Top 5 Fun Scientific Experiments You Can Do At Home With Your Children!
Science is a really fascinating subject and some scientific experiments can be done in your own home! Imagine teaching your child chemical reactions using an erupting “volcano” in the comfort of your own home. We have listed a top 5 scientific experiments you can do at home with your children!
1. Make an Egg Float in Salt Water
An egg sinks to the bottom if you drop it into a glass of ordinary drinking water but what happens if you add salt? The results are very interesting and can teach you some fun facts about density.
What you’ll need:
- One egg
- A tall drinking glass
- Pour water into the glass until it is about half full.
- Stir in lots of salt (about 6 tablespoons).
- Carefully pour in plain water until the glass is nearly full (be careful to not disturb or mix the salty water with the plain water).
- Gently lower the egg into the water and watch what happens.
Salt water is denser than ordinary tap water, the denser the liquid the easier it is for an object to float in it. When you lower the egg into the liquid it drops through the normal tap water until it reaches the salty water, at this point the water is dense enough for the egg to float. If you were careful when you added the tap water to the salt water, they will not have mixed, enabling the egg to amazingly float in the middle of the glass.
2. Mixing Oil and Water
Some things just don’t get along well with each other. Take oil and water as an example, you can mix them together and shake as hard as you like but they’ll never become friends…..or will they? Take this fun experiment a step further and find out how bringing oil and water together can help you do your dishes.
What you’ll need:
- Small soft drink bottle
- Food colouring
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- Dish washing liquid or detergent
- Add a few drops of food colouring to the water.
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of the coloured water along with the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into the small soft drink bottle.
- Screw the lid on tight and shake the bottle as hard as you can.
- Put the bottle back down and have a look, it may have seemed as though the liquids were mixing together but the oil will float back to the top.
While water often mixes with other liquids to form solutions, oil and water does not. Water molecules are strongly attracted to each other, this is the same for oil, because they are more attracted to their own molecules they just don’t mix together. They separate and the oil floats above the water because it has a lower density.
If you really think oil and water belong together then try adding some dish washing liquid or detergent. Detergent is attracted to both water and oil helping them all join together and form something called an emulsion. This is extra handy when washing those greasy dishes, the detergent takes the oil and grime off the plates and into the water, yay!
3. Make Your Own Quick Sand
Quick sand is a fascinating substance, make some of your own and experiment on a safe scale. Amaze your friends by demonstrating how it works.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of maize cornflour
- Half a cup of water
- A large plastic container
- A spoon
- This one is simple, just mix the cornflour and water thoroughly in the container to make your own instant quick sand.
- When showing other people how it works, stir slowly and drip the quick sand to show it is a liquid.
- Stirring it quickly will make it hard and allow you to punch or poke it quickly (this works better if you do it fast rather than hard).
- Remember that quick sand is messy, try to play with it outside and don’t forget to stir just before you use it.
- Always stir instant quicksand just before you use it!
If you add just the right amount of water to cornflour it becomes very thick when you stir it quickly. This happens because the cornflour grains are mixed up and can’t slide over each other due to the lack of water between them. Stirring slowly allows more water between the cornflour grains, letting them slide over each other much easier.
Poking it quickly has the same effect, making the substance very hard. If you poke it slowly it doesn’t mix up the mixture in the same way, leaving it runny. It works in much the same way as real quick sand.
4. Grow Your Own Bacteria
Bacteria are a fascinating type of microorganism that play a large role in our lives whether we like it or not. Try growing your own sample of bacteria while monitoring how it reproduces in a short space of time. Compare your original sample with others and get proof that bacteria truly are everywhere!
What you’ll need:
- Petrie dish of agar
- Cotton buds
- Some old newspaper (to wrap petrie dish when disposing)
- Prepare your petrie dish of agar.
- Using your cotton bud, swab a certain area of your house (i.e. collect a sample by rubbing the cotton bud on a surface of your choice).
- Rub the swab over the agar with a few gentle strokes before putting the lid back on and sealing the petrie dish.
- Allow the dish to sit in a warm area for 2 or 3 days.
- Check the growth of the bacteria each day by making an observational drawing and describing the changes.
- Try repeating the process with a new petrie dish and swab from under your finger nails or between your toes.
- Dispose of the bacteria by wrapping up the petrie dish in old newspaper and placing in the rubbish (don’t open the lid).
The agar plate and warm conditions provide the ideal place for bacteria to grow. The microorganisms on the plate will grow into individual colonies, each a clone of the original. The bacteria you obtained with the cotton bud grows steadily, becoming visible with the naked eye in a relatively short time. Different samples produce different results, what happened when you took a swab sample from your own body?
You will find bacteria throughout the Earth, it grows in soil, radioactive waste, water, on plants and even animals too (humans included). Thankfully for us, our immune system usually does a great job of making bacteria harmless.
5. Static Electricity Experiment
They say opposites attract and that couldn’t be truer with these fun static electricity experiments. Find out about positively and negatively charged particles using a few basic items, can you control if they will be attracted or unattracted to each other?
What you’ll need:
- 2 inflated balloons with string attached
- Your hair
- Aluminium can
- Woolen fabric
- Rub the 2 balloons one by one against the woolen fabric, then try moving the balloons together, do they want to or are they unattracted to each other?
- Rub 1 of the balloons back and forth on your hair then slowly it pull it away, ask someone nearby what they can see or if there’s nobody else around try looking in a mirror.
- Put the aluminium can on its side on a table, after rubbing the balloon on your hair again hold the balloon close to the can and watch as it rolls towards it, slowly move the balloon away from the can and it will follow.
Rubbing the balloons against the woolen fabric or your hair creates static electricity. This involves negatively charged particles (electrons) jumping to positively charged objects. When you rub the balloons against your hair or the fabric they become negatively charged, they have taken some of the electrons from the hair/fabric and left them positively charged.
They say opposites attract and that is certainly the case in these experiments, your positively charged hair is attracted to the negatively charged balloon and starts to rise up to meet it. This is similar to the aluminium can which is drawn to the negatively charged balloon as the area near it becomes positively charged, once again opposites attract.
In the first experiment both the balloons were negatively charged after rubbing them against the woolen fabric, because of this they were unattracted to each other.