5 instant science ideas

Does the idea of doing home science experiments make your hair stand on end? Science is a big part of our children’s education but, unlike English and maths, it takes more than a pen and paper to get involved.

Exploding coke bottles, erupting volcanoes and making slime – they may be FUN. But it takes a lot of (nervous) energy and supervision to try these at home.

That’s why we’ve come up with 5 instant science experiments that you can do NOW. They’re a zero-prep, no-hassle way to raise your mini-Einstein.

1) Brilliant balloons: explore static with this simple trick!

What you’ll need: a balloon

What to do:

1. Rub a balloon on fabric – wool works really well.
2. Now the balloon is charged up, show your child how it can move hair and stick to walls.
3. For extra activities, see if it can roll a can or pick up salt and pepper on a plate.

2) Sink or float: find out about light and heavy materials.

What you’ll need: bowl of water, objects made from different things

What to do:

1. Fill a bowl with water.
2. Ask your child to place objects one at a time on the water. Do they sink or float?

Some good things to experiment with are plastic toys, stones, leaves, apples, bottle caps, sponges, crayons, buttons, marbles and keys.

3) Marvellous magnets: introduce kids to magnetic materials.

What you’ll need: a magnet, various objects

What to do:

1. Send your child on a mission to find objects that will stick to the magnet –  and ones that won’t.
2. Can they write or a list? Or make a pile of objects that are attracted to the magnet, and ones that aren’t.
3. Now can they make predictions about new objects based on what they’ve already seen?
4. Play around with different materials like wood, metal and plastic. Does the magnet stick to any of them?

 4) Super shadows: explore light and shadows!

What you’ll need: lamp (or torch), a blank wall (or hang a sheet)

What to do:

1. Simply direct the light towards the wall so you can make shadows.
2. You can make puppets with your hands, or use your whole body to make a shadow. Kids will love making their shadows chase you!

5) A hole in one (hand): kids will be amazed by this optical illusion!

What you’ll need: piece of white paper

What to do:

1. Roll the piece of paper into a tube and ask your child to hold it up to their eye.
2. Get them to hold their hand in front of their other eye and move it slowly up and down alongside the tube. A hole should appear in their hand!