Top 10 Science Experiments to Try at Home

Updated on June 9, 2016

Home Science

Science is all around us - it is not just confined to the classroom or laboratory. There are plenty of fun experiments that need very little equipment other than a few household items and some curiosity. Not only will this foster a culture of life-long learning, but it looks great on a college application! These experiments make great family projects to do together too - much better than vegetating in front of the tv!

Below you will find a selection of science experiments spanning across Biology, Chemistry, Physics and the Earth Sciences. Each section will list the equipment you need, some instructions, and an explanation of what happens.

1. Plastic Chemistry - Making Slime

Equipment:

  • 2 Plastic cups
  • 2 Plastic Spoons
  • Food colouring - pick your favourite colour
  • Borax Powder (usually found next to laundry detergent)
  • PVA Glue
  • Water

What to do:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of borax into around 75ml of water in the first cup. Stir until it dissolves (this may take a while)
  2. Mix a tablespoon of PVA glue with two tablespoons of water. Add some drops of food colouring. Stir well until well mixed.
  3. Add one tablespoon of the borax solution to the glue mixture. Stir well and see the mixture turn to slime.
  4. Leave the slime for 30seconds and then pick it up!

What's happening?

Borax causes cross-links between the long strands of the PVA. This prevents the strands from sliding over each other making this an example of a Non-Newtonian Fluid.

Next? Play about with the ratios of the ingredients to make different types of slime - stretchy, springy, bouncy and wet slimes can all be made by experimenting with how much borax you add.

2. Soda Volcano

The Quintessential DIY experiment. You will need:

  1. A large bottle of diet coke
  2. A pack of mentoes
  3. Fast hands
  4. An open space (Do not try indoors)

What to Do:

Everyone knows this one. Drop a couple of mentoes into a cola bottle and stand well back.

What's Happening? The surface of the candy may look smooth, but in physical terms, its actually quite rough. Fizzy drinks are fizzy because they undergo a steady chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. The rough surface of the candy provides extra sites for this reaction to take place over - they are known as nucleation sites

Next? Experiment with different flavours of mentoes, brands of cola, other sugar coated sweets. You could try a sports-drink cap on the cola to see if this makes a difference

3. The Science of Hypercooling

My personal favourite! This experiment is how I introduce the science of melting and freezing. You will need:

  1. A metal bucket
  2. 1kg of table salt
  3. 6x 500ml bottled water
  4. Two bags of crushed ice and Water
  5. Patience

What to Do: Check out this video for full details as this experiment, whilst straightforward, is delicate.

Next? Compete to see who can pour the tallest freezing tower

4. Rocket Science - Pocket Rockets

NASA aren't the only ones who can make rockets! You will need:

  1. A ye olde photo film cannister (most camera shops still have plenty to give away for free)
  2. Alka-seltzer tablet
  3. Small piece of blu-tak
  4. Water
  5. Water colouring or paint (optional)

What to do: Take the lid of the cannister and stick the blu-tak to the inside. Next, carefully but firmly stick your alka-seltzer tablet to the blu tack. Fill the cannister halfway with water. Firmly close the lid. You now have a fuelled pocket rocket. Simply turn upside down and step back.

What's Happening? This is simply an application of pressure. As the alka-seltzer dissolvers, it releases carbon dioxide. Because the cannister is airtight, it has nowhere to go! The pressure builds until it goes POP!

Next? Experiment with different amounts of water and brands of fizzing tablets. I play a trick where I count in my head whilst talking and snap my fingers just as each pocket rocket takes off :)

5. The Science of Double Glazing

Prove the effectiveness of your expensive double glazing with a simple experiment. You will need:

  • Two empty 1 litre plastic drinks bottles
  • One empty 2 litre plastic drinks bottle
  • Sharp scissors
  • Two identical glasses or paper cups - anything without a handle that is narrow enough to fit inside the smaller bottle
  • A jug or something to fill the glasses from
  • Hot water from the tap
  • Two thermometer strips (sold at chemists and supermarkets) and some sticky tape.

What to do: Lots of steps to this one (and it is neatly stolen from the Bang website) so take a look at this link for full details and explanations!

Source

6. Physics Magic Tricks

Sticky Rice: Get a clean jam jar. Fill to the top with rice. Hold the jar firmly with one hand, push a pencil right to the bottom. Pull the pencil up slowly but not all the way out. The push it back down again. If the rice level starts to drop, top up the rice.

Eventually, the rice will compact around your pencil, and you will be able to lift the whole jar with the pencil. When this happens, the friction between the pencil and rice is so large that you cannot easily pull the pencil out!

