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20 Awesome DIY Science Projects to Do With Your Kids

20 Awesome DIY Science Projects to Do With Your Kids

Before the advent of the uber-popular show Mythbusters or the push for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in schools, parents and their kids were doing at-home science experiments. Now, the trend continues to blossom, although many of the experiments have remained somewhat the same…and always awesomely exciting!

If you’re a parent and you want to do something with your kid that isn’t related to cleaning the toilets or forging through homework, check out these 20 great science projects that you can complete in the confines of your humble abode. Most of them use around-the-home items that you probably have on hand, although some will require a little bit of shopping ahead of time. To help you decide which are best for your children’s needs, the 20 have been divided into projects for younger students and projects for older ones.

11 Cool Science Projects for the Younger Set

1. Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

bleach science experiment

    Want to visually explain how bleach works? This is as easy as it gets!

    What you’ll need for this project:

    • Two clear plastic cups
    • Food coloring (red is great to use)
    • Bleach
    • Water

    Directions:

    1. Fill one plastic cup three-quarters of the way with water
    2. Add several drops of food coloring to the water and mix it up until it is red/pink
    3. Fill the other plastic cup one-quarter of the way with bleach
    4. Slowly add the bleach to the water mixture
    5. Watch as the bleach expands the molecules of dye attached to the water molecules, thereby making the water look clear again

    WARNING: Do not under any circumstances drink the bleached water!

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    2: Buoyancy “Magic”

    science experiment

      For this project, you’ll need only a ketchup packet and a one- or two-liter plastic bottle filled about three-quarters of the way to the top with water. Pop the ketchup packet into the bottle, and then squeeze the bottle to see if you can make the packet move up or down. Try different packets, such as those of mustard or soy sauce. Do they move the same way as the ketchup packet did?

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      3. Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

      weather science experiment

        Make it rain inside your house.

        You’ll need:

        • A plate
        • A glass mason jar
        • Ice cubes (about one or two cups)
        • Very hot water

        Place the hot water into the glass jar, about a third of the way up. Put the plate on top of the jar. Place all the ice cubes carefully on the plate. Watch the inside of the jar start to exhibit rain!

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        4. Sunscreen Importance 101

        sunscreen science experiment

          Do your kids whine about wearing sunscreen? Show them the value of it with some sunscreen and black construction paper. Put a dab of sunscreen onto the paper and then smear it around. Place the black construction paper into direction sunlight for a few hours. Notice how the construction paper fades where the sunscreen wasn’t applied.

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          5. What Color is Your Celery?

          science experiment

            Little kids love to see how foods can be used for the purpose of science. In this experiment, they’ll play with celery and food coloring.

            You’ll just need some celery stalks, water, clear glasses and several shades of food coloring. Fill each glass halfway with water and then add some food dye to each glass. Cut the celery stalks so the leafy part is at the top. Place the other end directly into the glass. Over several hours, the colored water will begin to move up into the stalk. After a period of time, the kids will see how the porous celery has absorbed the colored water.

            NOTE: Some children are allergic to certain food dyes, so it’s best not to eat this experiment as a snack!

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            6. Make Your Own Jellyfish

            science experiment

              This experiment is mostly for pleasure, but kids really do love the results.

              You’ll only need a one- or two-liter clear bottle (cleaned), a clear plastic grocery bag, dyed water (blue is nice), scissors and a white string. First, fill the bottle halfway with the dyed water. Then, lay out your plastic grocery bag. Start cutting it into small strips (you may need to do some trial runs with this.) Tie the strips together to form a jellyfish-like shape.

              Now, push the plastic “jellyfish” into the dyed water. Gently add more dyed water on top of it, leaving at least two or three inches of air at the top of the bottle. Tightly secure the top to the bottle, and then allow your children to play with the “jellyfish in a bottle”.

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              7. Magnetic Magic

              magnetic science experiment

                Want to show a little one the power of magnets? Get an empty, clear two-liter soda bottle. Fill it with half-inch long pipe cleaner bits. (You can just cut them to this size.) There should be about 3-4 inches worth at the bottom of the soda bottle when you’re finished.

                Now, let your child use a larger magnet to run along the side of the soda bottle. The metal-based pipe cleaners will be attracted to the magnets.

