10 Easy At-Home Science Experiments for Kids
Kids are born researchers. (Yours have probably asked "why?" 14 times already today!) Entertain them and illustrate basic scientific concepts with these easy experiments designed by San Francisco’s Exploratorium learning museum. All you need are a few common household items—not a Ph.D., we promise.
The Science Lesson: How Your Skin Protects You Against Infection
So why exactly are we washing our hands so much? Our skin protects us from dangerous viruses, the COVID-19 virus included, so frequent hand-washing is important to stay healthy. In this experiment from Exploratorium's COVID-19 series, you'll poke holes in a tomato, then watch it for a week to see how bacteria and mold grow. The tomato will rapidly deteriorate for a dramatic lesson in just how helpful our skin is for protecting us. Best for kids ages 6-10 with parental supervision, and 11 and up independently.
Colors of the Sky
The Science Lesson: Why Is the Sky Blue While Sunsets Are Orange?
Sunlight is white light composed of a rainbow of colors which have different wavelengths. Blue light has a much shorter wavelength and scatters much more than red light. For this easy at-home science experiment, a transparent plastic box, water, and sunglasses help you see why the sun overhead makes you see blue sky, while the sun sitting on the horizon makes you see reddish-orange. Best for kids ages 10 and up.
Sense of Taste
The Science Lesson: Discover How Taste and Smell Are Linked
Researches say around 80 percent of what we think as “taste” is actually “smell”—this is why food seems so flavorless if we have a cold! For this experiment, taste a mix of different flavored hard candies while holding your nose, then try to figure out the flavor. It'll be tough, but as the candies dissolve, it’ll get easier because scent molecules travel from the back of the throat to the nose. Best for kids ages 8 and up.
The Science Lesson: How to Save Energy When Cooking
Can you cook pasta without boiling water? This ingenious energy-saving experiment is part of a series on the vital role of water in cooking, which explains how water molecules move faster with heat, how popcorn pops, how brining turkey keeps it moist, and why frozen fruits often turn mushy after freezing. Best for kids ages 12 and up; kids younger need assistance.
The Science Lesson: Eggsplore the Properties of Gases
Cooking is chemistry. With this easy science experiment to do at home, learn how eggs are easiest to peel after plunging them into ice water after boiling, but much harder to peel if left in hot water (and why). Gas in the air sac between the membranes next to the eggshell expands when heated, but fast-cooling rapidly decreases the gas volume, making it easy to separate egg from shell. Best for kids ages 12 and up; kids younger need assistance.
The Science Lesson: How Your Brain Can See Things Differently
This easy at-home science experiment uses drinking straws and pipe cleaners to create a cube that you can see in two different ways—one being a real optical illusion! Sometimes our brain interprets the same visual cues in multiple ways. Closing one eye alters our depth perception. Best for kids ages 10 and up.
The Science Lesson: Learn How Cell Membranes Work
For this experiment, place uncooked, de-shelled eggs in a variety of liquids—like saltwater, distilled water, and corn syrup—to see how their shape, color and mass change over time. The egg represents a human cell, which allows some substances in (like oxygen and nutrients), but blocks others and permits waste to exit through its cell membrane. Best for kids ages 10-12 with parental supervision.
The Science Lesson: Watch a Baby Plant Grow
Seeds, a plastic container, and an old CD case are all you need for this easy at-home science experiment that demonstrates the miracle of life. The embryo of a plant is inside a seed, and water is absorbed through a tiny hole in its seed coat. Over time, watch roots and shoots with green tips sprout. Best for kids ages 12 and up; younger kids will need assembly assistance.
The Science Experiment: Learn How Heat Is Conducted
Surprise: metal, wood, Styrofoam, and other materials may feel cold or warm to the touch, despite being at the same temperature. This experiment shows that metal feels cool because it’s a good conductor of heat, meaning it draws heat fast from your hand, while Styrofoam is a poor conductor of heat. Best for kids ages 8 and up.
The Sciences Lesson: Learn How Natural Selection Works
In this clever experiment using dry beans and different utensils, teams compete against the clock to scoop up as many beans as possible. Watch “survival of the fittest” play out as teams with more efficient tools grow larger, while teams with less efficient tools dwindle (or even become extinct). That's because teams who grab the most “prey” gain a member, while teams who grab the least lose a member, at the end of each group. Best for kids ages 12 and up.