Bend water with static electricity: Blow up a balloon and rub it against your head to build up a static charge. Do this for several minutes to really get a decent charge. Then, turn a tap on: it should be on enough for a steady but slow stream of water to come out, not just drips. Bring the balloon close to the stream of water and observe what happens!

Super bouncing: Grab a tennis ball. Drop it on the floor and see how high it bounces. Now grab a basketball. Drop it on the floor and see how high it bounces. Now put the tennis ball on top of the basketball; support the basketball with one hand and the tennis ball with the other. Drop your two balls at exactly the same time. Now go and ask next-door for your tennis ball back.

7. Rainbow in a Glass

Density is anything but dense - take advantage of this physical concept by making a rainbow in a glass. You will need:

  1. 5 glasses
  2. Sugar
  3. Water
  4. Different coloured food colouring
  5. Tablespoon
  6. Epic patience and a steady hand - this will take some practice!

What to Do: Line up the glasses and put 3 tablespoons of water into the first four glasses. Add one tablespoon of sugar to glass one, two to glass two, three to glass three, four to glass four. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. Now add a different colour foodcolouring to each glass. Pour 1/4 of glass four into glass five. That was the easy bit.

This is the tricky bit. You must pour the next layer (glass three) so gently that it doesn't mix with the first layer. You can put a teaspoon just above the first layer and pour the mixture gently over the back of the spoon to minimise splash. The more slowly you do this, the better the results. When you have filled the glass to about the same width as the last layer, repeat with glass two, and then with glass one. If you have done this right you should get something like the picture.

What's Happening? The different amounts of sugar in water create different densities of water. As you are layering them with the heaviest at the bottom, the different layers will 'sit' on top of each other. Eventually, due to particle dynamics, the layers will mix. The greater the difference in density, the longer the effect lasts. Unlike water and oil, however, once you mix the layers, they will not settle back.

Next? A similar, more palatable, effect can be achieved with 'squashes' (drink mixes) instead of food colouring.

8. Hot Ice

Ice is a crystalline solid that forms when water freezes. But water is not the only liquid that makes crystals. You will need:

  1. Parental Supervision
  2. Sodium Acetate (easily available online)
  3. Pyrex dish
  4. Saucepan
  5. Scissors

What to Do:

Pour the sodium acetate powder into a saucepan. Add water a little at a time. You want just enough to dissolve the gel, the less water you add, the better. Heat the mixture gently whilst stirring. You should notice the gel dissolving

Now pour this mixture into a glass, making sure not to let any undissolved gel into the glass. (Keep any undissolved crystals for later) Put this into the fridge for an hour to cool it.

Take out your 'hot-ice' mixture. It should be liquid. Touch it and watch the mixture instantly freeze. Feel the outside of the container - it should feel warm to the touch.

What's Happening? This is another example of supercooling, but with a liquid that freezes above 0. Remember, all freezing is is changing from a liquid to a solid - it doesn't have to be cold for this to happen

Next? To form the sculptures you need a metal tray scattered with a thin layer of sodium acetate powder to act as a nucleation site.

9. Grow Something!

I leave this to your imagination! Try growing flowers, tomatoes, herbs, anything! This will teach responsibility as well as open up avenues for different experiments (light levels, fertiliser levels, different places in the home, time of watering, regularity of watering) and allows children to develop their observation skills. Have them keep a journal or log of their observations over several weeks, writing down in detail what they do to the plant and what they see.

10. Self Inflating Balloon

Combine Biology and Physics to blow up a balloon with the power of yeast! You will need:

  1. A used washed fizzy drinks bottle (lid not required)
  2. Latex balloon (thinner the better)
  3. Elastic band
  4. Measuring Jug
  5. Yeast
  6. Sugar
  7. Water

What to Do: Place 2 teaspoons of yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and one cup of water into the bottle. Put the balloon over the top of the bottle and secure with the elastic band. Leave, but keep an eye on it

What's happening? Yeast is actually a micro-organism. The yeast is 'eating' the sugar and respiring. A product of respiration is Carbon Dioxide, which slowly fills up the balloon.

Next? Experiment with different temperatures, different types of sugar, different amounts of sugar to see how quickly you can blow up the balloon.

Which Experiment are you going to try first?

