Children are natural scientists. Their curiosity sparks many questions, they love to explore and investigate everything in their world. Add some science to their day with these easy experiments, using items you probably have at home!  As you do these experiments with your children, ask them open-ended questions, like “What just happened?” or “Why do you think that happened?” Let them make their own guesses and observations while having a conversation about what is happening.

Tie Dye Fireworks 

What you’ll need:

  • A shallow bowl
  • A cup
  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dish soap
  • (Optional) Small rocks/marbles

Steps:

  1. Pour milk into a shallow bowl and set aside some dish soap in a cup

  2. Add 4-6 drops of food coloring to the milk. Observe how the food coloring sits on top of the milk.

  3. Dip one end of the cotton swab into the dish soap.

  4. Gently dip the cotton swab into the milk and watch the colors dance! The soap breaks the surface tension (which is a force or “layer of skin” on the surface of a liquid) causing a tie dye or marbling effect.

Expand the experiment by covering small rocks or marbles with dish soap and dropping them in the milk mixture.

Fizzy Hidden Surprise

What you’ll need: 

  • A muffin tin
  • Small toys that will fit in the cups of the muffin tin (legos, blocks, figures)
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • Vinegar

Steps:

  1. Before your kids are involved, place a few drops of food coloring and a small toy in each cup of the muffin tin.

  2. Cover each toy with enough baking soda so that no part of the items peek through.

  3. Invite children to join you and explain that you have hidden toys underneath the baking soda. Spend a few minutes having children make predictions about what could be underneath.

  4. Add a few drops of vinegar (in a dropper or a small cup) to each mound of baking soda. Watch the chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar create some fizzy fun and uncover the surprise beneath.

Were the kids right in their predictions as to what was underneath the baking soda? Why do they think the baking soda and vinegar reacted that way? (Hint: It’s a chemical reaction).

Both experiments are from The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, check out the other fun and simple science experiments you can do at home.

Ice Cube Painting
What You’ll Need:
  • Water
  • Ice cube tray
  • Food coloring
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Paper (cardstock or thicker paper preferred)
Steps:
  1. Add water into an ice cube tray and add a few drops of food coloring into each section. Mix colors together to see what new colors you can create.
  2. Add a Popsicle stick into each section (best way for little hands)
  3. Put it into the freezer for 1-2 hours till completely frozen. Ask: What will happen when we put these in the freezer?
  4. Once frozen completely, use the colored ice to paint on paper and create your masterpiece! Ask and observe: What happens when you mix colors on the paper? What is happening to the ice now?

Other Resources

Science Experiment Books for Grades 3-6 (ebooks from WCCLS)

Explore other remote learning activities, such as “10-Minute Science Projects” (Capstone Publishing)

Check out these science activities for children of all ages (OMSI)

Read about the importance of “Nurturing the Scientist in Your Child(NAEYC)