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Easy Science Activities for Young Children

Are you running out of ideas to keep your kids busy without having to go through too much preparation or clean-up? I have pulled together some of the easiest science experiments involving materials that are found right in your home and will guarantee some good fun. So next time you need an activity to make your little ones happy, try one of these! It is fun for all ages…

1. Soap Clouds. A bar of Ivory soap is all you need, but it has to be IVORY (not sure why, but if you use another brand, it burns). Unwrap the bar of soap and put it on a microwave-safe plate or parchment paper in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, and watch the magic unfold (make sure your kids can see too!).The soap will start to billow and expand like a big fluffy cloud (Don’t worry, it won’t burn, it just eventually stops expanding). I have heard that the newer the bar of soap the bigger the cloud gets. If it’s old, it might not do the trick as well. Regardless, you end up with a solid awesome chunk of cloud-like soap. Then you can do whatever you please with it- Put it in a big bowl for your little ones to feel, break, cut up or smash. Drop it in a bathtub and let them have at it (all the while getting clean). It’s such a cool and CLEAN activity that will entertain everyone! (Cleanup tip: if it crumbles on surfaces or floors, do a dry sweep or vacuum before you use a wet cleaner, or you will have quite a soapy situation to deal with. For more information about this experiment, check out this website: http://happyhooligans.ca/ivory-soap-microwave-experiment/

2. Slime. You’ll need: 1 ½ cups of clear glue (or you can use glitter glue and omit the food coloring for one less step and less mess), 1 ½ cups of liquid starch (in the laundry aisle-STA-FLO is the brand I use) and food coloring (you can use one color or separate the slime to make a few colors). Mix the glue and liquid starch and then either separate into equal parts and drop a few drops of food coloring in each segment. Or just add a little bit of one color to the whole batch. Glitter glue is easier because you don’t even have to color it, but sometimes it’s hard to find.It becomes stretchy, gooey, mesmerizing slime. And it doesn’t stick to your hands so it’s not hard to clean up. My kids like to roll it into to snakes andthen use plastic knives to cut it into little pieces, but just squishing your hands in it and stretching it is fun too. And it keeps well in an airtight container for many more days of play.

3. Color experiment. This is so easy and your kids will learn about color mixing. Take three jars and line them up. The middle one should be empty and the outer two should be filled about half way up with water.Adda few drops of blue food coloring into one of the jars of water and a few of yellow into the other (you can do this with any primary colors you want to mix). Then take some paper towels and twist/roll them enough to make a tube that will reach into two jars: One end should reach into the bottom of the jar with colored water and the other end into the empty jar in the middle. Do this on the other side with another paper towel dipping down to the bottom of the 2nd color and the other end in the empty jar. So you will have both paper towel ends in the empty jar. Next, you and your child can watch the water slowly move up the paper towels and eventually drip down into the middle jar. This takes a while so you may want to start it early and then come back to it later in the day. When the two colors travel up the paper towel, they drip into the middle jar, making the secondary color! Try it with red and yellow or red and blue too.

4. Lava Lamp.Take an empty water bottle and fill it up with part water and part vegetable oil (I usually do more vegetable oil than water). Drop in a few drops of food coloring and watch how the oil does not color but the water does. Put the cap on, shake it up and see the little colored bubbles mix up with the oil and then separate. Then add a piece of alka-selzer, and you have a lava lamp bottle! The bubbles go up and down until the alkaselzer dissolves. My kids think it’s fun to add big pieces, which WILL make the solution overflow, so be prepared if you allow this (note: I did not necessarily ALLOW it, but it happened and they had a blast).

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