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
- 2 Plastic cups
- 2 Plastic Spoons
- Food colouring - pick your favourite colour
- Borax Powder (usually found next to laundry detergent)
- PVA Glue
What to do:
- Mix a tablespoon of borax into around 75ml of water in the first cup. Stir until it dissolves (this may take a while)
- Mix a tablespoon of PVA glue with two tablespoons of water. Add some drops of food colouring. Stir well until well mixed.
- Add one tablespoon of the borax solution to the glue mixture. Stir well and see the mixture turn to slime.
- Leave the slime for 30seconds and then pick it up!
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:
- A large bottle of diet coke
- A pack of mentoes
- Fast hands
- 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
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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:
- A metal bucket
- 1kg of table salt
- 6x 500ml bottled water
- Two bags of crushed ice and Water
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:
- A ye olde photo film cannister (most camera shops still have plenty to give away for free)
- Alka-seltzer tablet
- Small piece of blu-tak
- 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!
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:
- 5 glasses
- Different coloured food colouring
- 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:
- Parental Supervision
- Sodium Acetate (easily available online)
- Pyrex dish
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:
- A used washed fizzy drinks bottle (lid not required)
- Latex balloon (thinner the better)
- Elastic band
- Measuring Jug
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.
dymond on June 30, 2020:
this is cool thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UwU on May 13, 2020:
oVo on April 07, 2020:
It's not that good. Because of the whole quarantine thing, I cant use the yeast because it's so wasteful. Most of these experiments are wasteful.
Bob on April 07, 2020:
Fun and i hated that the colors in the rainbow mixed.
DJ ASHLYN on March 29, 2020:
no all of this stuff is good or has eggs
eeeey on March 08, 2020:
thats so cool
ruby on February 06, 2020:
this is so COOL!
Gowthami on January 05, 2020:
Please send any degree related experiments
mithun on November 01, 2019:
I like the pocket rocket idea I will have to do that one day and also Hypercooling
person on October 31, 2019:
I like the pocket rocket idea I will have to do that one day
Ann on October 22, 2019:
These are nice experiments but are rather not fit for school projects or exhibition. These are good experiments to do at home.
Debra on October 15, 2019:
The rainbow in a glass is interesting but needs lot of patience and attention to get the best result even though looks complex,but it amazing and superb.
Alice on July 31, 2019:
But what is the point of these experiments? We're not collecting results or finding something?
Vivek singh on June 23, 2019:
Asif baig on June 14, 2019:
It's really intresting and fascinating
But somethings are difficult like water rainbow
But it is also intresting
No one on May 22, 2019:
Saloni on May 21, 2019:
Very interesting experiment
Godsfavour on May 18, 2019:
do u have any group I want more
Anonymous on May 09, 2019:
random dude on May 01, 2019:
i need some cooler experaments
Person on February 18, 2019:
Are these for kids
ezekiel on January 24, 2019:
ya boi on January 17, 2019:
im going to try the balloon
Angel on January 03, 2019:
Prinxyl on December 25, 2018:
These is one of the good websites to see some interesting things
Bobby on December 10, 2018:
let's go this actually works thanks for the tips.
Gayathri on November 30, 2018:
It is good for programs like exhibition day and it helped me for grand science exhibition day in my school
Isaiah on November 28, 2018:
Physics Magic is complicated but very helpful and fun.
riddhi on November 10, 2018:
Ice roll track experience idea
Riya rày on October 21, 2018:
Qamar on October 10, 2018:
Ishu on July 27, 2018:
Tayla on July 26, 2018:
Hi my name is Tayla this is the best I will try Thease at home
Leni on July 26, 2018:
The slime lasted for a week for me
Aastha on July 15, 2018:
Thanks for sharing your knowledge
Rahul roy on July 13, 2018:
Nice thought of science
Krish vora on June 25, 2018:
Very nice website
lakshmi narayan sandal on June 21, 2018:
Very nice and excellent thinking that moderate the students
anu on June 13, 2018:
Raaga on June 13, 2018:
I liked it so much
Agnes on June 03, 2018:
I feel like doing everything at once.
Raviraj on May 17, 2018:
John on April 17, 2018:
great for class thanks
godesha on April 15, 2018:
this is awesome
Chandu on February 22, 2018:
Rose Glitter on January 20, 2018:
Actually it is a very excellent thing which radiates the knowledge.
Sushma on January 19, 2018:
farha on January 15, 2018:
Bella on December 14, 2017:
it is cool
Sandeep kashyap on November 17, 2017:
Ajit kharel on November 06, 2017:
It's just cool buddy
Alok on September 26, 2017:
Achchhelal chauhan on September 25, 2017:
surya on July 21, 2017:
Its good for school expriments thank a lot
amarbhovad on July 18, 2017:
Asad Abbas khan on July 06, 2017:
That's very helpful site for helping me out in my assignments.
Muskan on June 22, 2017:
I like it so much.
Akshatha on April 15, 2017:
How long does it take for the balloon to get inflated in the self inflating balloon experiment?
mohammad nayeem on January 22, 2017:
very nice ideas
Kartik... on January 08, 2017:
Awesome ideas...used em for my school activities
yanna on November 18, 2015:
i think its really good
divya on October 11, 2015:
experiments are well and good
injila scientist on September 02, 2015:
angel aana on July 07, 2015:
Anitha Vallabhaneni on January 11, 2015:
alishba on September 15, 2014:
I like this expriment and i will try at home
Aaron Sparks on July 02, 2014:
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)
riya student on January 09, 2014:
some new experiment for my science exhibition
anglina on November 27, 2013:
good experimnts but make other also that we can see .............. cool experiments these are
keep it up :-)
sprickita from Reno on November 17, 2013:
D all of the above.... (4 which cool trick2try) kinda mean only letting us pick one... Just kidding THANK YOU happy hubbing..
sundas on March 02, 2013:
I like this and keep it up
Amanda Littlejohn on March 01, 2013:
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.
nikitha on February 23, 2013:
all experiments are good
Muhammad Zeeshan from Karachi, Pakistan on February 14, 2013:
ive tried some of them and they may not sound cool first but they are fun once you really get into them.
Rumana from Sharjah, UAE on February 14, 2013:
Wow, these are very interesting and funny things to do!! I specially like the rainbow in a water glass. Great hub!!
Chen on February 14, 2013:
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 from Pearl of the Orient on February 13, 2013:
Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 12, 2013:
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 from North Carolina on February 06, 2013:
I am going to try the rainbow in a glass with my son. Loved this hub.
Frangipanni on February 06, 2013:
Great hubs. With kids in school your hubs are such help. I see you are one hub of the 100! Good luck!
siddhi shah on February 02, 2013:
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 from North Carolina on January 23, 2013:
I LOVE this! Thank you! I love doing science experiments with my kids!
Riya Chaudhari. on January 18, 2013:
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
Anil padhee on November 27, 2012:
great project of science
H Lax on November 20, 2012:
I love science projects. I'm going to have a lot of fun trying some of these out. Thanks for sharing.
LopezUnleashed on November 07, 2012:
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.
India Arnold from Northern, California on October 05, 2012:
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!
liza on October 03, 2012:
nice and very interesting ideas .these experimets students can enjoy .go onn
Lena Welch from USA on September 18, 2012: