Doing science experiments at home with your children doesn't have to be a daunting task. All you need are common household ingredients such as water, salt, vinegar, sugar and baking soda to have fun with your child and help them learn about the laws of science.
Homemade Rock Candy
Learning about crystal formation can be fun as well as tasty. All you need is a clothespin, a wooden chopstick or skewer, 2-3 cups of sugar, one cup of water and a tall jar or glass. First, clip the skewer onto the clothespin so that the bottom of the skewer is about one inch from touching the bottom of the glass. Take the skewer out of the glass and set it aside, then bring the water to a boil in a pan. Start by pouring about a quarter of a cup of sugar into the water. Stir it until it dissolves and keep adding sugar until it will no longer dissolve in the water. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes or more. Pour the solution into the glass or jar until the glass is almost full, then put the skewer back into the jar. Watch for sugar crystals to grow throughout the next week.
Marker Color Mystery
Have you ever wondered how the dyes are mixed to make your favorite color marker? Now is the time to find out. For this experiment you need several paper towels, a small bowl of water and at least three different colored markers. Cut the paper towels into strips before starting the experiment. First, draw a line on each strip of paper towel with a different colored marker, making sure to note which color marker you used on each paper towel. Dip the paper towel strip into the water so that the part that isn't colored by the marker is submerged and watch the water move up the towel slowly. The mark made by the marker will spread throughout the towel to reveal the dyes that were used to create that particular color.
Examine Money for Counterfeit Prevention
Ordinary objects, such as dollar bills, are fun to examine under a microscope. Most kids think that money would be very easy to copy, but the bills are carefully designed to make counterfeit very difficult. When you put the money under the microscope you will see tiny red and blue fibers that are mixed with the paper fibers. You will also see all of the numbers that are printed onto each bill. Examine several denominations of bills to note similarities and differences between them.
Fun with Static Electricity
Your child can make an empty soda can move using static electricity. You need a soda can, a balloon that is blown up and a head of hair to create the static. Lay the can on the table sideways, then have your child rub the balloon through their hair quickly to create static. Put the balloon close to the can and watch the can start rolling without being touched. This is the magic of static electricity.
When you're looking at tap water, bottled water and river water they may seem very similar with the naked eye, but you can see big differences when you look at different types of water using a microscope. Use a dropper to drop several types of water onto concave slides and look at the slides under compound school microscopes to see the similarities and differences in the types of water. See if your child can guess where each water sample came from when they're looking at the sample under the microscope.