My top 5 science experiments

Here is a list of my top 5 science experiments that you can try out at home.

1. Lava Lamp

For this experiment you will need:

  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food colouring
  • Alka- Seltzer (or any effervescent tablet)

This is an entertaining experiment which can be done using any size/type of bottle and any colour of food colouring.

Method:

Firstly, you need to fill the bottle with water so that it is about 1/4 full.

Then, add the vegetable oil leaving a small gap near the top of the bottle. You will then need to wait a few moments for the water and oil mixture to separate.

Lava Lamp

Next add a few drops of food colouring.

The next part is really fun! Add a piece of Alka-Seltzer to the mix and everything will start to change. Continue to add Alka-Seltzer as it will keep the reaction going so your kids can enjoy the lava lamp for longer. You could also try shaking the bottle once all the bubbles have stopped to see what happens. Also, shine a torch underneath the bottle (ensuring the lid is on the bottle) at night time to see what happens to the mixture.

The Science Bit:

The oil and water you added to the bottle separate from each other, with oil on top because it has a lower density than water. The food colouring falls through the oil and mixes with the water at the bottom. The piece of Alka-Seltzer tablet you drop in after releases small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas which rises to the top, taking some coloured water with them. The gas escapes when it reaches the top and the coloured water falls back down. The reason Alka-Seltzer fizzes in such a way is because it contains citric acid and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). The two react with water to form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide gas (those are the bubbles that carry the coloured water to the top of the bottle).

Homemade Lava Lamp

Homemade Lava Lamp

2. Soapy Science – Bubble Snakes

Another fun experiment to try at home is to create colourful bubble snakes.

For this experiment you will need:

  • Food colouring
  • An empty bottle
  • Scissors
  • A wash cloth
  • Bubble solution
  • A rubber band.

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Method:

First of all you will need to cut the bottom off the bottle using the scissors – adult supervision required.

You then need to place the cloth over the cut end of the bottle and secure with the rubber band.

Next you need to dip the cloth and bottle in the bubble solution and shake off any excess solution.

You then need to blow into the bottle to create the bubbles (adult supervision is required to ensure that no bubbles are inhaled).

Try adding food colouring to the cloth to create colourful bubbles.

Bubble snake!

 

The science bit:

Bubbles form because of the surface tension of water. Hydrogen atoms in one water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules and they hold on tight to each other.

3. Edible Play dough

I’m sure many of us were tempted to have a little taste of play dough when we were growing up, and then found out it didn’t taste quite how we expected! Well now you can have all the fun of play dough, with a nice taste to boot!

For this experiment you will need:Ready made icing

  • Ready made icing (any flavour)
  • Icing sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl

Method:

First of all you need to mix the ready made icing with the icing sugar. Keep adding icing sugar until the mixture can be rolled in your hands without feeling sticky.

Then you need to add 1- 5 tsp of oil (this stops the mixture from drying out)

Extra tip – add some food dye to make it a bit more interesting!

edible play dough

4. Make your own Flubber!

Have you ever wanted to make your own flubber? This will keep kids entertained for hours.

For this experiment you will need:

  • 120g PVA glue
  • Food dye
  • 125 ml of cold water
  • 250ml of hot water
  • One tsp of borax

Method:

First of all you will need to mix the cold water, glue and food colouring and leave to one side.

borax

Next, mix together 3/4 of the hot water and borax, until the borax is completely dissolved.

The final step is to slowly add the glue mixture to the borax mixture and mix well.

You will then need to pour off any excess water and knead the flubber with your hands.flubber12

The Science bit:

The mixture of PVA glue with borax and water produces a polymer (lots of long chains of molecules, all stuck together). If you looked at glue under a strong microscope, you would see that it looks like lots of long fingers. These fingers grip into cracks and crevices which is what makes glue sticky! The borax makes these long fingers stick to each other so that it isn’t sticky anymore, and is more like a putty!

 

5. Melting ice

This is a really fun and simple activity that you can do using every day objects from the kitchen!

You will need:

  • Bowls/dishes (a mixture of different sizes)
  • A large tray
  • Food dye
  • Table salt

Method:

Fill the bowls with water and leave to freeze overnight. Remove the ice from the bowls with some warm water and place onto a large tray (place tray over a large towel/newspaper as it can get very messy).

Get the children to sprinkle the salt over the ice- see if they can spot any changes to the ice.

You will then need to use a pipette or teaspoon so that the colours can be added to the ice. The food dye highlight the cracks that are forming in the ice as the salt melts it.

Extra tip: Why not take your coloured ice outside to create sun catchers? You could also add more colours!  Try different types of salt such as rock salt to see if it makes a difference.

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Melting Ice