Family Fun: 4 Indoor Science Experiments

Family Fun: 4 Indoor Science Experiments

Do these four indoor science experiments with the kids and foster a love of learning.


By: Rae Friis

Breakthrough discoveries aren’t just for scientists in white lab coats mixing concoctions from beakers filled with bubbling chemicals. Simple and fun experiments can be conducted at home to educate and entertain eager little minds.

These safe and easy household experiments are a blast and aren’t too messy — but it’s always a good idea to keep a few paper towels handy.

1. Invisible Ink
Every good spy needs some science behind his or her sleuthing, and a reliable invisible ink always does the trick.

What You’ll Need
Baking soda
Cotton swab or small paintbrush
Paper towel or sponge
Purple grape juice

Instructions

  1. Whisk together 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of baking soda with 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of water
  2. Using a cotton swab or small paintbrush, write a message on a plain piece of paper
  3. Let dry completely
  4. When you’re ready to read the secret message, dab purple grape juice over the paper with a sponge or paper towel — the juice reacts with the baking soda, making your secret message a different colour

This experiment is based on some basic chemistry. A chemical reaction takes place when the grape juice touches the baking soda, causing the paper to change colour.

2. Rainbow Celery
Transform celery from boring to spectacular with a colour makeover. It takes a few days for the colour to take, but a lesson in how plants absorb water has never been so colourful.

What You’ll Need
1 head of celery with leaves
Food colouring
3 clear glass jars

Directions

  1. Fill glass jars with 240 millilitres (8 ounces) of water
  2. Add 4 drops of food colouring (a different colour in each) to the water and stir
  3. Cut a small amount from the bottom of your celery (a little more than a half centimetre or about 1/4 inch) and divide evenly into the prepared jars
  4. Tell your children to write their hypotheses down on a piece of paper
  5. Continue to observe and record together over the next couple days, watching as the celery changes colour

Celery, like any other plant, needs water to survive. As the days progress, the stalks will draw the water up into the leaves for a very cool illustration of the way plants store water!

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3. Lava Lamp
Science gets groovy when a few easy ingredients mix to make a colourful and bubbling lava lamp.

What You’ll Need
Empty disposable water bottle(s)
Cooking oil
Food colouring
Bubbling antacid tablets
Rimmed tray

Directions

  1. Place your water bottle in a rimmed tray to catch any spills and fill 3/5 of the water bottle with oil
  2. Fill the rest of the way with water, leaving room at the top
  3. Add 10-12 drops of food colouring
  4. Break an antacid tablet into 4 pieces, drop them in the bottle one at a time and watch the magic happen (just be sure to wait until each piece stops fizzing before adding the next)

There are two great things happening here to explain to a future physicist. Water molecules just don’t want to mix with oil, which is why they don’t mix. At the same time, oil is less dense — maybe explain it as “lighter” — than water, so it floats!

4. Homemade Slime
Is it a solid or liquid? It won’t matter when this goopy slime appears on the scene.

What You’ll Need
Large bowl
Plastic cup
Food colouring (optional)
Laundry powder
White glue

Directions

  1. Pour 120 millilitres (4 ounces) of glue into the cup
  2. Mix in 120 millilitres (4 ounces) of water and 3 drops of food colouring (optional)
  3. Stir 5 millilitres (1 teaspoon) of laundry powder into 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) water until dissolved
  4. Add the glue solution to the bowl and mix together
  5. Give the slime a few minutes to form, and then pour off any extra liquid and you’re ready to play

So what’s happening here? This experiment involves creating something that has the properties of both a solid and a liquid. A special note on this one, though: If you have young kids or a pet that likes to root around in the kitchen, be sure to be extra cautious, as you don’t want anyone putting the slime in his or her mouth.

Science is one of those things that can be amazing, fun and inspirational all at the same time, so the next time you’re stuck inside, why not do an experiment?

What is your go-to activity for a rainy day? Let us know in the comments section below!



Rae is a graphic designer and the creative director of Armommy.com. She spends her days working from home — usually with any one of her four lovely (and rambunctious) kids hanging on her side. She enjoys creating everyday adventures with her munchkins using ordinary things and making them extraordinary. Oh, and she also really loves clothes, chocolate, her husband, and her cell phone (in no particular order).

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