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Science projects are a great way to get your kids excited about STEM activities in a fun and understandable way. As someone who isn’t particularly gifted in experiments, I had to find fun science project ideas for kids that will encourage my children to learn and be creative.
In this article, you will find many science project ideas that will get your kids excited about learning and make them stars at this year’s school science fair!
Science Projects For Children In Kindergarten
Here are some easy and age-appropriate science fair project ideas for kids that will keep your kid excited about learning.
1. Lava Lamp
Image Credit: funlearningforkids.com
With this project, you and your kids can make a temporary lava lamp out of household items. Let’s see what you’ll need and how you can do it!
- Bottle (an empty plastic water bottle will work)
- Vegetable oil
- Food coloring
- Alka-Seltzer tablets
Fill ⅔ of the bottle with vegetable oil, and fill the remaining part with water. Next, add 10 drops of food coloring (any color will work) to the bottle. Finally, break the Alka-Seltzer tablet into a few smaller pieces and drop them into the bottle.
Once all the materials are in the bottle, watch as your lava lamp comes to life! The lava lamp experiment is the result of two different scientific principles – density and polarity.
As you know, water and oil don’t mix! Since water has a higher density than oil, it will sink at the bottom of the bottle, and the oil will stay above it because it’s less dense. The same principle applies to food coloring which will also sink at the bottom of the bottle.
When you add an Alka-Seltzer tablet it will react with the water producing carbon dioxide bubbles. As these gas bubbles rise, they will take the colored water with them. Once they reach the top, the bubbles will pop and escape into the air, allowing the colored water to sink back at the bottom of the bottle.
The great thing about this project is that you can repeat it at any time. Just add a new Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch as the colored bubbles rise again!
2. Lemon Volcano
Image Credit: sixthbloom.com
Lemon volcanoes don’t create a gigantic eruption, but rather small bubbly eruptions that are more suitable for younger kids. Here’s how you can make one:
Slice the bottom of the lemon off so it can sit flat on a plastic tray. Next, use a craft stick to mush the center of the lemon to get the juices flowing.
Now add a few drops of food coloring to the center of the lemon, followed by a good squeeze of dish soap. Finally, add a spoonful of baking soda.
As soon as you add baking soda the lemon will start to fizz and erupt like a bubble machine! This experiment is the result of a reaction between citric acid from lemons and baking soda. When these two are mixed, they form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide which cause the liquid to fizz and bubble, resulting in a mini eruption.
3. Shiny Pennies
Image Credit: brendid.com
Give your kids a handful of old tarnished pennies and turn them into shiny coins with this experiment. For this activity, you will need:
- Three tarnished pennies
- Two paper cups
- Liquid soap
- Paper towel
Set one penny aside, and put each of the remaining two pennies into a separate paper cup. Pour enough vinegar to cover the first penny, and cover the second penny with liquid soap.
Tell your kids to wait at least 10 minutes before they remove the pennies from the cups. Use water to rinse the pennies and dry them with a paper towel.
When comparing the three pennies, you will notice that vinegar made its penny shiny again. But why does that happen?
All pennies get dirty over time since the copper on the surface reacts to the oxygen from the air, creating copper oxide. Vinegar contains acetic acid which can dissolve copper oxides, thus making the surface of the penny shiny again.
And while liquid soap can clean a lot of things, it can’t dissolve copper oxides, so it won’t make a penny clean and shiny again.
Second-Fourth Grade Science Fair Experiments For Kids
The following science projects for kids are ideal for more advanced little scientists and will make your child the star of this year’s school science fair.
1. Milk Art
Image Credit: babbledabbledo.com
Use this fun and artsy milk experiment to see what happens when you put food coloring into milk. You’ll need:
- A bowl
- ½ cup of milk
- Dish soap
- Cotton swab
- Food coloring (more than one color)
For this experiment to work, pour ½ cup of milk into a bowl. Then, add one drop of each color in different places in the milk. The next step is to put a tiny amount of soap at the end of a cotton swab. Finally, touch one of the colors in the milk with a cotton swab.
When touched with a cotton swab, the food coloring will move and mix, creating colorful milk art. This happens because the dish soap breaks the bonds in the milk fats and causes them to separate. As the fat separates it moves the food coloring with it, creating an amazing mix of colors.
2. Snow Globe
Image Credit: marthastewart.com
Kids love snow globes, and now is the perfect time for you and your children to make one. Here’s what you’ll need:
Glue a small kid toy on the inside of the jar’s lid and fill the jar with cold water. Next, add one or two tablespoons of glitter and sequins into the jar and stir before adding a few drops of glycerin. Finally, screw the lid on the jar, or glue it, if you’re concerned that your kids will try to open their new snow globe.
When the lid is tightly sealed, turn the glass jar upside down and shake it to get the glitter and sequins flowing inside. Being a mixture of water and glycerin allows the liquid inside your snow globe to slow the glitter as gravity pulls it down.
Science Fair Project Ideas for Kids: Fifth Grade And Up
If you have older children, you should look for more advanced and cool science project ideas. Look for things that will challenge and encourage your child to learn something new.
1. Tornado In A Bottle
Image Credit: mykidsadventures.com
Teach your child the power behind a tornado with this cool experiment. You’ll need:
- Dishwashing liquid
- Plastic bottle with a cap
Fill the bottle ¾ with water, then add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and a few pinches of glitter. Put the cap on tightly, turn the bottle upside down, and while holding it by the neck, quickly spin it in a circular motion for a few seconds to create a mini-tornado.
This experiment is the result of a centripetal force that is causing the water to rapidly spin around the center of the vortex. Thus, creating a mini bottle tornado.
2. Storm In A Glass
With this science experiment, your children can learn how clouds hold water, and what happens when they can’t store it any longer. To make a storm in a glass you’ll need:
- Shaving cream
- A large glass
- Food coloring
- A spoon
- Small bowl
Fill the glass ½ full with water and then spray some shaving cream on top so the glass is ¾ full. Use a spoon to spread the shaving cream evenly, so it creates a flat top.
Mix 10 drops of food coloring with ½ cup of water in a separate small bowl. Finally, gently add the colored water to the top of the shaving cream and see what happens when it gets too heavy.
In this experiment, the shaving cream represents clouds in the sky and the water represents air in the atmosphere. When you add colored water, the shaving cream will hold it just like clouds hold onto water. However, the shaving cream won’t be able to hold on forever and will eventually get too heavy, releasing the colored water in the glass.
Tips For Choosing Science Fair Project Ideas For Kids
Here are some tips that can help you find the right science project that will excite and interest your child.
- Age-Appropriate: There’s nothing more frustrating than trying a project that is too advanced for our skills. Thus, make sure that you choose an age-appropriate project for your kid. This way your child will finish the project successfully and learn new things in the process.
- Consider Your Child’s Interests: Give your kid a chance to explore STEM project ideas that are based on interests they already have.
- Narrow Your Choices: Encourage your kids to select three project ideas and then go over the choices with them. Try to explain the steps involved in each project and let your child pick a favorite.
The school science fair is a great tradition and a fun way to get kids excited about learning. Whether or not your child is involved in this year’s fair, you should always have a stash of science project ideas for kids to encourage STEM learning and get the creativity going.