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                8. Will It Dissolve?

                preschool science experiment

                  This is another fast experiment that doesn’t take much time to set up, but can provide a lot of fun discussions. You’ll just need a clear bowl filled with water, and several other bowls each filled with a variety of items: salt, sugar, baking soda, rice, tea, coffee, spices. Allow your child to put one ingredient into the bowl of water. Then, see if it dissolves. Continue with the experiment, removing the old water and re-filling the bowl each time.

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                  9. How Does an Elephant Brush His Teeth?

                  toothpaste science experiments

                    Have you ever wondered what elephant toothpaste might look like? Tell your kids that you’re going to make some together.

                    What you’ll need for this project:

                    • A two-liter soda bottle, cleaned
                    • Hydrogen peroxide solution (at least 6% or greater)
                    • Dishwashing soap (liquid)
                    • Warm water
                    • One yeast packet
                    • Food coloring
                    • A cooking pan (such as for a roast)

                    Directions:

                    1. Place the soda bottle upright in the middle of the cooking pan
                    2. Fill the bottle with a half cup of hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of the food coloring, and a few drops of the dishwashing soap
                    3. In another bowl, mix together two tablespoons of the warm water and the yeast, allowing the yeast to dissolve
                    4. Allow your child to SLOWLY pour the yeast mixture into the soda bottle mixture and watch the elephant toothpaste come to life

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                    10. The Twisted Candy Cane

                    science experiment for Christmas

                      Have too many candy canes after the holidays? Don’t pitch them or force yourself to eat them – turn them into science projects instead!

                      For this experiment, you’ll need several candy canes (any flavors or sizes should do), a baking sheet, an oven and some aluminum foil. Carefully unwrap the candy canes and place them onto pieces of aluminum foil that are shaped like they are. Put the aluminum foil and candy canes onto the baking sheet.

                      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven is hot, pop the baking sheet into the oven. After two or three minutes, check on the candy canes. Don’t allow them to melt; they should just be malleable, not drippy! Test them with tongs, not your fingers. When they seem bendable, take them out of the oven and wait a minute so they won’t burn your hands. At the point that they can be safely touched, allow your children to twist them into shapes. Make pretzels and circles and curlicues!

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                      11. Make Giant Gummies

                      science experiment with candy

                        Who doesn’t love a gummy bear? It’s even better when you see your favorite gummy treat expand to twice its size… or greater. Simply drop a gummy into a clean mason jar filled with water and wait. The porous gummy will absorb the liquid and expand.

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                        9 Amazing Science Experiments for Older Kids and Teens

                        1. It’s Conductive!

                        science experiment

                          This experiment tests the electrical conductivity of several water-based liquids. It’s fascinating to see which conduct electricity and which don’t.

                          What you’ll need for this project:

                          • One conductivity board (you can make your own or buy one online)
                          • A glass bowl
                          • Water
                          • Different water-soluble liquids and solids (bleach, laundry detergents, food coloring, glycerine, salt, sugar, baking soda)

                          Directions:

                          1. Hook up the conductivity board
                          2. Pour water into the glass bowl
                          3. Test the conductivity of the water alone
                          4. Add one of the water-soluble liquids or solids to the water and then retest, making note of any differences or similarities

                          NOTE: This makes a fun classroom experiment for homeschoolers.

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                          2. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Hovercraft!

                          science experiments for kids

                            Create a simple hovercraft that’s cool to operate using only a CD (make sure it’s one you don’t want to use again), a push-up top from a water bottle (cleaned), a balloon (round is best) and some superglue.

                            Directions:

                            1. Superglue the push-up top to the middle of the CD
                            2. After the glue is dry, blow up the balloon
                            3. Affix the balloon over the push-up top
                            4. Place the CD onto a non-carpeted, bare floor and watch as the CD hovers from the escaping balloon air

                            Source

                            3. How Egg-cellent!

                            science experiments with eggs

                              Did you ever want to walk on eggs, just to see what would happen? This project is hilarious, and great for groups of kids. While it’s fine for the younger set, it’s probably more impactful for older children.

                              You’ll need plenty of egg cartons filled with large eggs to create an eggy “walkway”, so if you’re doing this as a group, ask for donations. Lay down a layer of plastic garbage bags under the cartons of eggs, and line the cartons up lengthwise two cartons deep. Two-by-two, you can create long walkways.

