background img

Entertaining and Engaging STEM Experiments For Kids To Do At Home!

posted by:

Being home from school doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Samy Bindra from Mad Science of Denver has some guilt-free tips on how you can keep kids entertained at home all while learning science.

Here are some hands-on DIY experiments that are perfect for exploring science that you and the kids will love doing together with supplies you can find lying around your house.

1.) Ghost Bubbles | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dish soap
  • Jar
  • Marker
  • Chenille stem (pipe cleaner)
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Water
  • Measuring Cup
  • Safety Note: Do not drink the mixture.

What you do:

Step 1: Pour 240mL (1 cup) of dishwashing soap, 120mL (½ cup) of corn syrup, and 60mL (¼ cup) of water into the jar.

Step 2: Slowly mix the three liquids together with the spoon. Do not mix quickly, otherwise bubbles will form.

Step 3: Wrap a chenille stem end around a marker to make a bubble wand. Slide the chenille stem off the marker, and twist the stem on itself.

Step 4: Dip the wand loop into the solution. Wait for five seconds the first time you do this to let the bristles soak up the solution.

Step 5: Remove the wand from the solution and blow through the loop. What do you see? What happens when the bubbles pop?

What’s going on?

Water molecules are attracted to each other. They pull on each other. When water meets air, the water molecules stick together in a layer at the surface. This is because they are more attracted to each other than to the air molecules. We call this surface tension. Normal water has too much surface tension to make good bubbles. Adding a detergent like dish soap weakens the surface tension so bubbles can form. When the water in a bubble dries up, or evaporates, the bubble bursts. Corn syrup slows down this process, so the bubbles are stronger and last longer. When the water finally does dry up, the bubble pops, leaving a ghostly film of corn syrup and soap. 

 Now try this:

Try making bubble solutions with different ratios of corn syrup, dishwashing soap, and water. Do the bubbles last longer? Are the bubbles as strong? Does the bubble solution become stronger or weaker over time?

2.) Copycat Solution | Try this at Home!

 Supplies:

  • Vanilla extract
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Small cup
  • Tablespoon
  • Paintbrush
  • 2 sheets of white paper
  • Black ballpoint pen

What you do:

Step 1: Use the pen to draw a picture on a sheet of paper. Make the lines of the drawing as thick as possible.

Step 2: In the cup, mix one tablespoon of vanilla extract with one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. 

Step 3: Use the paintbrush to paint a thin layer of the vanilla extract and detergent mixture over your drawing.

Step 4: Cover your drawing with the second sheet of white paper.

Step 5: Use the back of the spoon to press down on the top sheet. Gently rub your drawing by moving the spoon in small circles.

Step 6: When you can see your drawing through the paper, peel off the top sheet. What do you see?

What’s going on?

You copied your drawing! The detergent in your mixture binds to the ink in your picture. The ink mixture transfers to the second page when you press the sheets together. If you draw thick lines and use lots of ink, you can make more than one copy. 

Now try this:

Try this experiment with different kinds of inks. Try drawing with different kinds of markers or different colored pens. Does the copycat solution work for these inks?

3.) Bubble Catching | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • Stretchy cotton gloves
  • A bottle of bubble solution with bubble wand
  • A parent or sibling

What you do:

Step 1. Put on the stretchy gloves.

Step 2. Ask your parent or sibling to blow some bubbles.

Step 3. Place your hand so that a bubble lands on it. Can you catch it without bursting it?

What’s going on:

Bubbles are made from a thin film of soapy water that is filled with air. The water drops form little bridges that link them together. The soap coats the water bridges to keep them linked up. These bridges create surface tension – they keep the bubble from bursting. You can touch a bubble if you don’t break the surface tension. You can do this if you wear a clean, dry cloth object like the stretchy gloves. Adding dirt or oil can break the surface tension. That is why the bubble bursts if you touch it with your oily fingers!

Now try this:

Take off the gloves and coat your hand with the bubble solution. Try to catch a bubble with your soapy hand. Which way works better for catching bubbles?

4.) Musical Straw | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • 3 Straws                           
  • Scissors

 What you do:

Step 1: Flatten one end of a straw by biting down on the straw and pulling it out of your mouth while keeping your mouth closed. This is your mouthpiece.

Step 2: Diagonally cut out the corners of the flattened mouthpiece. This makes a V shape at the end of the straw.

Step 3: Place your lips slightly beyond the slit portions of the V and blow. What happens? Step 4: Repeat steps 1-2 with two more straws.

Step 5: Cut the ends of the two straws so they are different lengths from your first straw. Blow through the mouthpiece of each straw. What happens to the sound?

What’s going on?

Sound travels in waves of vibrating atoms. The time it takes for a sound wave to travel to the end of the straw and back to the mouthpiece is its frequency. We call the sound of a frequency its pitch. Longer frequencies have a lower pitch, like a dog’s growl. Shorter frequencies have higher pitches, like a bird song. Changing the lengths of the straws changes the pitch of the instrument. The longer the straw, the lower the pitch will be. The shorter the straw, the higher the pitch will be. This gives you different pitched instruments to make a band with!

5.) Balloon Bond | Try this at Home!

Supplies:

  • 2 Small flexible plastic cups
  • Balloon

What you do:

Step 1: Hold the neck of the balloon to your mouth with one hand. Place the round end of the balloon into a small plastic cup.

Step 2: Inflate the balloon while gently applying pressure by squeezing the sides of the cup. Pinch the neck closed when you are done.

Step 3: Attempt to separate the cup and the balloon. What happens?

Step 4: Deflate the balloon. Now hold the neck of the deflated balloon in your mouth, pick up a cup with each hand and press the opening of each one against the balloon. Try inflating the balloon between the two cups while gently squeezing their sides. Pinch the neck closed when you are done.

Step 5: Try to pull the two cups off the balloon. What happens?

What’s going on?

There is air all around us. It is the Earth’s atmosphere. This air pushes on us, and we call this push “air pressure”. When your balloon is small, it traps a pocket of air inside the cup. As your balloon gets bigger, the air pocket inside the cup gets bigger too, but no more air molecules can get in. This means that the air pressure inside the cup becomes lower than the air pressure outside the cup. Air always flows from an area of higher pressure to an area of lower pressure. We think of this as “suction”, but really, it is the air pressure pushing the cup against the balloon. That is why it is hard to pull them apart. No air molecules can get in as long as there is a seal between the balloon and cup. If you twist the balloon, you can break this seal, and then you can easily pull them apart!

Now try this:

Try adding more cups as you inflate the balloon! You can do this by gently squeezing the sides of the cups, pressing the cup openings onto the balloon, and then slowly releasing the sides. See how many cups you can attach to the balloon!

Mad Science will also be updating this page every few days with new and exciting experiments for parents who are likely racking their brains trying to come up with fun and educational STEM activities.

With more than 150 locations all around the globe and 35 years of experience, Mad Science is the world’s leading science enrichment provider for children ages 3-12. Mad Science delivers unique, hands-on science experiences through after-school programs, birthday parties, workshops, special events, and summer camps. With over 200 hours of science programs developed by their R&D team, they teach kids about a wide range of STEM topics like biology,physics, chemistry, and engineering. Every year, Mad Science introduces millions of children to a world of discovery while sparking their imagination and curiosity.

 

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

You may also like
Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *