If you want to encourage your child's interest in science, experiment with experiments. Thanks to the internet, ideas are everywhere. The possibilities will be amusing for you and your child and encourage their natural curiosity about the world. There are plenty of experiments that are best left to the professionals, but there are plenty of safe, interesting experiments for kids, as well. Here are some you can perform with common household items, and a couple that utilize microscopes for kids:
Bouncy Egg There is an experiment involving eggs for every day of the week, at least. Among the fun, safe and easy ones is the bouncy egg. Just submerge an egg in vinegar for 24 hours, carefully pour the vinegar out and replace it with new vinegar. Wait another 24 hours and you will find a wonderfully altered piece of produce in the form of a soft-sided egg that bounces. If you bounce it too hard it will still break, but part of the fun is testing its limits.
Walking on Eggs Children often express themselves freely and seldom walk on eggshells to be politically correct, but they can experience what it is like to literally walk on eggs. They can even learn something in the process. You will need a few dozen eggs in egg cartons, forming a foot path. Inspect them to make sure none of them are cracked and that they are all pointing the same direction (pointy side up or pointy side down). Remove shoes and socks, and have the tester step onto the first dozen. This works best if you have a friend to hold your hand for support. Walk from carton to carton, trying your best to distribute your weight evenly on your foot. There is a potential for mess here, yes, but most of the time no eggs break, and kids can learn about what makes an egg's structure so strong with this experiment.
Ivory Soap Expansion Kids tend to make messes with or without a scientific pursuit on their minds. With some of our favorite experiments, a discovery may at least be one benefit of the resulting mess. Ivory brand soap is interesting in a few ways because of the air that is whipped into it. Unlike other soaps, it floats and is fun to microwave. Just divide a fresh bar into chunks, put it on a plate and cook on high for about 2 minutes. This has a potential for major messiness but might be good for a one-time activity. Using less than the full bar may reduce mess potential.
Dish Soap Swirl For a simple experiment with dish soap, fill a bowl with milk and place a few drops of food coloring (various colors) in the middle. Dip a Q-tip in liquid dish soap and then place it in the milk by the food coloring, and watch the colors move and swirl.
Soda Sites Coke has long had the reputation for being able to dissolve various things. Submerging a small piece of meat, a penny, a piece of chalk or a baby tooth in a glass jar of Coke can be interesting for kids to observe. Dropping an original Mentos candy into a bottle of Diet Coke is also entertaining. This is best done outside because the resulting mess could get overwhelming.
Shaking Things Up You can also experiment with different methods of lessening the explosion from a soda can that has been agitated tapping the top as opposed to tapping the sides of the can before opening, for example. One method makes for a smooth opening, even if you shake it up beforehand.
Microscopes are among the best educational toys for kids. They open the door for all kinds of discoveries. Even basic microscopes can lead to a great interest in science. Have your children put just about anything from the world around them under their microscope plants, food, and even hair and they will learn to love science. Mushrooms and onions are particularly cool to look at up close, but many other household items will be, too. Other scientific toys can give them even more ways to use their microscope. They can grow crystals, brine shrimp or any number of things, and then enjoy looking at them with their microscopes.
An increased interest in science is perhaps the best discovery of all with these experiments. They can help your child in their study of science as well as other topics, and it can just help them have more fun on a Saturday afternoon - a worthy cause in and of itself.
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