Spending time at home doesn’t mean you can’t improve your scientific skills! Many science experiments are simple to construct and can be completed using kitchen ingredients or household tools.
Below is a list of twenty experiments, of varying difficulty, that you can attempt with your friends and family.
Note: all experiments should be completed carefully under the supervision of an adult.
Create a Leakproof Bag
What happens when you poke pencils through a plastic bag full of water? You might be surprised to learn that you won’t get wet! This experiment tests the chemistry of polymers—bonded molecules that make up many plastics—and how they work in chains to form a temporary seal!
Design a Water Clock
Want to build an ancient clock? According to historians, the water clock is one of the oldest timekeepers, dating back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient China. This clock is simple to construct and can teach you skills ranging from math to history!
Make Your Own Rock Candy
Some experiments are more enjoyable when eaten! You can easily create a tasty and exciting supersaturated solution that grows over the course of a week. By the end of this experiment, you will have a better understanding of crystallization and a sweet snack!
Note: this experiment deals with hot water.
Make a Miniature Rainbow
With this experiment, you can create a liquid rainbow in a jar using common household ingredients. Your rainbow will teach you all about density—the ratio between the mass and volume of a liquid.
Create a Homemade Lava Lamp
Lava Lamps will never go out of style, especially when they are so easy to make at home! This experiment combines the properties of density with acidic/basic reactions. In under an hour, you can create and a safe and beautiful chemical reaction that will add a bit of flair to any room!
Concoct “Plastic” Milk
Note: make sure to mold your “plastic” milk into your preferred shapes before it hardens.
Extract DNA (From a Vegetable!)
Animals aren’t the only things that possess DNA—the onions in your fridge have it too! DNA is the material present in almost all living organisms and acts as the main carrier of genetic information. This experiment is a bit more in-depth but will definitely make you feel like a real scientist! Over the course of a week, you will isolate DNA from onion cells while preserving their DNA’s structure.
Note: this experiment uses ethanol, a flammable substance.
Mummify a Hot Dog
No need to fear this mummy! Check out this simple experiment that requires very few ingredients—but a bit of patience. By covering hot dogs in baking soda for preservation, you and your family will learn a bit about the science of mummies as well as ancient Egyptian rituals.
Note: do not eat the mummified hot dog, as it will no longer be edible.
Make Invisible Ink
Have you ever wanted to write a secret message? Now you can trade notes with your friends or family using an ingredient you probably have in your fridge: lemons! Through this experiment, you will see how heat oxidizes the compounds in certain colorless liquids.
Note: a blow-dryer or a lamplight are the safest ways to heat your messages. Avoid holding your paper near an open flame.
Whip Up Some Homemade Ice Cream
Did you know that you can make your own ice cream in a plastic bag or mason jar? In under ten minutes, create a refreshing snack for your family while experimenting with temperature!
Create Your Own Lip Balm
Who said science couldn’t be fashionable? Most cosmetic brands hire scientists to design and experiment with their products—now you will have the chance to do the same! This experiment requires a higher number of ingredients, so it will help to prepare in advance to ensure you have everything needed to begin! You will be able to test how effective your lip balm is at soothing dry lips, as well as determine its performance at different temperatures.
Create a Solar Oven
Another delicious invention, solar ovens can be made with just a pizza box, tinfoil, and plastic wrap! This experiment makes use of solar energy—heat from the sun—to cook a classic favorite: s’mores! In the process, you will also be recycling and helping the Earth!
Build a Da Vinci Bridge
Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t only a phenomenal painter—he was also known for his innovative scientific inventions. You can make your own version of Da Vinci’s engineering feat right at home, and with pencils! By taking some time to learn about Da Vinci’s contributions, you will have enjoyed a history lesson, architecture lesson, and physics lesson all in one!
Create a Centripetal Force Board (Swinging a Glass of Water)
Have you heard of centripetal force? Centripetal forces keep objects moving in curved paths. The force is directed inward towards the center of an object’s rotation. Take a risk with this experiment by placing glasses of water at the center of a board—if you swing the board fast enough, you might find you won’t get wet!
Create Your Own Microscope
Though you won’t have as magnified a view as with a traditional microscope, this DIY version allows you to see smaller objects in much greater detail with very few ingredients. Family members of all ages can help construct your tool. Once completed, your microscope is ready to inspect the world around you!
Tip: take your microscope outdoors to view some plant life!
Make Your Own Robot Toothbrush
This experiment might sound difficult, but its construction is actually quite simple! Create your own miniature robot using only a toothbrush, a battery, and a pager motor. The robot will control the vibrations of your toothbrush and teach you a lot about electricity!
Note: do not use the toothbrush on your teeth once you have attached it to the battery and motor.
Create Your Own Edible Rock Cycle
Are you a budding geologist? You might already know that there are three types of rocks: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. This experiment uses candies to model how and why rocks change throughout the rock cycle.
Make Cloud Dough (and Learn About Viscosity)
Viscosity is the thickness of a substance caused by internal friction, measured in force per unit area. This experiment allows you to test the viscosity of different liquids and determine which is best suited to make cloud dough. You will practice using variables and constants to determine and measure the properties of each liquid.
Note: cloud dough is not edible but is meant for play.
Find out What Soda Does to Your Teeth
You might not love the results of this experiment! Determine how different sodas’ acidic properties affect tooth enamel over time.
Create your Own Anemometer
Meteorologists use anemometers to measure wind speed. This advanced experiment uses a variety of woodworking supplies to construct a tool that can measure the wind in your area daily. Make sure to keep a field journal of windspeed recordings each morning and evening!
Science exists all around us! Have you attempted any experiments at home? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
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