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45 Easy Science Experiments for Kids

Hello, STEM! These simple DIY activities can be done at home or in school.

By Marisa LaScala
at home water cycle science experiment for kids

Imagine blowing the biggest bubbles imaginable — or even making bubbles within bubbles. Or sending vessels — rockets, tea bags, airplanes — soaring through the sky for impossible distances. Now imagine making things explode, or change colors, or reveal hidden messages with just a few simple mixtures.

None of this is magic. It's all science that you can do at home, most likely with ingredients you already have in your house. So, next time you need a boredom-busting indoor activity on a rainy day or a DIY project to get their minds humming, try one of these best at-home science experiments for kids, which cover topics like cover magnetism, surface tension, astronomy, chemistry, physics and more.

First off, it's good to start them off with the scientific method. Give them a journal to record their observations, questions, hypotheses, experiments, results and conclusions. As always, safety counts: wear goggles and coats or aprons if need be (sometimes kids get a kick out of how scientific the protective gear makes them look), and always make sure that the kids are supervised when doing them. (Warning: Some of these are messy!)

These experiments are mostly designed for preschoolers through elementary schoolers — with a couple that are either demonstrations or better for older kids — but if you have a younger one, you can check out these 1-year-old learning activities, toddler learning activities and preschool/kindergarten learning activities, some of which also cover STEM subjects.

Floating Fish

dryerase fish float in a shallow dish of water as part of an athome science experiment for kids
Philip Friedman

Here's another one that deals with solubility and density.

  1. Draw the outline of a fish on the bottom of a glass plate or tray in dry-erase marker. Retrace your drawing to make sure all the lines are connected. Let dry for a minute or two.
  2. Fill the measuring cup with tap water. Place the pour spout just inside the corner of the dish and add water very slowly until it just covers the bottom. Be careful not to pour water directly onto your drawing or make splashes near it. The water will move toward your drawing, eventually surrounding it. Observe what happens. If the water splashes or it doesn’t work on your first try, empty the dish, erase the drawing with a paper towel, dry off the dish, and try again.
  3. Tilt the dish slightly from side to side. What happens? Jot it down.

The ink in dry erase markers is engineered to be slippery. It’s made with a chemical that causes it to easily release from surfaces. (Permanent markers are made with a chemical that makes the ink stick to surfaces, so be sure not to use these in your experiment!)

The easy-release ink lets go from a surface, but why does it float? There are two reasons. First, dry erase ink isn’t soluble, which means it won’t dissolve in water. Second, dry erase ink is less dense than the water, so it becomes buoyant, meaning it can float. When you tilt the dish, the fish moves around on the water’s surface.

From Good Housekeeping Amazing Science: 83 Hands-on S.T.E.A.M Experiments for Curious Kids! See more in the book ?

Brush, Brush!

eggs, toothbrushes and different kinds of liquids form the materials for this at home science experiment for kids
Philip Friedman

This one will really get them into brushing their teeth once they scientifically prove all the good things that toothpaste can do.

  1. Write on sticky notes: Soda 1, Soda 2, Juice 1, and Juice 2. Place them in a row on a counter.
  2. Fill two glasses halfway with brown soda and place behind the Soda 1 and Soda 2 sticky notes. Fill two glasses halfway with lemon juice and place behind the Juice 1 and Juice 2 sticky notes.
  3. Carefully place one egg in the bowl. Squeeze a big dollop — about one tablespoon — of toothpaste on top of the egg and gently rub the toothpaste all around with your hands until the egg is completely covered in a thick layer of toothpaste. Repeat with a second egg.
  4. Gently submerge the toothpaste-covered eggs into the liquids: one egg in the glass labeled Soda 1 and the other egg in the glass labeled Juice 1. Wash and dry your hands.
  5. Gently submerge the remaining eggs, without toothpaste on them, in the remaining glasses: one in the glass labeled Soda 2 and the other in the glass of juice labeled Juice 2. Wash and dry your hands. Leave the eggs in the glasses for 12 hours.
  6. After 12 hours, remove the eggs from the glasses of soda one at a time. Rinse them in cool water and pat them dry with the towel. Place each egg by the sticky note of the glass it was in. Are the eggs the same or different colors?
  7. Remove the eggs from the glasses of juice one at a time. Rinse them under the faucet and pat them dry. Place each egg by the sticky note of the glass it was in. Feel the eggs gently. Does one feel stronger or weaker than the other?
  8. Write down your observations in your science notebook.

