A Homeschool Science Experiment A Day

homeschool science experiments

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Science experiments are educational, sure, but they’re also so much fun for kids. And the great thing about them is that most of them are super easy to do, but take up lots of time! They’re the perfect time filler for any bored kid, and the perfect activity to amuse children that can’t leave the house.

There are obviously a million and one science experiments that you could do while you’re on lockdown, but I’ve put together some suggestions to keep you going through the Easter holidays. Most of them can be done with things you probably have lying around the house, and take little preparation. I’ve linked out to some videos that will support learning, and some resources you could use to expand on the activities, and I’ve added a section for question ideas to help you keep them thinking!

Teaching Science To Children At Home

Science at home should be fun. Children should aspire to be mad scientists, cooking up crazy experiments that give them answers, and more importantly, a whole tonne of questions. Leave the boring recording of information, making predictions and writing conclusions for when they’re at school and a little older.  

Use science lessons at home as a chance to get them exploring the world around them. Encourage questions, and let them find out the answers through the experiment. Make sure you ask questions too, so they can see it in action. For example, if you’re melting ice, ask out loud how it might be possible. Or question whether putting it in the palm of your hand will make it melt. You know the answers to these questions, but show them that curiosity is a good thing. They don’t have to just know, they need to question and find out.

“Curiosity is better than knowledge”

Albert Einstein

Help them to find things out in a practical way, so that they can really see the outcome. If necessary, take the experiment in a new direction, or add to it to serve their interests. What you had planned on them ‘learning’ isn’t always what they’ll end up learning and that’s completely fine. Try not to be too rigid, and follow their lead!

2 Weeks Of Science

test tubes for 2 weeks of science
2 weeks of science

#1 Make A Parachute

Making a parachute that works is so much harder than it should be! But the challenge is half the fun. There are so many different ways you can go about this, but try having something to protect (you can use raw eggs if you’re feeling brave, or hard boil them so only the shells break if you get it wrong!)  

Then you can decide what to focus on. You could have different materials to use – material with holes in, stiff material, floaty material, etc. You could provide materials of different sizes to see how larger surface areas affect the rate at which the object falls. Try to choose just one variable so they understand what has worked the best.  You could make several different parachutes to see which one works best.

Attach the four corners of the material to some string, and the end of the string to the container and drop from a height! Good luck!

making parachutes in a kids science experiment
Testing parachutes

You Will Need

An egg (boiled or raw), or just a lego man!

An egg container (the egg box it sits in would work well)

String

Different material (dishcloth, bin bag, netting, tissue paper, cardboard, etc)

Question Prompts

What do parachutes do? How do parachutes work? Will any forces act on the material? Will a bigger or smaller piece of material work best? What will happen if we make it from material with holes in it? Which will fall the fastest? Which way will it fall? Why will it fall? This powerpoint might help you explain.

#2 Experiment With Heating And Cooling

popping corn in a science experiment for kids
Get that corn popping!

Look at reversible and irreversible changes in a food-based experiment. Gather a few different types of food and discuss whether you think heating the item will cause a reversible or irreversible change. Try toasting bread, melting chocolate (let them do this in the palm of their hands and lick it off for the ultimate giggles!), popping corn or frying eggs. You can incorporate the experiments into cooking lessons, or just do it as a stand-alone activity.

You Will Need

Access to an oven/hob/microwave

Popcorn

Chocolate

Eggs

Bread

Any other food you can think of that changes when it’s heated or cooled! 

Question Prompts

Is it a liquid or a solid? Do you think it will change? What do you think will happen? Will it change shape? Will it taste different? Is it an irreversible change? What does it smell like? What does it feel like? What would happen if we kept heating it?

#3 Explore Space

exploring space for kids
Science without equipment

Children absolutely love learning about Space. There’s something really amazing about the thought of there being more to the universe than just our planet, and I have to admit that just teaching it got me excited about the night sky in a way I hadn’t thought about since I was a child. Isn’t the moon just incredible!?

With the invention of apps, star-gazing just got a whole lot easier, and now is the perfect time to give it a go. With less light pollution than ever, the stars will be even more visible. Download an app like star tracker and see what you can spot from your garden or front step.

There will be a whole load of questions that will arise from spending time looking into the sky, so you’ll have things to do for days after if you see fit. Kids love this Planet Rap that’s funny and informative, and there are some fascinating videos about life in a space rocket by the astronaut Chris Hadfield.

You Will Need

The great thing about this is that you don’t really need anything at all! There are a few bits of equipment that might add to the fun though, which I’ve listed below.

Telescope

Glow in the dark star map

Question Prompts

What are stars? How far away do you think they are? Do you think anyone lives in space? Which one is your favourite? How many stars are there? How can we see stars better? Who was the first person to go into space? How can we get into space?

#4 Watch Caterpillars Become Beautiful Butterflies

a pretty butterfly sitting on a flower
Watch butterflies grow!

