Five at home chemistry experiments

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Trying to repress boredom in your kids while also discouraging a lot of screen time means that parents need to get creative. A great way to keep their minds active is to offer fun, budget-friendly chemistry experiments. Present these as fun activities rather than “lessons,” so kids don’t think they’re getting more schoolwork added outside of school. Introducing these science experiments could spark an interest in science they didn’t even realize they had.

Rain Clouds

On a rainy day, a fun experiment to try is the rain cloud experiment. This experiment shows how and why rain falls from the clouds. It is a super simple yet fun way to get your kids interested in storms and possibly even take any fear of storms they might have away. The materials you will need include a glass of water, a separate glass or jar, foam shaving cream, plastic pipettes, and food coloring.

First, fill your glass with some water and put several drops of food coloring in with the water. You do not have to only use blue food coloring; it would make the experiment even more fun and silly to use “unnatural” rain colors too! You can even do several glasses and have different colors in each glass.

Next, fill your empty glass about three quarters of the way with cool water and spray some of your foam shaving cream on the top. Now ask your child to extract some of the colored water using the pipette and gently squeeze it on top of your shaving cream cloud. As you put more water onto the cloud, it will become heavier.

After one or two minutes, your first few drops of colored rain will fall through the cloud and into the water underneath making “rain!”

While this is occurring, you can explain that clouds are formed when water vapor rises into the air and condenses. As this continues, clouds form. The water droplets forming the cloud eventually draw even more water to themselves making the cloud heavier.

When the cloud becomes too heavy, gravity pulls the water down again making raindrops. This experiment allows your kids a hands-on way to learn more about what happens each time it rains, and every time they have to come inside because of rain, they may want to do the experiment again! For more details, you can visit https://thestemlaboratory.com/rain-cloud-jar/.

Dirty Pennies

For this experiment, you and your child will get to watch mucky pennies become once again shiny! The chemical reactions you create together will show why some pennies are clean and others are so dull. The materials needed for this project are dull pennies, salt, vinegar, small cups, and paper towels.

First, you will create a solution of salt and vinegar using a teaspoon of salt and one quarter cup of slightly warmed vinegar.

Mix the two together until the salt dissolves. Next, add your dirty pennies to the solution. After five minutes, remove your pennies and dry them with a paper towel. Once dried, the pennies will gleam and glisten! You can repeat the experiment using the same pennies to see if you can get them even more polished.

One way to vary the experiment is to use lemon juice or other acidic materials with salt. Allow your little learner to test other ways to conduct the experiment and marvel at the results of his or her work! For more details on this project, you can visit https://raisinglifelonglearners.com/cleaning-pennies-science-experiment/.

Salt Crystals

This experiment will need more adult supervision and patience, but when executed correctly, it will leave your child (and probably you) in awe of science. You will need Epsom salt, small glass containers, mixing bowl, fork, a little pebble or some sand, hot water, and food coloring.

First, measure out one cup of Epsom salt and one cup of water.

Heat your water in a microwave safe container for forty-five seconds (anything more will be too hot for the experiment).

Next, add a couple drops of food coloring to your warmed water and stir.

Then, have your child carefully pour the water into a jar with your premeasured salt. Stir until the salt dissolves into the water; if the salt does not completely dissolve, it is okay to leave it.

Next, drop in your pebble or your sand so that your crystals can attach themselves to it. For your next step, place your jar in the refrigerator, or if you want to quickly cool, place it in the freezer for ten minutes prior to putting it in the fridge.

The hardest part of this experiment is leaving your creation in the refrigerator to grow overnight.

The next morning, allow your little learner to remove the jar from the fridge and gently pour out extra liquid.

Finally, use a dampened paper towel to wipe away extra salt and color that might be on the upper portion of the jar. By now, you and your child should be able to marvel at your new, intricate crystals! For more details and ways to vary this experiment, visit https://babbledabbledo.com/science-for-kids-crystal-garden/.

Balloon Inflation

Balloons are colorful objects that quickly brighten the mood of any room they are in. Through this experiment, you and your little scientist will learn about air pressure through a chemical reaction.

To do this, you will need an empty water bottle, a medium sized balloon, a funnel, baking soda, and vinegar.

First, fill your empty water bottle one-third of the way with vinegar. After that, put a funnel into the balloon and ask your child to pour enough baking soda in so that the balloon is filled about halfway.

Next, take the funnel out of the balloon and slip the balloon over the bottle without allowing any baking soda to fall in. Be sure that the balloon is securely on the bottle, and then assist your child in lifting the balloon slowly over the bottle.
As the baking soda pours into the bottle, hold on to the balloon’s neck firmly. Watch together as the vinegar interacts with the baking soda and makes the balloon inflate!
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While this happens, explain that the vinegar and baking soda are working together to create a gas that then fills the balloon. Maybe at your child’s next party, they will be willing to blow up balloons at home using this experiment! For further details, you can visit https://www.familyeducation.com/fun/indoor-activities/science-experiments-kids-bottle-balloon-blow.

Ice, Salt, & Temperature

This final experiment simply demonstrates how ice and salt have an effect on temperature. For it you will need two drinking glasses, water, ice cubes, salt, and a thermometer.

First, add a half cup of water into each glass and record the temperature of both.

Next, have your child add only a couple of ice cubes to one glass of water and enough in the other glass that it fills the water with ice. Stir each glass and then allow them to sit for five minutes.

Once that time has passed, record the temperature of each glass again.

Then, record the temperature every two minutes.

Ask your child when he or she sees the temperature staying consistent.

Once you have recorded the same temperature twice, move on to the next step.

Next, take the glass with more ice and have your helper add a tablespoon of salt to the water and stir. Record the temperature again and ask if the salt had an instantaneous effect on the water’s temperature.

Again, check the temperature of the water every two minutes until it remains consistent.

By the end of the experiment, the difference in the two glasses’ temperature[2]  should be obvious. Ask your child how much or little they noticed the salt affected the glass with more ice.

Did they notice the ice in the first glass melting away? For more on this experiment, visit https://www.123homeschool4me.com/ice-salt-temperature-science-for-kids_28/.

Sometimes the weather may not permit outdoor activities, and there are only so many day-camps a child can handle. With these experiments, you get the opportunity to spend time with your child and watch them make new discoveries. Seeing them learn more about the way the world functions makes for an exciting time for the both of you!


Even better- do it twice, once without the balloon and once with it- weighing both systems and thinking about conservation of matter!

And then even use this to make ice cream at home!

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