With the weather quickly cooling, I’m always looking for quick educational activities to do with my kids. My big kid loves science (when she grows up she wants to be a mommy scientist who lives at Great Wolf Lodge), so experiments tend to be our go to at home activity. It’s great to have a few experiments you can whip up in a matter of minutes with items laying around your house.
Before starting any experiments, remember to talk to you kids. Ask them what they think will happen, and why. Afterwards, ask them what happened, if it was the same as their hypothesis, and why. As parents we often try to explain things to our kids rather than teach them to think critically. And as tired as all parents are of the question “why?” it’s a glorious sign that your child is engaged in wanting to understand the world.
We actually do a mini scientific method sheet with every experiment. I make my child write out what we’re doing, what equipment she’ll need, her hypothesis, our method, and results.
This is a simple and fun quick experiment. Grab any type of container, from a bucket to a glass, fill with water. Now one by one put in items you find around the house and see if they will sink or float. This is also a great experiment to do in the tub.
Now try a piece of paper. Does changing the shape of the paper change its buoyancy? Why do you think that is?
Always a high school science favourite, start with just some oil and water (you can add a bit of food colouring to make it more fun). Pour them together in a cup and watch them separate. Have your child try to mix them together with a spoon has vigorously as they possibly can.
Now start again and see what other liquids you can stack on top of each other. Soap, maple syrup, honey, oil, pour them slowly starting with the densest.
Start with 3 bowls of water, one hot (not hot enough to burn), one ice cold, and one lukewarm. Ask your child to touch and describe each. Now get your child to hold their hand in the bowl with ice water for 20 seconds, then put it in the lukewarm bowl and describe the sensation. Now do the same with the hot bowl, holding your hand in it for 20 seconds and then switching to the lukewarm bowl to describe the feeling.
Next do it with both hands simultaneously, one in the cold bowl, one in the hot bowl for 20 seconds. Get them to put both hands back in the lukewarm. How do your hands feel, and why?
This is slightly more involved than the previous experiments but it will engage any child. You will need:
Boil the one cup of water, and slowly add the sugar to it, stirring constantly to dissolve. Add a few drops of food colouring (completely optional but it will make it easier to see the crystals when they start forming. Pour your solution into your container. Lastly, tie a piece of yarn to a pencil, making sure that it’s short enough to not touch the bottom of the container when the pencil is laid on top. Now wait. It will take a few days to see the crystals start to form, and in 5-7 days you’ll have your own candy ready to eat. Prepare to be asked every hour if it’s ready yet.
Do you have any favourite at home water experiments? Comment and let us know!