Whether you homeschool your kids or not, you can enjoy the same thing with these creative science experiments. Kids of all ages will love these amazing projects – all while learning a thing or two about how stuff works. See the look of wonder in your child’s eyes when he or she witnesses the incredible things science can do!
Create Instant Ice
First, put brand new, unopened bottles of water in the freezer. Freeze for exactly two hours and 45 minutes. The water will still be liquid, but at a temperature well below the freezing point. Remove the bottles and hand one to each child. All it takes to see the water freeze before your eyes is a sharp jolt to the bottle – a solid whack with your hand will do the trick. You can also create ice sculptures by putting ice cubes in a dish and pouring your ice-cold water over the cubes.
Play with Magic Mud
A crowd favorite, “magic mud” is made with just a few ordinary russet potatoes (washed and chopped into small pieces and water. Chop your potatoes with a food processor or finely with a knife. Pour hot water over the chopped potatoes, just enough to cover them. Next, strain the potato-water mixture over a bowl, keeping the water (don’t dump it out). Let the water sit for about ten minutes. If you use a glass bowl, you can see a white substance (starch) begin to separate and collect at the bottom of the bowl. Pour the water out at this point and the white goo will remain at the bottom of the bowl.
To clean the “mud,” mix a bit of clean water with the white goo and pour the mixture into a tall, thin container with a lid, like a mason jar. Put the lid on the container and shake it up. Then, let it sit for another 10 minutes. Again, the white part will separate from the water. The water at the top will have most of the dirt and impurities from the white goo. Pour this out quickly and what remains will be your magic mud. Magic mud is a solid when squeezed, but a liquid when you relax your hand. (As a plus side for moms, you can still cook and eat the potatoes!)
Put Clouds in a Bottle
For this project, all you need is a large glass jar (or plastic two-liter soda bottle), matches, rubber gloves, a rubber band, food coloring, water, and a flashlight. First boil enough water to cover the bottom of your jar. Pour the boiling water into the jar and swirl it around so the water covers the sides (careful – jar will be hot!). Put the wrist part of a rubber glove around the mouth of the jar, with the fingers of the gloves down inside the jar. Put your hand in the glove and pull the fingers upward. Take the glove off of the jar for just a moment, enough time to drop a lit match down into the jar. Stretch the glove back over the jar in the same way you did before.
The water at the bottom of your jar will put out the match, leaving behind a cloud of smoke. Slide your hand into the glove and pull the fingers outward. A cloud will form in the jar. You can see the cloud better by shining a flashlight on it. The cloud will disappear if you put your hand back in the glove, and will settle to the bottom of the jar after about 10 to 15 minutes. Get creative by adding a few drops of food coloring to the water at the bottom of the jar and doing the experiment again. This will create colorful clouds!