[science experiments for kids]Lockdown with kids： Six fun science experiments to try at home over the school holidays
With school holidays here and many states locked down, you may be searching for fun activities to do while housebound.
For kids and adults alike, science experiments are a great way to learn through play.
We’ve found several fun and easy to follow activities that don’t require many materials beyond what you’d already have around the house.
Oobleck, slime, cornflour goop; whatever you call it, this mixture of 1 part water to 1.5 parts cornflour is a classic experiment to try at home.
This is a great way?to do?some inquisitive learning to discover the mixture’s properties.
Oobleck is hard when you apply a force to it (like punching it), but acts more like a liquid when left alone —?this is called a non-Newtonian fluid.
Non-Newtonian fluids?do?not have a set viscosity —?instead it changes when under force to become either more liquid or more solid.
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Another common non-Newtonian fluid is toothpaste, which acts in the opposite manner to oobleck.
Toothpaste starts off thick, but when you apply force (brushing your teeth), it becomes runnier.
With your oobleck,?try holding it, squeezing it, and?submerging?your hands into a bowl of the slime.
You can even play catch with a ball of oobleck (it’s probably best to go outside to do this)!
Learn about acids and bases with the colour-changing science of cabbage juice.
Follow the video to extract the purple?liquid from the cabbage, and then test out the acidity (the pH) of different items in the kitchen.
Red cabbage contains an indicator pigment molecule called flavin, which is one of a type of molecule called an anthocyanin.
This molecule reacts with acids or bases to change colour.
The red cabbage extract acts as a pH indicator to produce a rainbow of colours, which tell you how acidic or basic your solution is.?(
Compound Interest: Andy Brunning
This ranges from a bright red for very acidic solutions, to that initial purple for neutral solutions, to a greenish yellow for basic solutions.
You can test a whole range of things around the house; orange juice, milk,?bicarb soda, as well as?some more peculiar solutions like cleaning supplies.
For a more edible approach,?combine science and cooking to make these?colour changing noodles.
For those who enjoy a bit of quarantine baking, or are still keen?to take a crack at homemade bread, why not explore the science behind yeast at the same time?
As a living cell, yeast consumes sugar to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol.
To visualise this, you can mix?yeast, sugar and warm water in a bottle, with a balloon stretched over the bottle’s mouth.
As carbon dioxide is produced, the balloon will inflate.
This is a great chance for the more inquisitive scientists to design an experiment to test out the effect of different temperatures, amounts of sugar or even try out other food sources like honey or syrup.
Science meets magic with this seemingly impossible trick of squeezing an egg into a bottle.
This experiment will impress all ages, but the explanation can be a bit complex, involving both temperature and pressure.
The flame dropped into the bottle heats up the air inside, expanding it.
Placing a peeled hard-boiled egg over the opening blocks the movement of air in and out, resulting in the starvation of the flame of oxygen, and creating a pressure difference between inside the bottle and the outside.
Harness the power of air pressure to trap a poor egg in a bottle.(
Cartoon Vectors by Vecteezy:?Graphics RF
With the flame out, the air inside the bottle then cools down, creating a partial vacuum, which pushes the egg into the bottle.
For further investigation, try to work out how to get the egg out (without breaking the bottle or the egg).
For another egg-related experiment,?try dissolving the shell off one with vinegar to get a see-through, bouncy egg, or if you have a surplus of them, explore the strength of a dome-shape by taking a walk on top of one.
Knock over cups and blow out candles with a powerful gust of air (that is shaped like an invisible doughnut).
A simple build, all you have to do is stretch?a balloon over the top of a plastic cup with a hole cut in the bottom.
Then either tap on the balloon membrane, or pull it back and release, to shoot air at the?target.
As for why it is called a vortex cannon, the shape the air forms as it comes out is a very stable?toroidal vortex, or doughnut shape.
This is because as the air on the outside of the gust begins to slow down and fall behind, it then gets pulled into the centre of the gust, rotating in a?toroidal motion.
In the video, you can see this visualised with a smoke machine.
To make a larger air cannon, you can use a cardboard box, as shown in this video.
Stalactites hold on ‘tite’ to the ceiling, stalagmites ‘mite’ one day reach the top (or have a g in them for ground).
While natural stalactites can take thousands of years to form, you?can grow one in just a few days.
Creating a super-saturated solution? of epsom salts or baking soda —?that is adding more salt until it not longer dissolves –?makes the perfect environment for growing crystals.
The solution will soak into the string and begin to drip onto the plate.?
As the liquid evaporates, the?salt?will begin to form crystals at this lowest point, and each drip will grow the stalactite longer, while the stalagmite will grow up from the plate.
A similar (but tastier) experiment is to grow sugar crystals into rock candy.
For other great science experiments, you can also check out Questacon’s Science at home page.
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