This is a great thing to do, and not just for the kids. Having the chance to watch caterpillars become butterflies is just amazing! You’ll need to splash out a little on the proper kit, which comes complete with live caterpillars for you to watch become cocoons, and then eventually butterflies. It has detailed instructions about how to look after them, so you can’t really go wrong. Just be sure to let your butterflies fly free after a day or so!

Use this as an opportunity to look at life cycles (there are lots of resources on Twinkl), draw the butterflies and explore symmetry. There are so many learning opportunities provided by this activity.

If butterflies aren’t your thing then buy your child an ant farm instead (this one’s only £10 from Amazon) and watch the ants make tunnels underground. It’s amazing to see what they get up to! You could also get a worm world and compare the two bugs.

You Will Need

Ant farm 

Worm world 

Butterfly garden 

Question Prompts

How many legs do they have? Can you draw it? What do animals need to keep them alive? What do we need to stay alive? Where do they live? What jobs do they do?

#5 Build A Bug Hotel

a bug hotel on a tree in a kids garden
Build a bug hotel for the garden or balcony

If the bugs have captured your child’s imagination then why not build a bug hotel in the garden or on the balcony. It doesn’t need to be big, and you can use things you find lying around the garden like collections of stone, moss, twigs and leaves. If you have some old plant plots lying around then these are perfect to fill with interesting things for the bugs to make their homes.

If you aren’t feeling creative then you can just buy a pre-made one. Then just wait a few days before you go searching for those creepy crawlies! You could even encourage your child to dress up as an explorer and give them a bug hunting kit to make it all a little more exciting. 

You Will Need

Pre-made bug hotel

Bug hunting kit

Bits and bobs from the garden!

Question Prompts

#6 Make A Glitter Volcano

We all remember this awesome experiment from our childhood. There’s that super satisfying feeling of making something ‘explode’ that makes this a cool experiment to do during the lockdown. It’s a little messy, but some preparation goes a long way.

Grab a vase, or plastic bottle. You can get creative here and form it into some sort of volcano if you like. Wrap it in paper, decorate it, you can even make a real project of it and use papier-mache.  

Next, place 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom. Put the ‘volcano’ in a pan or baking tray (this will collect the mess!) Then add glitter and food colouring if you want to make it even more exciting when it explodes!

Pour in about half a cup of vinegar and watch it explode! You can repeat the experiment and add new things each time. Try soap, or washing up liquid and see what happens!

Younger children will understand that it’s the vinegar and baking soda mixed together that make the explosion, and older children will understand that it’s mixing the acid and alkaline that reacts.

If you want an easy life, then grab one of these volcano making kits complete with everything you need, and leave them to it!

You Will Need

Vase, jar or plastic bottle

Baking soda

Vinegar

Food colouring

Glitter

Pan to contain the mess

Question Prompts

#7 Make Ice Cream In A Bag

making ice-cream in a science experiment for kids
Don’t forget the ice cream cone!

I didn’t think this would work, but it does! Every day is a school day!

You’ll need a bit of equipment for this (see below) but it isn’t too complicated. Add the sugar, milk or cream and vanilla extract to a seal-able bag. Then half fill a large plastic bag with ice-cubes and salt. Put the small bag of milk etc into the large bag of ice-cubes and shake! You’ll need to shake it for a while, so wear over gloves or your hands will get really cold!

To make this a proper experiment you can make another batch, but don’t salt to the ice-cubes and see what happens.

You should have seen that the ice cubes in the large bag with salt melted much more, and felt much colder, than the ice cubes in the large bag without salt. Because it was cold enough (several degrees below freezing), the ice cube bag with salt should have been able to cool the ingredients enough to harden them and turn them into ice cream. The ice cube bag without salt wasn’t cold enough to do this and the ingredients will probably have remained fluid.

You Will Need

Seal-able plastic bags

Ice cubes

1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of cream or full fat milk

Tablespoon of sugar

Vanilla extract

Question Prompts

What do you think will happen? How cold do they both feel? What does it look like? What’s happening? Is it a liquid or a solid? How has the mixture changed? How has the ice changed? What’s different about the two mixtures?

#8 Grow Some Seeds

seedlings growing in plant pots
Watch them grow in this gardening science experiment

Discover how plants grow by sowing some seeds and watching them sprout. You could place the seeds in different places to see where they grow best. Try putting one in a dark room, one in sunlight, and try watering them or leaving them dry.

Children will learn about the things plants need to grow in a very real way. Runner beans work well for this experiment as they’re pretty hardy and they grow quite quickly. Plant them in a see through container if you want to see the roots as they grow too!

You Will Need

Seeds

Plant pots

Question Prompts

Which will grow best and why? How long will they take to grow? What do plants need to grow? What do we need? What do the roots do? What do the leaves do? What does the flower do?

#9 Discover Waterproof Materials

Create a scenario – teddy needs an umbrella, the dragon needs a shield – whatever you like, and get about testing some materials they could use! Grab some household materials and test if they’re waterproof by running water over them. If the water runs off then they’re waterproof and don’t absorb the liquid, and if it soaks through then the material isn’t waterproof.

