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I'm thinking ahead again. When I was a kid, I had a chemistry set. You may not even be able to get those anymore. I was wondering, what are some good, safe, science experiments for kids?

For example, I remember:

  • Making a compass out of a needle, a magnet, and a cork (and a glass of water)
  • Various water propelled rockets (I'm sure mentos with diet coke fall in this category now)

Ideas?

asked 17 Jan '10, 03:33

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
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+1 What a fun idea!

(17 Jan '10, 04:36) cat_g

+1 for thinking 'out of the box'

(17 Jan '10, 08:00) Emi

12next »

The volcano is great fun. Try dancing raisins: you need raisins, and a can of 7up or sprite....Pour the soda into a clear glass....put in some raisins....watch them dance. the bubbles form around the raisins causing them to pop up then down.

Oobleck....get cornstarch and water....one box of cornstarch....slowly add the water...mix up...you will have to get in there with your hands...continue to add water until you can pick up the Oobleck with your hands...and as you hold it, it will change into a liquid and drip out of your hands. I would always make it with my students...after we read....Bartholeum and the Oobleck....Dr. Seuss book... These could be considered art projects, but science does tie into it with the measuring and different materials.... make some clay....using salt, flour, and water....I believe it is equal parts for the three parts....but add water in slowly again until it feels right....not sticky...you can always add more flour. The children have created many different things with this clay...leave it out four several days to harden....then you can paint it.

Glue and liquid starch....to make silly puddy. I believe that is equal parts as well...but not positive. Slowly add liquid starch until it feels like silly puddy.

blown up balloon, glue mixed with a little water.( or you can mix flour with water) ....get tissue paper or newspaper....paint mixture onto balloon, and put on tissue paper or newspaper on and then put more of the mixture over each piece....create several layers....but should let dry between layers.....you can create.....pinata's, face mask, different animals.....once it is dry, you can pop the balloon inside.

Mix paints with different colors...in order to show how to create another color...like red and yellow will make orange.

white flowers, or celery, food coloring, clear cups.....put flowers into cups add water and a few drops of different food coloring into each cup....watch as the food coloring moves up the flower or celery.

use different kinds of beans or seeds....get seed wet, get one paper towel wet, place into plastic zip lock bag, put seed inside....close up bag and place by the window....watch it sprout....

you could put, potato or a carrot in water, and watch it sprout as well.

This is all I can think of right now....I would have to go through all my teacher books for more....You can look for science lesson plans online...and I am sure you will find some more ideas!!

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 07:33

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Betsy 1
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+1 Alot of really fun idea there.

(17 Jan '10, 18:41) Tammy ♦♦

Crystal Garden (from "Feed Me, I'm Yours" by Vicki Lansky, c. 1974)

4 Tbsp salt
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp ammonia

(Sorry, I don't know the metric equivalents) Mix everything together and pour over several small pieces of charcoal in a small bowl. Put several drops of different colored inks on various parts of it. Leave undisturbed for several days and crystals should cover it, growing and spreading every day. If no ink is used, the crystals should be white.

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 04:10

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mkcoehoorn
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edited 17 Jan '10, 14:27

1

I'd like to try this!

(17 Jan '10, 04:37) cat_g

Kitchen Lava

Vinegar
Baking Soda
Red Food Coloring

It's fun to watch and a good recipe if your kid ever has to make a volcano.

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 03:51

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mkcoehoorn
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edited 17 Jan '10, 04:10

+1 Sounds great. Could even be filmed it with a digital camera too?

(17 Jan '10, 12:48) Emi

Never tried filming it. But it could work.

(17 Jan '10, 18:40) mkcoehoorn
1

+1 If you do this in the bath or sink plughole it'll also help unblock it. Just pour the soda in first, mix the colouring and vinegar and pour down the plughole

(18 Jan '10, 12:21) Rich Seller

Rock candy! Science you can eat afterwards. :)

Here's a link to some instructions for making rock candy.

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 04:42

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cat_g
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+1 Will be giving this a try :)

(17 Jan '10, 12:46) Emi

A children's electronics set might be a fun and interesting choice. My dad got me ones as a kid - we hooked a nine volt battery up to a variety of lights, buzzers, switches, etc. and learned about parallel/serial circuits and the like.

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 17:00

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ceejayoz
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Yes, I remember spending hours playing with one of those as a kid.

(17 Jan '10, 17:33) Scott ♦♦

One of my favourites is the soap powered boat. This post describes it rather well, along with a few follow up experiments. You'll need clean water without any soap in it for this to work well. The water need only be an inch or so deep.

soap boat

How it works:

A small drop of washing up liquid will propel the 'boat' across the surface of the water because it breaks the surface tension at the rear of the boat, so the pull at the front is no longer matched by a corresponding tension at the rear. Therefore the boat moves forward.

If they like this, I suggest a competition to see who can build the fastest boat, get them to draw out some shapes on card and cut them out and see what works well and what is not so good. You can also try different types of detergent (liquid vs solid soap, dish washing liquid etc).

This experiment can easily waste several hours, and a lot of water, so remember not to use too much water on each run, only a little is needed.


In the UK at least, you can still buy Chemistry sets (warning you may need goggles just to view the site), but they are typically aimed at older children.

I had a book a little like this one as a child. Normally about every 5th experiment is pretty cool, and each one gives you a bit of explanation about the principle it is showing.

link

answered 18 Jan '10, 12:19

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Rich Seller
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edited 18 Jan '10, 17:41

1

A similar demo with soap and water: Add a few shakes of black pepper to soap-free water. Add a drop of soap in the middle of the pepper. Watch the pepper race to the sides of the bowl, for the same reason as the boat is propelled by the soap breaking the surface tension. There is nothing special about the black pepper, other than it's easy to see.

(18 Jan '10, 16:18) Scottie T

@Scottie T, also works with some oil on the water, plus you get wicked rainbow patterns.

(18 Jan '10, 17:21) Rich Seller

@Scottie T, if you add sugar, the pepper will be attracted to it

(19 Jan '10, 00:04) mkcoehoorn

A great one that is really easy and amuses kids of all ages is the classic "pinhole camera". This site shows you how to make and use one!

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 18:42

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DazedandConfused
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Richard Wiseman has lots of puzzles on his website. I used to love this stuff when I was a kid!

He also has a youtube video with 10 science experiments to try

The Australian CSIRO has heaps of experiments here

And lastly, I personally love the "push a straw through a potato" trick because most adults don't think its possible!

link

answered 17 Jan '10, 20:35

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cpayne
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edited 07 Feb '10, 06:49

Check out www.seedthru.com/ it shows you how seeds germinate. Put a couple seeds in the gel and just leave it alone. It'll show you the germinated seed and because the gel's clear, you can see the roots too. It's really simple and because it's relatively new, there won't be a million other similar projects!

link

answered 19 Jun '10, 21:16

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Jessica 1
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2% milk, food coloring, and dish soap

See it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhEq8y95q1M

The science: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000066

link

answered 20 Jan '10, 03:21

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Phil
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Asked: 17 Jan '10, 03:33

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Last updated: 19 Jun '10, 21:16