At Home-Science: 10 Science Experiments Using Everyday Items

You don't need expensive equipment or a professional lab to perform many educational and interesting science experiments with your child. The following list includes ten experiments you can perform at home using everyday items.

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Baking Soda

#1 The Volcano

This popular experiment requires baking soda, vinegar and a container such as a small plastic bottle. Place the container in the bottom of a sink and pour in baking soda. Using an amount equal to the baking soda, pour vinegar into the container and watch the 'volcano' erupt! This experiment teaches your child about chemical reactions. For a more dramatic volcano, add glitter to the baking soda or food coloring to the vinegar.

#2 Dancing Raisins

You'll need a can of clear soda, such as Sprite or 7-Up, a clear glass and about half a dozen raisins. Pour the soda into the glass and then add the raisins. While the raisins will initially sink to the bottom, the carbon dioxide bubbles in the soda will eventually stick to them and cause them to rise. When they get to the top of the liquid, the bubbles pop and the raisins will sink, only to rise again as long as the carbon dioxide remains.

#3 Homemade Slime

Slime, the stretchy, icky goo that many children find endlessly entertaining, can be made with just a few common items. Pour one quarter cup of white craft glue such as Elmer's into a mixing bowl, then stir in one quarter cup of water. Next, add about five or six drops of food coloring. Finally, stir in one quarter cup of the kind of liquid starch you'd use for starching clothes. The more your child plays with the slime, the more elastic it will become.


#4 Egg in a Bottle

This experiment requires a peeled hard-boiled egg, a scrap of paper, a match and a glass bottle. The bottle's mouth should be slightly smaller than the egg. Have your child place the egg on the bottle to see that it does fit. Light the paper with the match and drop it into the bottle. Before the paper can burn completely, put the egg over the mouth of the bottle. The effect of the small fire on the air inside the bottle will suck the egg inside.

#5 The Collapsing Can

To begin this experiment, which teaches children about air pressure, put a tablespoon of water in a soft drink can and heat it on a stove burner. Meanwhile, fill a saucepan with cold water. When the water in the can is boiling, which you'll notice due to steam escaping, use tongs to quickly invert it and place it in the cold water. The sudden cooling creates a partial vacuum that immediately crushes the can.

#6 The Balloon Rocket

To teach your child about air movement and thrust, tie one end of a string to a doorknob or chair. Thread a straw onto the other end and tie it to another object so that it's taut. Have your child blow up a balloon, pinching it shut without tying it, then help your child tape it to the straw. When the balloon is released, it will rocket across the room as the air is pushed out of the balloon.

#7 Bending Water

Turn on a faucet to get a small stream of water, then have your child brush a dry, plastic comb through his or her hair about ten times. Slowly bring the comb near the water, without letting the comb touch the water, and watch the water bend towards the comb. The comb collects the hair's negatively-charged electrons and these are attracted to the positively-charged water. You can further experiment by increasing or decreasing the water pressure, trying different sizes or types of combs and trying it again when the room has more moisture, such as after a shower.

Rock Candy

#8 Rock Candy

This edible experiment begins by boiling one cup of water, then adding about two or three cups of sugar, one quarter cup at a time. Stir the sugar in until it dissolves and stop adding more when it stops dissolving. Remove the sugar water from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes. Next, pour the liquid into a jar or glass, nearly filling it.

Using a clothespin to suspend it, place a wooden skewer in the liquid so it doesn't touch the bottom and sits about an inch from the bottom. After several days, rock candy will form around the skewer. You can add food coloring to the water to make candy with colors.

#9 Rainbow Liquids

This experiment can be performed in a variety of ways with different combinations of liquids. To start, pour some water into a glass, then add food coloring. Pour vegetable oil on top and notice how the oil and coloring form layers. If you cover the glass and shake it to mix the liquids, watch how they separate again. You can create a more complex series of layers by using additional liquids, including honey, dish soap, rubbing alcohol and dark corn syrup.

#10 Homemade Electromagnet

To learn about magnets that are only charged when electricity flows through them, begin with about three feet of thinly coated copper wire. Wrap most of the wire around a large iron nail, leaving about eight inches of each end of the wire sticking out. Cut or pull away an inch of coating from the ends of the wire, then attach them to opposite ends of a D battery. Try picking up small metal objects, such as paper clips, with the electromagnet. Be careful, since the wire that touches the battery can get hot.

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