My kids love to explore. They love to get their hands messy, and they love to test things out. They love to build and design. And you know what? So do I!
Science experiments are always a hit, but the most common problem I run into when my kids want to experiment is this…I don’t have the materials on hand. The thought of putting the fun on hold to run to the store is not usually received well. By me or the kids.
This science activity list is full of fun ideas that don’t require extensive supplies. In fact, you probably have most of the stuff in your kitchen right now!
#1: The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment
Ok, think about this. The kids get to learn about science. A bunch of cookies get made in the process. This is a win-win! The steps are pretty simple.
- Make chocolate chip cookies – be sure you are following a recipe, step by step. Keep that recipe nearby. This batch will serve as your control group (the group of cookies that you will compare all the other experimental cookies to).
- Tip: Because you will be making many cookies throughout this entire activity, it is a wise idea to cut the recipe in half. Unless of course you want an excuse to fill your freezer with cookies for a later date!
- Personal Tip: I have always had trouble with cookies sticking to pans. Then, I got these pans, and they truly no longer stick anymore. Check them out! AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set, 16 x 14 in
- Now look back at that recipe and make ONE change. Only ONE! For example, you could use all brown sugar in this batch instead of a mix of brown and white sugar.
- Implement that ONE change and bake the next batch. (Again…you can cut the recipe in half or even fourths if you don’t want an overload of cookies…).
- When the experimental cookies are baked and cooled, compare them to your control cookies (original batch). Notice the differences.
- Record the differences on a paper or take pictures.
- Repeat steps 2-5. Always go back to the control batch (original batch) and make ONE change for the next experimental batch of cookies.
- Enjoy the process (and the product!) 🙂 Kids learn science while you do it!
#2: Color Mixing with Kool-Aid
- Mix up several batches of Kool-Aid in different primary colors.
- Set out several small cups of each color.
- Give kids some empty cups (clear).
- Allow them to mix the colors and see what happens!
#3: Rock Candy
This kitchen science activity takes some time to complete, but the kids will enjoy the set-up, and they will enjoy watching the sugar crystals grow over a period of days.
- Basically, you dissolve sugar in hot water in a ratio of approximately 3:1.
- Next, you set up starter crystals for the rock candy to grow on.
- Then, you let them sit for several days, watching their progress.
- Finally, you enjoy!
**www.growingajeweledrose.com has excellent instructions — check them out HERE
#4: Oreo Moon Phases
Making this activity is pretty quick, so if you don’t have a ton of time for an all-out, messy kitchen science experiment, this may be just right for you!
Oreo cookies are dark with white filling…we all know this. But, this simple fact also makes them perfect for teaching kids about the phases of the moon! The dark cookie represents the night sky and the white filling becomes the moon!
- Find a disposable plate…paper, Styrofoam, it doesn’t matter, but it should be dinner-sized, not snack-sized.
- Label the eight phases of the moon around the edges of the plate. Space them apart equally. Ducksters.com has a handy chart to reference.
- New Moon
- Waxing Crescent
- First Quarter
- Waxing Gibbous
- Full Moon
- Waning Gibbous
- Third Quarter
- Waning Crescent
- Now…take out eight Oreos, and use a spoon to scrape off the filling to match the moon phases! Set on your labeled plate in the appropriate places!
#5: Celery, Food Coloring, and Plant Structure
Celery…that vegetable that is in all of our fridges. Is it just me, or does the celery often go bad before it gets eaten in your house, too? Here’s a science experiment that will put that celery to good use AND teach your kids a little something about plant structure.
- You’re going to have to introduce a few new words to your kids for this one.
- Xylem (pronounced ZY-lem) and Phloem (pronounced FLO-em)
- Plants need these cells! Xylem and phloem are the cells in plants that are responsible for transporting water, nutrients, and sugar around the entire plant. Xylem carries water up from the roots to the leaves. This experiment will help your kids see xylem tissue in celery stalks.
- Take that celery out of the fridge. If you have stalks with leaves on the end, use those. If not, that’s OK.
- Cut the end of the celery so you have a nice, fresh cut at the bottom.
- Mix up a few cups of food coloring and water. The darker the coloring, the better!
- Place the freshly cut end of the celery into the cup of colored water. Put a different stalk into each cup you prepared.
- After several hours, check it! If you take the celery out of the water and look at the cut end, you should clearly see very small dots, or circles of color. These are the xylem cells.
- Let them continue to sit overnight. The next day, check them again. Are the leaves turning color? This is because the xylem cells were carrying the colored water up the stalk and into the leaves!
- Cut the stalks in half, cutting across the stalk. Can you see the xylem “tubes” inside? Let you kids break and examine and study the celery, noticing all that they can about the xylem.
Who knew celery could be such an interesting vegetable?
#6: Skittle Color Art
This one is so much fun to watch! It’s fun, artistic, and incorporates science, all at the same time!
The steps are SO easy.
- Find some Skittles.
- Find a shallow dish. I found that a white one is best because it shows the colors more. If you only have class, then put a piece of white paper under it.
- Set the Skittles in the dish. Place them near the edges and group them by color. Here’s what ours looked like.
- Gently pour a little bit of hot water into the dish. You don’t need a lot…the Skittle don’t even have to be covered. Our water went up about halfway on the Skittles.
- Wait and watch! Don’t walk away! Color begins to move almost immediately!
- After two minutes ours looked like this.
- Wait a few more minutes. After five, this is what we had!
- This would be a great time to introduce color mixing to kids. They can carefully examine the line where two colors meet to see what happens. You could use the activity to talk about dissolving and water solubility too!
#7: Animal Cracker Fun
Animal crackers…as a kid, I played with them before I ate them. Ok…I still do… Who doesn’t?!? Why not make that play a little educational for the kids? Here are a few quick ideas.
- Use animal crackers to teach about animals and where they live. Treat it as a sorting and grouping activity. Take a handful of animal crackers, have your child identify them (get help here!), and then discuss where in the world they can be found. Group them accordingly!
- Use animal crackers to discuss food chains. The animals may not fit into a perfect food chain, but you could certainly use the animal crackers to open up a discussion about which animals may eat other animals. You could even introduce the words herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore! Capitalize on their interest in the crackers to teach them something new!
I hope you found this post to be helpful. We are always game for a new idea in our house, so if you have a science activity that your family has really enjoyed, please comment and add it! The more ideas we have, the better it is for everyone!
Take good care!