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Ishu 

        3 weeks ago

        Nice

      • profile image

        Tayla 

        3 weeks ago

        Hi my name is Tayla this is the best I will try Thease at home

      • profile image

        Leni 

        3 weeks ago

        The slime lasted for a week for me

      • profile image

        Aastha 

        5 weeks ago

        Thanks for sharing your knowledge

      • profile image

        Rahul roy 

        5 weeks ago

        Nice thought of science

      • profile image

        Krish vora 

        8 weeks ago

        Very nice website

      • profile image

        lakshmi narayan sandal 

        8 weeks ago

        Very nice and excellent thinking that moderate the students

      • profile image

        anu 

        2 months ago

        Nice

      • profile image

        Raaga 

        2 months ago

        I liked it so much

      • profile image

        Agnes 

        2 months ago

        I feel like doing everything at once.

      • profile image

        Raviraj 

        3 months ago

        Nice. Yaaaaa

      • profile image

        John 

        4 months ago

        great for class thanks

      • profile image

        godesha 

        4 months ago

        this is awesome

      • profile image

        Chandu 

        5 months ago

        Fantastic.

      • profile image

        Rose Glitter 

        7 months ago

        Actually it is a very excellent thing which radiates the knowledge.

      • profile image

        Sushma 

        7 months ago

        Wonderful

      • profile image

        farha 

        7 months ago

        nice

      • profile image

        Bella 

        8 months ago

        it is cool

      • profile image

        Sandeep kashyap 

        9 months ago

        Good

      • profile image

        Ajit kharel 

        9 months ago

        It's just cool buddy

      • profile image

        Alok 

        10 months ago

        Bad experiments

      • profile image

        Achchhelal chauhan 

        10 months ago

        Wow! Experiment....

      • profile image

        surya 

        13 months ago

        Its good for school expriments thank a lot

      • profile image

        amarbhovad 

        13 months ago

        cool

      • profile image

        Asad Abbas khan 

        13 months ago

        That's very helpful site for helping me out in my assignments.

      • profile image

        Muskan 

        14 months ago

        I like it so much.

      • profile image

        Akshatha 

        16 months ago

        How long does it take for the balloon to get inflated in the self inflating balloon experiment?

      • profile image

        mohammad nayeem 

        19 months ago

        very nice ideas

      • profile image

        Kartik... 

        19 months ago

        Awesome ideas...used em for my school activities

      • profile image

        yanna 

        2 years ago

        i think its really good

      • profile image

        divya 

        2 years ago

        experiments are well and good

      • profile image

        injila scientist 

        2 years ago

        Nice experiments

      • profile image

        angel aana 

        3 years ago

        osm experiments...

      • profile image

        Anitha Vallabhaneni 

        3 years ago

        its intresting

      • profile image

        alishba 

        3 years ago

        I like this expriment and i will try at home

      • Aaron Sparks profile image

        Aaron Sparks 

        4 years ago

        Thanks for the article, vet interesting!

        i will try some of this with my kid, hoping this will get him to think i'm cool again.

        although i think he already know the thing with the mentos...(pretty old)

      • profile image

        riya student 

        4 years ago

        some new experiment for my science exhibition

      • profile image

        anglina 

        4 years ago

        good experimnts but make other also that we can see .............. cool experiments these are

        keep it up :-)

      • sprickita profile image

        sprickita 

        4 years ago from Reno

        D all of the above.... (4 which cool trick2try) kinda mean only letting us pick one... Just kidding THANK YOU happy hubbing..

      • profile image

        sundas 

        5 years ago

        I like this and keep it up

      • stuff4kids profile image

        Amanda Littlejohn 

        5 years ago

        I have to say that I am really impressed by this: what fabulous ideas and all so clearly explained and presented.

        Thank you very much for sharing all these great ways to get kids (and adults!) involved in practical science. Really lovely.

      • profile image

        nikitha 

        5 years ago

        all experiments are good

      • M Zees profile image

        Muhammad Zeeshan 

        5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

        ive tried some of them and they may not sound cool first but they are fun once you really get into them.

      • rumanasaiyed profile image

        Rumana 

        5 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

        Wow, these are very interesting and funny things to do!! I specially like the rainbow in a water glass. Great hub!!

      • shai77 profile image

        Chen 

        5 years ago

        Wow, these look like so much fun. I want to make slime right now, just looks kinda cool to keep in the desk drawer to sit around and play with when you're thinking. Great hub! Yay science, so much fun!

      • pinkhawk profile image

        pinkhawk 

        5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

        Fascinating! ^_^

      • truthfornow profile image

        truthfornow 

        5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

        Great list of ideas to entertain the kids and do some science at home. I had one of those chemistry sets with little test tubes and bottles of chemicals when I was young. It was my favorite toy.

      • Jmillis2006 profile image

        Jmillis2006 

        5 years ago from North Carolina

        I am going to try the rainbow in a glass with my son. Loved this hub.

