Fun Kid Friendly Science Activities: A Chemist’s Guide for Cooped Up Kids

Guest Author – Genevieve Hodson, Technical Specialist, feat. Genevieve’s adorable son

These past few weeks in the new COVID-19 world have tasked parents everywhere to find new activities to do with their kids. Here are a few from this chemist’s family to yours. Hope these easy and fun kid friendly science activities help!

Amazing and Easy-to-do Kid Friendly Science Activities

Make Rock Candy

The first of our kid friendly science activities is a long one but with a great reward at then end. Also a great teaching lesson about why some of them didn’t work (in my case). Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add 3 cups of sugar to the boiling water. Add one cup at a time, stir and wait till fully dissolved and the solution is clear before adding the next. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes before adding to jars.

Prepare string or wooden sticks (chopsticks work well in a pinch) by first wetting with water and then rolling in sugar. This step will help to ‘seed’ the sugar crystals. Make sure that this is fully dry before placing in the jar and adding the sugar solution. I used clothes pins to hold up the stick. Will take anywhere from 5-7 days for the sugar crystals to grow on the sticks!

Kid Friendly Science Activities: Rock Candy

Have an International Playdate

Do you happen to have any coworkers from a different culture or country? Set up a virtual pen-pal playdate with your kids after work hours or on the weekend. Ask the children to prepare questions about the other culture. What is their favorite food? Favorite kids book? Follow up after the playdate by asking things they learned about the other kids and their culture. 

Coffee Filter Flower Marker Kid Friendly Science Activties

This one is close to my heart as it is my expertise. Using a different color marker for each coffee filter, draw a circle around the bottom of the filter. Then fold/scrunch up into a flowerlike form and put the bottom in a shallow bowl of water. Watch the ink from the different colors separate out into its components due to the capillary action of the water climbing up the porous filter. For the younger kids, you can do drip art on the coffee filters with food dye/water and Q-tips while you are doing the experiment with their older siblings.

Kid Friendly Science Activities: Coffee Filter Flower Marker Experiment

Testing Importance of Washing Your Hands

It is to show kids the importance of washing hands. Prepare a bowl of water with floating dust (or pepper) on the surface and put a finger with soap in the middle and they can see the dust being repelled from the finger.

Learning about Elements

Kids love big bright photo books and there are many coffee table books that fit this bill about elements. Great activity for learning about the building blocks of the Universe. My son loves to see an object he knows and then learn how it is made from that specific element.  

Kids Learning about Elements

Olive Oil vs Water

Place Olive Oil (or peanut oil) and water into an ice tray and freeze. Next day investigate why:

1. Oil cubes sink in the liquid oil.

2. Liquid oil floats atop liquid water.

3. Ice water cubes float in liquid water.

4. Then make a hypothesis about whether the oil cubes will float or sink in the water.

For older kids, they can write or draw their hypothesis in their new scientific journal.

Make Element Coasters

You will need used package lids, decorative glass stones and some clear Elmers glue. Put a layer of glue on the flipped over lid, then place half one color glass stones as the protons and half of another color as the neutrons. Let dry and then you have an elements nucleus as a coaster. Sometimes other colors end up there, think we found a new subatomic particle!

Kid Friendly Science Activities: Make Element Coasters

Launch Bottle Rockets

Because, of course, at least one vinegar and baking soda experiment had to be on the list! Put a tablespoon of baking soda onto a small bit of coffee filter and wrap up into a little pouch small enough to drop into the bottle. Add about a half cup of vinegar to the empty water bottle. Find a cork, from a completed wine bottle or elsewhere, that will be used to plug up the bottle while the pressure builds inside.

Away from the kids on a launch pad (ours is a large cup to help direct the bottle upwards), add the baking soda pouch and quickly add the cork to plug and put plug side down on the launch pad. Wait eagerly for launch! You can try different ratios of baking soda and vinegar to get the highest launch. Painting the bottle is also another way to get the little ones involved.

Kid Friendly Science Activities: Launch Bottle Rockets

Food Color Dispersion Kid Friendly Science Activties

Prepare two clear glasses or bowls, pour hot water in one, and cold water in the other. Put one drop of food coloring in each at the same time. Watch how the food coloring spreads at different rates in each container. Discuss dispersion with your kid. Bonus lesson would be asking them to put all the food coloring back into the drop again.

Food Color Dispersion

If you have any questions about the above kid friendly science activities or want more ideas, you can reach out to Genevieve through Chat Now, our online chat services that connects you with our Technical Specialists.

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