Calling all Sid the Science Kids and Miss Frizzle fans: It’s Science Fair project season! From testing microwave popcorn varieties to determining the best way to shine a coin, there’s not a shortage of ideas for your little scientists to start learning. We’ve gathered up ten project ideas that are simple and can easily be done at home with simple household supplies.
photo: Must Have Mom!
1. Microwave Popcorn Test — This project is a great experiment if your family is a fan of microwave popcorn. Head to the store and buy a three to five boxes of microwave popcorn from different brands and then find out which one pops the best. Add some variety to the experiment by testing butter vs. plain, or organic vs. regular. More info.
2. Force and Motion With Race Cars — If your kiddo has Hot Wheel cars sitting around, this experiment is an easy way to test force and motion. Make three stacks of books, each stack a different height. Then place a piece of cardboard to create a ramp. At the same time, release a Hot Wheel car on the ramps and see which one wins. Kiddos can determine if the slope of the tracks affect the speed of the cars. More info.
3. What is the Most Common M&M Color? — Are yellows the dominant color in the M&M bag? Why does it seem like there are so few green pieces? This project is an easy experiment for even the youngest of kids. Buy a few packages of M&Ms, and then have kids sort the colors and count them. Then they can create a chart to track each color. More info.
photo: Tinker Labs
4. How Do Gummy Bears Grow? — This simple experiment has three ingredients: water, gummy bears and a bowl. Simply add a gummy bear to water. Wait a few hours and compare it to another bear that hasn’t been sitting in water. Is it bigger or smaller? For some variety, try soaking the bears in vinegar and other liquids to see what happens. More info.
5. What’s the Best Way to Clean a Penny? — Grab a handful of pennies (or other coins if you have them) sitting around and see which cleaning solution make them shine the best. Kids can use liquids such as baking soda with water, orange juice, toothpaste, lemon juice and dish soap. Use a toothbrush (not yours!) to clean each penny with the different solution, and then little scientists can write down what each coin looked like before and after the cleaning. More info.
6. Create Fireworks in a Jar — Find out what happens when you do a simple experiment with water, food coloring and vegetable oil. Find a jar or vase that’s clear and fill it to the top with water. Then combine 2 Tbsp. of oil with a few drops of food coloring in a separate bowl, stirring to combine. Finally, pour the color oil mixture into the water and see what happens. Try using different colors and see what difference it makes. What’s great about this experiment is it’s easy to do with supplies you likely have at home. More info.
photo: Tinker Lab
7. Celery Science Experiment — This easy test helps your kids see if different food coloring will change the color of celery and its leaves. Here’s what you need: celery with leafy tops, clear glasses, water and food coloring. Poor water into each glass, add a few drops of food coloring, and place the celery stalks in the glass. Let some time elapse and see if the celery changes color. Do the leaves change? What about if you cut the stem in half? More info.
8. Do All Liquids Evaporate at the Same Rate? Kiddos can learn about how evaporation works (liquid turing to gas) and see if all liquids evaporate at the same rate. Have your young scientist find three small glasses and then add one liquid to one jar. Easy ones to test are water, orange juice and rubbing alcohol (such nail polish remover). Kids should note each day where the liquid is and whether it’s disappeared. Did water evaporate before the alcohol? More info.
photo: Teach Beside Me
9. Apple Science Experiment — Most kids love apples, but so many of them won’t touch the fruit once it’s turned brown. So how about an experiment that keeps apples from turning brown? Slice the apple in multiple pieces and then soak the slices into the substances. You can use things like milk, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, or whatever your kiddo thinks may work. Don’t forget to leave one slice alone so you have a control piece. Which substance keeps apples from getting brown? More info.
10. What’s the Fastest Way to Cool a Can of Soda? — Sometimes there’s nothing better on a hot day than a cold drink. But what happens if it hasn’t been chilling in the refrigerator? This experiment helps kids test the quickest way to cool a can. To do this, kiddos will take cans of soda and test them one in the freezer, one wrapped in a wet paper towel and then placed in the freezer, and the third on chills in a salted ice-water bath. Which one is ready to drink fastest? More info.
What science projects have your kiddos conducted? Any experiments that are a must-do?
— Leah R. Singer