6 awesome scientific experiments for kids to try this summer
Just because school is out doesn't mean that your kids have to stop learning. In fact, summer vacation is a perfect time for young minds to open up to new knowledge and discoveries. So get outside with your kids and learn something through play!
Today, we here at Bright Side have prepared 6 awesome summer science experiments that will keep your kiddos busy and active this summer.
Making giant bubbles
If it's overcast outside, staying in all day and waiting for the sun to come out is not a good idea. Have a blast with your kids creating giant bubbles instead. In fact, cooler temperatures with good humidity are just perfect for creating long-lasting bubbles.
You will need: 6 cups of distilled water, 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon of glycerine.
Instructions: Dissolve the cornstarch in water, and stir in the other ingredients. Stir the mixture well, but try not to create foam. Let the solution sit for about one hour. Meanwhile, make a bubble-blowing frame out of any materials to dip into the soap solution.
What's happening?: Due to surface tension effects, we can blow really big bubbles. However, plain water won't form bubbles. Adding soap and the other ingredients mentioned above increases the surface tension so that the water can stay stretched around the bubble.
Making a bottle rocket
All you require for this experiment is a backyard for launching your rocket and a bit of technical skill. We guarantee that your kids will love this idea.
You will need: a bottle one-third filled with water, an empty tea bag, baking soda, vinegar, pencils or disposable chopsticks, duct tape, a wine cork, wire.
Preparation: In order to create a bottle rocket, fill one-third of a plastic bottle with water, add vinegar, and stir well. Use the pencils as landing legs, spacing them so that the bottle can stand upright during the launch. Fill an empty tea bag with baking soda. Make sure that your cork fits snugly into the bottle. Make a hook out of wire, hang a tea bag with baking soda on it, and attach the resulting construction to the cork. Push the cork into the bottle so that the baking soda 'charge' is inside.
Instructions: Go outside, turn the bottle upside down, and put it on the ground. Move away to a safe distance, and watch the plastic bottle flying into the air.
What's happening?: When baking soda and vinegar are mixed together, the reaction produces carbon dioxide gas. In the closed bottle, the carbon dioxide gas builds up until the pressure of all of the contained gas causes the bottle to pop open and take off. Make sure that the launch area is clear and do not approach the rocket once you have started your experiment, even if it looks like nothing is happening. You may need to wait for a few minutes for the chemical reaction to occur.
Spinning a bucket of water
This fun outdoor experiment requires some practice, so your kids may not succeed at first. But get them to keep trying. After all, allowing your kids to get soaked on a hot summer day is fun!
You will need: A bucket with a sturdy handle, water, a reliable rope (1.5-2m).
Instructions: Fill the bucket until it is around half full with water. Tie the rope to the bucket handle. Now spin the bucket over your head quickly in a circular motion. As your technique improves, you will see that the water doesn't fall out and get you wet, even when the bucket passes over your head.
What's happening?: If you spin the bucket properly, centripetal force comes into play. Being stronger than gravity, this force causes the water to stay in the bucket.
Making a parachute
This experiment will also require some preparation. But one pleasant bonus here is that you can test your parachute as many times as you desire.
You will need: a thick plastic bag or light material, scissors, string, any small object or toy to act as the 'parachutist.'
Instructions: Cut out a large square from your plastic bag or material. Cut the edges so that it looks like an octagon. Cut a small hole near the edge of each side, and attach a piece of string to each of the holes. Make sure they are of the same length. Tie the pieces of string to the object you use as parachutist. Find a suitable high spot to drop your parachute. For example, you can stand on a bench. Keep in mind: if you cut a small hole in the middle of the parachute, it will work better.
What's happening?: When you release the parachute the parachutist will pull it down, stretching the strings. Due to air resistance, your parachute will slow down the fall of the parachutist, giving the toy a comfortable landing. The larger the surface area of the parachute, the slower it will drop.
Upside down glass of water
If you have an empty glass and a piece of paper at your fingertips, use them to show your kids a fun experiment.
You will need: a glass, a thick sheet of paper (preferably not crumpled), water.
Instructions: Fill the glass halfway (or more) with water. Put the paper over the top of the glass. Hold it tightly against the glass, and quickly turn the glass upside down, while holding the cardboard in place. Remove your hand from the bottom. Ta-da! The paper stays covering the glass, and the water doesn’t spill out.
What's happening?: When we turn the glass upside down, the space between the glass bottom and the water surface is filled with air and water vapor is formed. Gravity tries to pull the water down, making this space expand. The pressure of the air inside the glass drops below the atmospheric pressure, which allows the liquid not to fall out.
If you know where to find an anthill, spend a great time with your kids observing the behavior of its inhabitants.
1. The first thing you’ll need to do is find some ants and determine their path. Observe their behavior for a while. Bring your child's attention to how the ants carry their prey and communicate by touching with their antennae. If you run your finger across the ants' path you will see that the next ant to arrive at the rub mark you made will act quite confused. It will move from side to side, not knowing where to go. But after some scouting around, the ants will make a new path and go back to the business of gathering food for the colony. In fact, when you rub your finger, you erase the scent of the trail and the ants don't know where to go.
2. If you paint the top of an anthill with food coloring you will see that the dye will disappear after a while, but later on it will appear again. In fact, ants constantly turn over the building material of their house to protect themselves from mold.
3. One more exciting experiment with ants was conducted by Indian scientist Dr. Mohamed Babu. In his backyard, he fed the ants with translucent abdomens on colored sugar water. The result is shown in the picture. 'Curiously, the ants preferred light colors—yellow and green,' the scientist says.