The eggshells in this experiment represent the enamel (outer coating) on your teeth. Toothpaste cleans your teeth and prevents stains: it removes food and drink particles that are stuck on your teeth. Teeth can be stained easily by dark-colored liquids like cola, coffee or tea. The egg without toothpaste will be brown and discolored. The egg covered in toothpaste was protected from turning brown.

Toothpaste also protects your pearly whites from decay (breaking down). The egg without toothpaste left in the lemon juice was worn down and soft to the touch, while the egg that was protected with toothpaste is stronger. The lemon juice is acidic, and those acids broke down the shell just as acidic drinks can wear away your tooth enamel. When a tooth is worn down, a cavity can form more easily. But the fluoride in toothpaste mixes with your saliva to create a protective coating around your tooth enamel. It helps keep your teeth strong and cavity-free.

From Good Housekeeping Amazing Science: 83 Hands-on S.T.E.A.M Experiments for Curious Kids! See more in the book ?

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Milk Bottle Xylophone

milk bottle xylophone consisting of seven bottles of varying amounts of coloured water and a metal spoon, in a row, as part of an at home science experiment
Dave King

No for an experiment in sound!

  1. Arrange six glass jars or bottles, all the same size with no lids, in a line. What will each jar sound like when you tap it with a spoon? Make a prediction, then tap each jar. Record your observations.
  2. Next, put water in each of the jars. Pour 1?4 cup (60 ml) of water into the first jar. Add 1?2 cup (120 ml) of water to the second jar. Continue in 1?4-cup increments, adding 3?4 cup (180 ml) of water to the third jar, 1 cup (240 ml) of water to the fourth jar, 11?4 cups (300 ml) of water to the fifth jar, and 11?2 cups (360 ml) to the sixth jar. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to each jar.
  3. What will each jar sound like? Will they sound the same or different than when the container was empty? Will they sound the same or different from one another? Record your predictions.
  4. Tap each jar with a metal spoon. Write down your observations about each jar’s pitch (how high or low a sound is) in your notebook.

Sound waves are created by vibrations, which are back-and-forth movements that are repeated again and again. Pitch depends on the frequency of the waves — how many are created each second. A high pitch is created by high-frequency sound waves, and can sound squeaky. A low pitch is created by low-frequency sound waves, and sounds deep and booming.

When you tapped the jar, it vibrated. The vibrations traveled from the jar to the water to the air and eventually to your ears. The jars with more water had a low pitch. The sound waves vibrated more slowly because they had more water to travel through. The jars with less water had higher pitches. The sound waves vibrated faster because they had less water to travel through. A jar with no water in it makes the highest pitch because it has the least substance to travel through.

From Good Housekeeping Amazing Science: 83 Hands-on S.T.E.A.M Experiments for Curious Kids! See more in the book ?

"Elephant Toothpaste"

foamy striped elephant toothpaste overflows from a bottle in this science experiment for kids
Babble Dabble Do

Okay, elephants don't really brush with this stuff, which is made from a chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide, yeast, dish soap and a few other simple ingredients. But this experiment has a big "wow" factor since, when the substances are mixed, the "toothpaste" foams out of the bottle. You can use it to teach kids about catalysts and exothermic reactions.

Get the tutorial at Babble Dabble Do ?

DIY Compass

a diy compass, made as a science experiment for kids, floats in a bowl next to a digital compass pointing in the same direction
STEAM Powered Family

Explore the way magnetism works, and how it affects everyday objects, by magnetizing a needle and making a DIY compass. You can even spin the compass in the water, and it'll end up pointing the right way again.

Get the tutorial at STEAM Powered Family ?

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Craft Stick Chain Reaction

colored craft sticks with pom poms on top are lined up on grass as part of a science experiments for kids about chain reactions and potential and kinetic energy
Science Sparks

Kids can learn about the differences between potential and kinetic energy with this chain reaction. It makes a big impact: Once the tension is released, the pom poms go flying through the air!

Get the the tutorial at Science Sparks ?

