stirred through the vinegar reacts to that acid which removes the copper oxide and turns back the clock on your fine piece of Australian currency.

Colour can do more than reflect your mood on a ring; it can also be an absorbent or reflector of harsh climate.

Ingredients:

  • 2 glasses of water
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Black paper
  • White paper

Steps:

  • Cover one glasses edge with white paper and the other with black.
  • Secure coloured paper to glass with rubber bands
  • Fill the glass with equal amounts of water
  • Let them sit in the sun for an hour
  • After an hour, measure the temperatures of each glass

What happens?

The black paper glass will have a higher temperature than the white paper glass. Why? Because dark coloured surfaces absorb heat whereas light coloured surfaces reflect light and therefore are cooler. This also adds to the validity of the colour black being slimming as wearing it on a hot day will make you sweat up a storm. Try this experiment with your favourite colours and discover if you’re a hot head or a cool cucumber.

Ever watch the weather report on the news and think they never know what’s going on? Well make them tremble in fear over your control of the elements with this neat trick to making your own clouds.

Ingredients:

  • A jar with a lid
  • 50ml of boiling water
  • Ice cubes
  • An aerosol can (eg deodorant, hairspray)

Steps:

  • Pour 2cm of boiled water into jar
  • Swirl the water in the jar so the jars surfaces can warm up
  • Turn lid upside down and place ice cubes on the top
  • Rest the lid with the ice cubes in it on the top of the jar
  • Take the lid off and squirt in some of the aerosol, then place lid back on (do this in a quick action)
  • Watch the cloud start developing within the jar
  • When the cloud has consumed the jar, remove the lid

What happens?

Clouds require three things to develop, warm moist air, cooling to cause moisture to lift and cloud condensation nuclei. Trapping the hot water in the jar creates warm moist air. The warm air rose inside the jar, but the ice lid cooled the warm air back into a liquid. When the water vapour cooled, it wanted to turn back into liquid, but it needed to condense onto a surface. The aerosol provided cloud condensation nuclei (small particles that float in the air to help water vapour condense into clouds). Warm air then begins to rise in a circular motion creating a spiral escape when the lid is removed.

Use this experiment to test the elements and look like a wizard creating mystical potions.

Master the seven seas, or a small surface of water with your very own soap powered boat.

Ingredients:

  • A thin foam tray or a piece of non-currogated cardboard
  • A tray, bowl, or cookie sheet full of water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • A toothpick

Steps:

  • Cut the thin foam or cardboard into the below boat shape (aim for a boat size of around 2 inches)
  • Dip toothpick in liquid soap
  • Dab the soap lathered toothpick in the cut out section on the back of the boat
  • Gently place the boat in the tray of water and look at it go! (rinse the tray out of soapy water to perform the experiment again)

What happens?

The liquid soap acts as a surfactant (breaks down the surface tension of water). Once the soapy section of the boat comes into contact with the water, the tension from the surface breakdown builds enough force to push the boat across the water. Challenge your classmates to a boat off with the winner claiming the prize of most well-built soap covered piece of scientific wonder.

If you’re in need to spruce up your bedroom to give it a bit of pop, don’t go to your local furniture store, take in this free science experiment to give your home that hand built touch.

Ingredients:

  • A 1 litre bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup of water
  • Fizzing tablets
  • Food colouring of your choosing (I’m a pink man myself)

Steps:

  • Pour water into bottle
  • Slowly funnel the vegetable oil into bottle until it’s close to being full
  • Wait for water and oil to separate
  • Add up to 10 drops of food colouring
  • Drop half a fizzy tablet into the bottle
  • Add another half tablet to keep the effect going

What happens?

The oil stays above the water as it is lighter and wont mix because of intermolecular polarity (water molecules attract to water molecules and oil molecules attract to oil molecules but neither can mould to each other). When the fizzy tablets are added it creates rising air bubbles which catch the food colouring upon rising and then when the gas reaches the top it releases and the coloured bubbles go back down. Keep the fizzing fun going by adding more tablets when the air releases and shown everyone your interactive interior design skills.

Next time you’re in class and your teacher hands you and your friends important homework papers, and your friends begin to make paper aeroplanes out of them to see which one goes the furthest, use this neat trick to make a plane that not only goes further, but also removes your need for detention for throwing your homework out the window.

Ingredients:

  • A plastic straw
  • 3×5 inch piece of stiff paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Steps:

  • Cut the stiff paper into 3 separate pieces measuring 2.5cm by 13cm
  • Tape 2 of the pieces together to form a hoop shape
  • Use last strip of stiff paper to make a smaller hoop
  • Tape the paper loops to both ends of the straw
  • Grasp from the centre of the straw and throw in a slightly upward angle

What happens?

The plane will fly in a long straight motion due to the big hoop creating drag (air resistance) levelling the straw, while the little hoops air intake keeps the plane on course. Since the stiff paper is heavier than the straw this allows it to fly without the hoops flipping upside down and crashing.

Your new age flying contraption will turn the paper plane into the dinosaur of class built entertainment.

Kids don’t wait to get a driver’s license to get behind the wheel. Replace that horse power with air power and become a balloon wielding speedster.

Ingredients:

  • Rectangular piece of cardboard within 30cm in length and 15cm
  • Wooden kebab skewers
  • 4 plastic bottle caps
  • A straw
  • A balloon
  • Tape
  • Nails
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Knife

Steps:

  • Cut straw into two pieces
  • Use tape to attach straws to the cardboard, one in the front and one in the back (line them up carefully as they will act as the cars axels)
  • Use the hammer and nails to poke small holes in the center of the bottle caps
  • Cut 2 kebab skewers to be an inch and a half longer than the pieces of straw attached to the cardboard
  • Put one end of the cut kebab skewer into the hole in the bottle caps
  • Put the skewer through the straws attached to the cardboard
  • Then place the other end of the skewer into the hole of the bottle cap on the other end (make sure they roll cleanly and if so repeat process for the other straw axel)
  • Tape four straws together
  • Place the taped straws into the mouth of the balloon and tape together
  • Tape straws to cardboard with the blowing section facing the rear
  • Leave an inch of nozzle sticking out the mouth
  • Find a long flat surface
  • Blow up the balloon through the nozzle
  • Pinch the balloon closed from blowing through the nozzle
  • Place the cardboard and let go

What happens?

 The balloon takes in an inner battle between gas and pressure. Air and the balloon are pushing back and forth, so once you release the balloon, that built air pressure builds enough force amongst escape through straw pathways to push the car forward.

Customise your car and race your friends to prove who has the fastest lung powered ride.