                              Have all the kids remove their shoes and socks, and then line them up. Two kids can assist the child who is walking on the eggs. He or she should be asked to keep his or her foot as flat as possible to make this work. The assistants should help by alleviating some of the weight. Ideally, the child should be able to walk across all the eggs without breaking any.

                              NOTE: Be prepared for some eggs to break during the project. This means you’ll need some way to wash off goopy feet!

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                              4. DIY Tornado

                              tornado science experiment

                                You can easily show how a tornado works with a mason jar, water and dishwashing detergent. Simply fill the mason jar about three-quarters of the way full with water, and add a few drops of the dishwashing detergent. Secure the top on the jar, and then shake it hard. Place the jar on a table, and a funnel should appear. Voila! Instant tornado!

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                                5. Oobleck Fun

                                coolest science project

                                  If you’ve never heard of Oobleck, it’s a creation of two cups of cornstarch mixed with one cup of water. When you play with it, it’s like a solid. When you allow it to rest, it becomes a liquid. Have fun trying some different ways of making it turn from a solid to a liquid and back again. This can make a really intriguing science fair project.

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                                  6. Help a Plant See the Light

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                                  plant science

                                    Plants will always try to seek the sunlight, and you can show how this happens by making a maze out of shoebox, and then adding an everyday bean plant to the bottom of the maze. As the plant stretches and grows, it will twist and turn throughout the maze in order to reach the sun.

                                    NOTE: This experiment takes place over several weeks. Again, it’s great for a science fair project or classroom experiment because of its length.

                                    Source

                                    7. Eeek! That Egg Is Naked!

                                    science experiments with eggs

                                      When most eggs are without their shells, they certainly can’t be easily handled. But what would happen if you allowed an uncooked egg to sit in a glass filled with vinegar for about a day? Try it and carefully remove the shell, which will already been partially removed from the acidic solution. The egg should feel rubbery. See if it will splatter when you drop it from a height of a few inches.

                                      Source

                                      8. Make Fireflies with a Glow Stick

                                      fireflies in a jar

                                        Tired of waiting around for summer to come and the fireflies to make their presence? Buy some glow sticks at the dollar store and open them up very carefully. Put the contents of the sticks into cleaned mason jars. Seal the jars, and then shake them well. The glow stick chemicals will affix to the jar sides and provide a soft glow. This is actually a nifty experiment if kids are going to have a classroom party and want a cool effect for table lanterns.

                                        Source

                                        9. It’s “Snot” Funny!

                                        slime

                                          Okay, it really is funny. Snot, that is. So why not create your own? Yes, it’s disgusting… but it’s an unforgettable experiment.

                                          What you’ll need for this project:

                                          • Boiling water
                                          • A cup
                                          • Plain, unflavored gelatin
                                          • Corn syrup

                                          Directions:

                                          1. Fill the cup half-full of the boiling water
                                          2. Add three teaspoons of gelatin to the water
                                          3. Allow the gelatin to soften, then stir it with a fork
                                          4. Add a quarter of a cup of the corn syrup to the gelatin mixture
                                          5. Stir the new mixture with the fork again
                                          6. Check out the strands of “snot” that have formed

                                          As the mixture continues to cool down, add small amounts of water to it. Then, gross out everyone. What’s not to love?

                                          ADDED BONUS: Put some green food coloring into the boiling water.

                                          Source

                                          Remember that you don’t have to go hog-wild with science projects. Even uncomplicated ones can pack an amazing wallop of fun.

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                                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                          I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                          1. The Inner Critic

                                          This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                          • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                          He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                          Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                          2. The Worrier

                                          This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                          He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                          Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                          3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                          He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                          He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                          He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                          4. The Sleep Depriver

                                          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                          His motivation can be:

                                          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                          How can you control these squatters?

                                          How to Master Your Mind

                                          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                          This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                          For the Inner Critic

                                          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                          You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                          • He riles up the Worrier.
                                          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                          • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                          • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                          • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                          Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                          For the Worrier

                                          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                          • Muscles tense

                                          Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                          Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                          For example:

                                          If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                          For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                          • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                          • Muscles tension

                                          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                          Breathe in through your nose:

                                          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                          • Focus on your belly rising.

                                          Breathe out through your nose:

                                          • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                          • Focus on your belly falling.
                                          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                          Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                          For the Sleep Depriver

                                          (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                          2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                          From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                          • Shut down your thinking.
                                          • Calm your feelings.
                                          • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                          Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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