Fun Science Activities For Kids

Kids love hands-on science activities. From volcanoes to how blubber works, there is an activity for everyone.

Kids science activities needn't be boring. Here are some fun science activities. Some of these may require adult supervision due to use of heating and chemical reactions.

Baking Soda Volcano

This science project will make a mess. You will need some space and plenty of napkins or towels.

Here is a list of supplies to get you started.

about one-quarter cup baking soda

an equal amount of vinegar

small pop bottle or can

modeling clay

paper plates

paper towels

red food coloring (optional- It's just a cool effect, like lava)

First, build up a volcano-shaped dome around the bottle with the clay. Don't cover up the opening to the bottle. Make sure you place the volcano on the paper plate and paper towels as it will be messy once the reaction is started. Place baking soda into the bottle using a funnel or cone of paper. Add food coloring for a lava-colored effect. Then, slowly add the vinegar. It will react rather quickly. It might be a good idea to put on safety goggles. While the reaction isn't dangerous, getting it into eyes is not a good idea. Adding dish washing detergent will slow down the reaction a little.

How it works: When you add a base (baking soda) to an acid (vinegar) the occurring reaction causes carbon dioxide gas to be formed. The gas expands and then escapes along with the resulting liquid from the opening.

Seed Sprouting

Watching plants sprout is a fun way to learn about growth and seeds. Here is a list of what you'll need.

pot or other container to put the seeds in

soil

seeds: corn, beans or sunflowers are good choices

water

sunny window or artificial light

Place the soil filled pot near a sunny window or under an artificial light made for plant growing. Corn, bean, sunflower or even pea seeds are great for observing. An alternative activity is to make a root viewer. A small plastic container, a box or anything that can withstand soil and some water is sufficient. Cut a rectangular shape in one side and put plastic sheeting to cover the cut out. The plastic sheeting can be from any source like plexiglass so long as it is clear and sturdy enough to withstand the soil.



Place the seeds as close as possible to the window and put black construction paper over the window until the plant starts to grow. Place the box near a window. In a week or so, remove the construction paper to observe the roots.

Lollipops: How candy making is science

There is science in the making of lollipops. It's transforming one state of matter (a liquid) into another state (solid). It's sometimes a difficult process because it has to be almost perfect to get the lollipops to set up.

Take all safety precautions when making candy. Here are the ingredients needed.

One-quarter cup sugar

one cup sugar

one half cup light corn syrup

Heat one-quarter cup of butter, with one cup sugar and one half cup of light corn syrup in a small saucepan. Make sure it is over medium heat so that it does not burn. Sugar will burn easily. Heat until it boils, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees, which is hard crack stage. You can take a wet pastry brush to coat the sides frequently during the boiling. This will help prevent sugar crystals to form on the sides.

Once the thermometer reaches the correct temperature pull the pot off the heat. You can add food coloring of your choice to color the lollipops. Use popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks and lay them out on a buttered or non-stick cookie sheet. Drop a spoonful of the mixture onto each stick and let cool. It may take a while depending on the climate. Hot, humid weather does not help the lollipops to form very well. Usually though it will only take ten to fifteen minutes to cool.

How it works: The sugar crystals want to stay in their solid stage. When you heat sugar, it melts. When the heat is stopped, it goes back to a solid stage. Adding the corn syrup helps keep the sugar from crystallizing until the sugar is completely melted. When you stop stirring after reaching the boiling stage, it encourages the sugar crystals to form back into crystals. Heating to hard crack stage ensures that the sugar is completely melted.

Blubber: The amazing insulator

Blubber is a layer of fat that some animals have to keep them warm in extremely cold situations. Whales, penguins and even polar bears have a layer of blubber to keep them warm. You can simulate how blubber works with this experiment.

Items needed:

vegetable shortening

two zip-lock baggies

ice water with ice cubes

Place the ice in the water. Put your hand in the ice water and time how long you can stand to keep it there. Write that time down. Fill up one of the baggies with the shortening. Put a generous amount in the baggie. Take the other baggie and wrap it around your hand. Stick the wrapped hand into the bag of shortening. Then stick your hand in the water. Time how long you can stand it now.

How it Works:

The layer of fat (the shortening) allows you to withstand the cold for a very long time. Seals, polar bears, and whales would freeze to death of they did not have this extra layer of fat called blubber.

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