Deciding on science experiments for kids can be a daunting task for those who are unfamiliar with the world of science. Common concerns among parents are selecting an experiment that is age appropriate, safe, and easy to understand for both child and adult. With thousands of possibilities it’s often difficult to decide, but there are a few tried and true science experiments for kids that are sure to be successful:
The Rubber Egg
This experiment is an excellent choice for the youngest scientists because there are very few steps, no safety risks, and kids love it because it’s foolproof so results are guaranteed.
Materials: hard boiled egg, jar, vinegar (acetic acid)
Instructions: Place the hard boiled egg in the jar and immerse it in vinegar. The egg should be completely covered with no shell peeping out at the top. Wait 2-3 days. The shell will completely dissolve and kids can poke and prod at the new “rubberized” egg. If not dropped from too high a point, the egg will even bounce.
The lesson: Egg shells are made of calcium carbonate which dissolves when it comes in contact with an acetic acid.
This is another great pick for science experiments for kids, and it's suitable for any child old enough to understand measurements.
Materials: 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) white vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon (.62 ml) salt, 20 pennies, jar, iron nail, baking soda, sponge
Instructions: Pour the vinegar and salt into the jar and stir. Drop the pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture and leave them for three minutes. While the pennies are “stewing,” clean the iron nail with the baking soda and sponge. Drop the nail in with the pennies and let it sit for 15 minutes. When you check the nail, it will be coated with copper.
The lesson: Acetate (acetic acid/vinegar) will combine with metals. In the case of the pennies and nail, the acetic acid and copper combined to form copper acetate, which then adhered to the iron nail.
Exploding Life Savers
This experiment is a bit less known than other science experiments for kids, but it's definitely a child crowd pleaser. It's suitable for all ages, but an adult should supervise younger children.
Materials: Wint-O-Green® Life Savers, Ziploc plastic bag, hammer, wooden block
Instructions: Place a Wint-O-Green® Life Saver in the Ziploc bag. In a dark room, place the bag on the wooden block and watch closely while striking the Life Saver with the hammer. A bluish-green light will flash just as the candy is struck.
Lesson: Triboluminescence. Wint-O-Green® Life Savers are made with methyl salicylate which is a crystalline substance. Crushing a crystalline substance emits light.
There are many more excellent and fun science experiments for kids, but these are a good start. When choosing others, the key is to select something with few material requirements and a low safety risk. Also keep in mind the child will be more interested in experiments that utilize every day simple objects, as these are less intimidating.