      • Frangipanni profile image

        Frangipanni 

        5 years ago

        Great hubs. With kids in school your hubs are such help. I see you are one hub of the 100! Good luck!

      • profile image

        siddhi shah 

        5 years ago

        its great i learn many things about the science n i happy to know this things , i like science subject n also maths

      • raising humans profile image

        raising humans 

        5 years ago from North Carolina

        I LOVE this! Thank you! I love doing science experiments with my kids!

      • profile image

        Riya Chaudhari. 

        5 years ago

        I like the Science Experiments soooooooo much!

        I liked the balloon one and the rainbow in the glass the most!

        I also tried and I was KAMIYAB! to do it1

      • profile image

        Anil padhee 

        5 years ago

        great project of science

      • HoneyBB profile image

        H Lax 

        5 years ago

        I love science projects. I'm going to have a lot of fun trying some of these out. Thanks for sharing.

      • LopezUnleashed profile image

        LopezUnleashed 

        5 years ago

        This was pretty cool reading. As a homeschooling mom, any science experiments I can get my hands on that someone has actually done is a great thing. Sometimes I check out books from the library on science experiments, and I sometimes wonder if they ever try them before they publish them.

      • K9keystrokes profile image

        India Arnold 

        5 years ago from Northern, California

        What a fantastic article! Easy to follow instructions and great experiments! I may be giving the rainbow in a glass project a go! What fun!

        Cheers~

      • profile image

        liza 

        5 years ago

        nice and very interesting ideas .these experimets students can enjoy .go onn

      • Lwelch profile image

        Lena Welch 

        5 years ago from USA

        Aha! PVA glue is the international name for Elmer's I bet! I needed to verify that for my hub and there it is in yours! Get your goo on!

      • jennzie profile image

        Jenn 

        5 years ago from Pennsylvania

        These experiments sound like they would be very fun to try. Awesome hub!

      • kittyjj profile image

        Ann Leung 

        6 years ago from San Jose, California

        Great ideas on science experiments for kids. They all sound fun to try. School has just started and this hub can help our kids to choose their science projects for the school science fair this year. Thank you for sharing this useful hub. Voted up, useful and shared!

      • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

        Greensleeves Hubs 

        6 years ago from Essex, UK

        Great page TFscientist of good fun ideas for people to try at home - well described, well illustrated, and most importantly (for those who like to see science made clear), well explained. Hopefully the page will indeed encourage some to develop a greater interest in science. Glad I've found you. Voted up. Alun.

      • profile image

        violy 

        6 years ago

        the experiment on this site is awesome.

      • robes profile image

        robes 

        6 years ago

        Awesome ideas! I enjoy a good read over some small science experiments!

      • mkjuett profile image

        Mary Juett 

        6 years ago from Omaha, NE

        Great ideas! My girls are too young for some of them, but as parents we love to play and it might spark some thoughts about how our world works with their little minds! I'm loving the rainbow in a glass, I may be trying that one soon for some of our color experiments!

      • rneufeld profile image

        rneufeld 

        6 years ago from Virginia

        These expirements are awesome!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 

        6 years ago from UK

        My 12 year-old will love this! She’s done a few of these experiments, but there’s plenty here for her to try. This will keep her amused for hours, thanks!

      • profile image

        WorkAllDay 

        6 years ago

        I do a lot of science work. These are great things for students to do for labs also. i like the fact that they are all very well hands on. its great! keep up the good work and you will get far with your web site wor and posting work. just keep in mind not everyone will like your work but you just need to minus all of them out of your head.

      • words cocktail profile image

        words cocktail 

        6 years ago from Australia

        I think 'Arts and Science' have always been married to each other!! :)

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        @ oldandwise & perspycacious: Thank you so much for passing on my ideas. I really hope your grandchildren enjoy the experiments! Let me know how things go :)

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        @Eric - thank you for your comment! I do hope my hub can make it! If enough people like this and share it, you never know! Hope you can find some use for the experiments at some point!

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        @ words cocktail - I quite agree. I asked a question a few weeks back if science and art could ever come together - I guess I have answered my own question here! Glad you enjoyed it :)

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        @cocopreme - that is my philosophy neatly summed up. Learning doesn't have to be dull and all out of textbooks it should be interesting and fun and as practical as possible

      • words cocktail profile image

        words cocktail 

        6 years ago from Australia

        :) All this science is quite ARTY -- loved it!

