I love letting my kids explore when it comes to science. Creating their own experiments and chasing their curiosity is fascinating to watch. Often I feel like I am simply being pulled along on their scientific journey. But there are a few tried and true science experiments every child should do. These are simple science experiments. Very easy to set up and do, and great for young scientists who are still learning their passion for science. These are also great for parents and teachers who need quick and easy hands on science lessons.
Simple Science Experiments for Kids
Sometimes the most simple things can bring incredible joy and opportunities. Science is one of those areas that doesn’t need to be difficult to be meaningful.
I’ve had a number of readers reach out asking for science ideas. They are unsure of their ability to teach science and do experiments with their kids. Or perhaps they have a large group of kids across many ages and abilities, and they need something that will resonate with all ages. Or maybe they need something for a rainy day and want to do something meaningful, with no screens, that will help them connect with their kids and have fun. But they have no idea where to start.
I’m here to tell you that not only can science be easy, it can also be incredibly fun. Doing science experiments with your kids will teach them critical thinking skills, the process of discovery, the power of science, investigative skills, and best of all it will provide you with a way to connect with your kids and create lasting memories. My kids still talk about science experiments we did 5 years ago. These are the moments that stay with kids!
Today I want to share some super simple science experiments that you can do at home without spending a ton of money.
The best thing about these simple science experiments is that they will excite your kids, fuel their passions, inspire their curiosity, and foster self-confidence. All without costing you a fortune, or stressing you out.
TIPS ON HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY DO SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS WITH KIDS
Before I list my top picks for simple science, I want to share a few tips on how to be successful at doing these experiments. When I hear from readers that they are having issues, the cause of their confusion or frustration usually stems from one of the following areas.
First, make sure you read the instructions. I know I have fallen prey to this one before. We get so excited about science we don’t thoroughly do our homework and read the instructions. Inevitably we end up making mistakes, but that’s not always a bad thing either. One of the activities below was made all the more special due to mistakes we made by not reading all the instructions! But still, if you make a mistake go back and read the instructions. Or get someone with fresh eyes to read the instructions in case you are missing something.
If you are unsure about one of the supplies, take a look below the supply list on any of these activities and click on the images to get more details on the items. Perhaps in your part of the world an item goes by a different name than I have used. Or perhaps it is packaged differently. Clicking through will also help you have a clear understanding of exactly what the supply is if you are unsure. Usually these links go to Amazon where you can get more details, read up on others comments on the item, and order the exact item I am recommending.
Next, if you run into issues, do some research. Google your issue, perhaps someone has a similar issue and they have an answer that will solve your dilemma.
Also, try using the scientific method to test different variables or variations to see if you can pinpoint where the error is occurring in your experiment.
Some of our greatest learning experiences have come from our failures, and going through the process of finding the solution. Mistakes have huge value in science. Embrace them! Learn and grow from them! I promise, your experiment will have so much more value if you embrace the unknown and open the door to the opportunities afforded by a mistake.
Now onto my top picks!
TOP PICKS FOR SIMPLE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
This experiment is so beautiful, and yet so simple. We only recently did it for the first time and I have no idea why I waited so long. It uses simple ingredients you likely already have in your house, but it has huge wow factor. Kids will want to do this experiment over and over again. For the older kids, turn it into a Magic Milk Science Fair style investigation.
This is such a fun STEM project to do outdoors. It includes an engineering challenge, as kids build a launch pad for their bottle rocket. Then the excitement of the impressive and powerful chemical reaction that launches the bottle rocket into the sky! Bottle Rockets are a must do science activity in the summer.
Simple Chemistry From The Pantry
This is always my kids favourite activity. Take anything we can find in the pantry, combine it like a wizard in potions class with other ingredients, and watch what happens! This is the perfect activity to foster curiosity and discovery. One test will lead kids to wonder about how other items might react. Soon you will have your very own little scientist begging to do science over and over again as they come up with new theories and predictions. Simple chemistry is sometimes the best!
Here are just a few of our Pantry Science experiments.
Kids love slime. It may have been all the rage about a year ago, but most kids are still obsessed with this stuff. If you haven’t already mastered making slime, now is the time! See this is one of those experiments that took us months of failures, and applying research and the scientific method until we found a method that worked! Since then we have created hundreds of different slimes, all using this slime recipe as the base.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you here. We much prefer Oobleck to slime. If you are going to pick just one, pick Oobleck every time. Oobleck (a non-Newtonian Fluid that is solid under pressure and liquid without pressure) has so many amazing scientific properties. It is completely fascinating. We have done some amazing experiments with Oobleck and it all starts with one very simple recipe.
Want to try something different? We made a cornstarch slime that was part oobleck, part slime!
Why Does Water Rise
When we first did this experiment, even I was shocked! We knew how to do the steps, to make the water magically rise in this experiment, but since my kids are young scientists they used their investigation skills to dig in and really understand why the water would rise. This is where simple science becomes compelling and motivating!
Hatching Dino Eggs or Rainbow Rocks
This is such a simple idea, but has massive wow factor that kids will be talking about for years. Whenever I do this project with a group, I am always amazed at how into it everyone gets. And I mean everyone, from preschoolers to adults, everyone wants to hatch a dino egg or reveal a rainbow! All using simple chemistry and ingredients that are in your kitchen right now.
Remember earlier I talked about embracing your mistakes and science fails and turning them into amazing learning experiences? This Walking Rainbow experiment was exactly that for us. See I didn’t research it properly. I didn’t read up on exactly how to do this experiment before starting. I just jumped in. And it failed miserably. So followed my own tips above. I did some research and actually read all the instructions (novel concept, I know! Sometimes we get a little too enthusiastic and jump in too quickly), and we turned the whole thing into an even richer experience than if we had done it correctly from the start. Plus it is gorgeous!
I have no idea where I first learned you could make plastic from milk, but I am so glad I did! The concept of being able to make hard plastics so easily from milk is just fascinating. Even though they are bioplastics, they are incredibly durable. Our lasted 3 years until our kittens got a hold of them and chewed them up, forcing me to through them out. Once again this is an easy experiment, using items you have in the pantry. Yes, to make plastic! Cool, eh?
This activity is a great one for learning about physics and getting the kids up and moving! We’ve had so much fun with our balloon races over the years. The kids love coming up with a theme like Rudolf Races at Christmas or Cupid’s Arrow races at Valentine’s. Whether you choose to do a theme and decorate your balloons or not, this physics science experiment will have kids giggling, laughing and learning!
It doesn’t get any more simple than this! Skittles and water. That’s all you need to create a gorgeous experiment that kids will have kids gasping in wonder. For your older kids, up the challenge by seeing what designs they can create, or have them create works inspired by the masters, like our Starry Night inspired Skittles Experiment. Science has never been so simple, or so sweet.
Build a Water Clock
This is such a simple experiment that can be scaled in difficulty for your older kids. I recommend building a simple water clock then challenging the kids to build their own, better, version!
Enjoy and remember there is so much more science out there! Follow passions and interests. Let kids guide you and explore and discover together. It will make your journey through science so much more valuable and meaningful. These are moments of great connection that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives!
So get out there and create some science!