Just watch out for children thinking it’s running through the material when it’s just running off it and down the side. You can try wiping the water off with a cloth and seeing if it’s dry. If you can do this outside there’ll be less mess to clear up, but over the sink should work well too.

You Will Need

Different household materials – glass jar, plastic bottle, dish cloth, paper, teddy, tissue etc.

Bucket or sink

Question Prompts

Can you describe the material? Which do you think will be waterproof? Which will absorb water? What are the properties of the material? Why is it good at it’s job? What would happen if it wasn’t/was water proof?

#10 Take A Taste Test

oranges, grapefruits and lemons in a taste test science experiment
Sweet or sour?

Explore your sense of taste with a taste experiment. Get a range of different foods (make sure there’s a mixture of sweet, sour and salty) and blindfold your child. Then feed them the foods to see if they can work out what it is!  

To further the experiment, see if they can work out which part of their tongue is tasting each food. This video helps explain all about taste buds, and the different parts of the tongue.

You Will Need

Different, strong tasting food like honey, lemon juice, mint sauce, pickle, chocolate, fruit slices, tomato sauce, soy sauce etc

Question Prompts

Describe what it tastes like? Is it sweet or sour? Is it salty or spicy? How does it feel on your tongue? Which part of your tongue can taste it? Do you like it? Why/why not?

#11 Make A Lava Lamp

a lava lamp making science experiment
Ok, it might not look quite this good

Because oil and water have different densities, when you mix them together the water sinks to the bottom. 

Grab a jar or see-through container. Mix some water and food colouring together at the bottom of the jar and then fill the rest with oil. The coloured water should be at the bottom of the jar.

Next, crumble in an Alka Seltzer tablet. When this reacts with the water at the bottom of the jar it produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles. These stick to the water droplets and makes them rise to the top of the jar. At the top, the gas bubbles pop and escape into the air, allowing the dense water to sink back to the bottom again. So you should have your very own lava lamp powered by Alka seltzer!

You can stick a torch behind it and turn off the lights for an even more realistic effect!

You Will Need

See-through container

Oil

Food Colouring

Alka Seltzer

Torch

Question Prompts

Why do you think the oil floats? Do you think water or oil is heavier? Why? What’s going to happen to the water when we add the food colouring? Do you think we could seperate the oil now it’s mixed with the water? What will happen when we add the Alka Seltzer?

#12 Grow Mould

I know, this one is a bit grim really. But it’s also fascinating for kids, and a good lesson for them to learn! Take some slices of bread and place in different places to demonstrate the conditions that mould will grow in most effectively.

You can place some bread in a plastic bag in the sunshine, some in a bag in the dark, some in the fridge, some in the open air and leave it for a few days to see which gets mouldy first!

You Will Need

Bread

Plastic bags

Question Prompts

What is mould? Why does food go mouldy? Can we eat mouldy food? Where will mould grow the fastest? How can we stop mould from growing?

#13 Create Colourful Flowers

daffodils being used for a science experiment for kids
Watch where the water goes

Cut some daffodils, or grab a bunch of pale coloured flowers from the garage and place them in a vase of water mixed with food colouring. Children can watch them soak up the dye and begin to turn a different colour. This experiment shows them how flowers need water to survive, and it can lead on to teaching them all about the parts of the flower too!

You Will Need

Light coloured flowers (daffodils work great!)

A vase or cup

Food colouring

Question Prompts

What will happen to the water that the flowers are in? Where will the water go? What happens to flowers that don’t have water? How do you think plants use water?

#14 Make Butter

making butter for kids in a science experiment
Get the toast ready

Get some heavy cream and plonk it in a jar, with a clean marble (lid on!) Make sure it’s a smallish jar if possible, as they’ll have to grip it for a while. Then get your child to shake it until it turns to butter. A small amount of cream should take about 10 minutes, put in more if you want to keep them occupied for longer! This does take a while, but will definitely keep them busy! They can roll it to each other if they get tired.  

It will start to thicken, but keep shaking until you have a solid mass that has separated from the buttermilk. Then you can drain off the buttermilk and try out your newly made butter!

You Will Need

Thick cream

Jar with lid

A marble

Question Prompts

What is happening? What does the cream look like? Is it a solid or a liquid? Is butter a solid or a liquid? What has happened to the cream? What does it smell like? What does it taste like?

More Homeschool Science Ideas And Kits

Hopefully you’re now bursting with ideas for easy science experiments to do at home! The great thing about science for kids is that so much is still a mystery to them, and it’s easy to help them learn with simple experiments that show them more about how the world works. If you want some more ideas for homeschool science experiments then check out the resources below, and use this time stuck inside to encourage your kids to explore, question and experiment to their hearts content!

Further Reading

keeping kids busy while you work
child anxiety
how to homeschool different year groups

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