        Three cheers specially for the 'Rainbow in the Glass'

      • Eric Newland profile image

        Eric Newland 

        6 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

        Fun stuff and well formatted; I enjoyed it even though my daughter's still too young for this stuff. Maybe I'll bookmark it for a couple years down the road. I could see this one making Hub of the Day.

      • Perspycacious profile image

        Demas W Jasper 

        6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

        Shared with my 16 grandchildren. Thanks.

      • profile image

        oldandwise 

        6 years ago

        Wow great experiments. Will have to try these out with my grandsons. voted up!

      • oliviadonkitblog profile image

        oliviadonkitblog 

        6 years ago

        Awesome experiments.

      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 

        6 years ago from Far, far away

        I love science experiments like these. They are so fun to try. You don't even notice you are learning. Good roundup.

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        Thank you so much for all the positive comments. I tell my students that science is all around us, and I hope this makes my point for me! I'm debating whether to do a follow up hub...but have to wait for my video camera to get fixed!

      • profile image

        SJmorningsun25 

        6 years ago

        Great list of experiments--and great pictures! These look like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing these!

      • KarenCreftor profile image

        Karen Creftor 

        6 years ago from Kent, UK

        I'm nearly 31 and have no children but might just have to try some of these :P

        Great hub!

        ~Kaz x

      • Teresa Coppens profile image

        Teresa Coppens 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Great experiments. I will be trying out some of these with my boys!

      • thebookmom profile image

        thebookmom 

        6 years ago from Nebraska

        Fantastic hub! Such great ideas. I love how you give clear directions for the experiment and explain the science, awesome. can't wait to try pocket rockets :)

      • Maddie Ruud profile image

        Maddie Ruud 

        6 years ago from Oakland, CA

        Wow, what fun! I remember making a volcano with baking soda, but I wish I'd been able to try some of these. Oh well. Next time I'm in charge of some unsuspecting children...

      • rob_allen profile image

        rob_allen 

        6 years ago from MNL, PH

        This sound so cool. I would like to try the slime! BTW, the soda volcano is always a great science experiment that every kid should do.

      • livelonger profile image

        Jason Menayan 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

        I was a total geeky science loving child, and I admit I haven't changed much as an adult. These are all fantastic ideas that should captivate kids, and introduce them to the wonders of the natural world. Thank you for sharing them!

      • Virtual Treasures profile image

        Kacie Turner 

        6 years ago from Michigan

        Love this! My kids are always looking for fun goopy experiments to do!

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

        Our oldest goes to a great science class after school that she loves. Last month they dissected owl pellets and made skeletons from the remains that were found. So cool! She will definitely love these experiments. I'm going to have to go hunting for all of the ingredients! Thanks for the great directions and original pics on most of them!

      • Simone Smith profile image

        Simone Haruko Smith 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

        These sound like so much fun!! Of all these, I've only done the inflating balloon experiment. I would love to give all the other ones a go!

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        I think it is a bbc regionality thing with Jans videos. I am trying to find an equivalent online. Otherwise I will video myself doing it and upload it sometime over the next week! Watch this space :)

      • dipless profile image

        dipless 

        6 years ago from Manchester

        TFScientist, there are some great ideas here, especially like the hypercooling and never thought to do the density experiments with different coloured waters, great idea.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • Healthy Pursuits profile image

        Karla Iverson 

        6 years ago from Oregon

        Great ideas! Yan's videos aren't available in my area, though. Not sure why. Thanks for some entertaining rainy day ideas.

      • TFScientist profile imageAUTHOR

        Rhys Baker 

        6 years ago from Peterborough, UK

        If I have inspired just one person to get hands on with science then this hub has done its job! Thanks for the great comments, and if you haven't - TRY THE HYPERCOOLING. It is fantastic fun and is engrossing every time I do it - never gets old :)

        @arusho - that sounds like a great mini project - tasty too :)

        @FinanceHub - its great you have picked up some ideas - which are you going to try out?

        @Kris - I couldn't agree more - science is the future, and fun too

      • Kris Heeter profile image

        Kris Heeter 

        6 years ago from Indiana

        Great hands-on experiments! I loved doing these kinds of things when I was a kid - that's probably what got me interested in becoming a scientist:) It's never too early to get kids interested in science!

      • The Finance Hub profile image

        The Finance Hub 

        6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

        Awesome, looks like a lot of fun, can't wait to try a few things! Thanks! Hope you enjoy my hubs as well!

      • arusho profile image

        arusho 

        6 years ago from University Place, Wa.

        cool ideas. My daughter and I just planted seeds in an egg carton for pizza herbs. She is going to document the growth every day. Pretty fun ideas!

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