Color-Changing Invisible Ink

different messages and pictures are written in different substances to test out different color changing invisible inks as part of a science experiment for kids
Research Parent

Kids will feel like super-spies when they use this heatless method to reveal pictures or colors written with "invisible ink." You can try different acid/base combinations to see which one makes the most dramatic result.

Get the tutorial at Research Parent ?

Paper Bridge

pennies sit on a construction paper bridge that spans two red solo cups in this science experiment for kids

Get the engineering back into STEM with this activity, which challenges kids to create a paper bridge that's strong enough to hold as many pennies as possible. How can they manipulate the paper to make it sturdier? (Hint: Fold it!)

See the paper bridge tutorial at ?

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Sticky Ice

an ice cube is suspended on a string above a bowl of ice in this science experiment for kids
Playdough to Plato

Challenge your little scientist to lift up an ice cube with just a piece of string. It's possible ... with a little salt to help. Salt melts the ice and lowers the freezing point of the ice cube, which absorbs the heat from the water around it, making the water cold enough to re-freeze around the string.

Get the tutorial at Playdough to Plato ?

Marshmallow Catapult

a marshmallow catapult made from craft sticks and a wooden spoon is a great science experiment for kids
Hello, Wonderful

Another lesson in potential and kinetic energy, kids will love sending mini marshmallows flying in the name of science. Change some of the variables and see how that affects the marshmallow's trajectory.

Get the tutorial at Hello, Wonderful ?

Leaf Breathing

bubbles form on a leaf under water as part of a leaf breathing science experiment for kids
KC EDventures

It's hard for kids to picture how plants and trees "breathe" through their leaves — until they see the bubbles appear on a leaf that's submerged in water. You can also teach them about photosynthesis by putting different leaves in different spots with varying levels of sunlight.

Get the tutorial at KC EDventures ?

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Hoop-and-Straw Airplane

a hoop and straw airplane, created as part of a science experiment for kids, sits on a black background

We all remember how to fold those classic, triangular paper airplanes, but these hoop-and-straw airplanes fly way better (and straighter). Experiment by changing the length of the straw and the size of the hoops and see how it affects the flight.

Get the tutorial at Mombrite ?

Film Canister Rocket

a diy rocket takes off from a table, where another rocket waits, in this science experiment for kids
Raising Lifelong Learners

Blast off! You don't need jet fuel to make these rockets go, just Alka-Seltzer tablets and baking soda, but they'll be amazed when they achieve lift-off! (Note: If you can't find old film canisters, tubes of Airborne work, too.)

Get the tutorial at Raising Lifelong Learners ?

Coin Inertia

a stack of coins sits on a piece of cardboard on top of a glass of water as part of a science experiment for kids about inertia
Engineering Emily

Stack up about five or so coins on a piece of cardboard and place it over a glass of water. Then, flick the cardboard out from on top of the glass. Do the coins drop into the water, or ride with the cardboard? Due to inertia, they drop into the water — a very visual (and fun!) demonstration of Newton's First Law of Motion.

Get the tutorial at Engineering Emily ?

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Apple Oxidation

science experiments for kids   apple oxidation
Amy Stults/Jennifer Findley

What works best for keeping an apple from turning brown? Test to find out! Slice up an apple, and let each slice soak in a different liquid. Then take them out, lay them on a tray, and check the brownness after three minutes, six minutes and so on. Not only does this test the properties of different liquids, it also helps students practice the scientific method if they create hypotheses about which liquids would be most effective.

Get the tutorial at Jennifer Findley ?

RELATED: 50 Fun Activities for Kids Will Keep Them Entertained for Hours

Coffee Ground Fossils

a salt dough circle "fossil" with dinosaur footprints, made as part of an athome science experiment for kids
Crafts By Amanda

By making a salt dough with coffee grounds and pressing various shapes into it (toy dinosaur feet, seashells), kids can get a better understanding of how fossils are made. If you poke a hole in the top before it dries, the kids can hang their "fossils" up in their rooms.

Get the tutorial at Crafts by Amanda ?

Chromatography Flowers

a coffee filter flower with an led in the center is decorated with swirls of color as part of this at home science experiment for kids
Steam Powered Family

Chromatography is the process of separating a solution into different parts — like the pigments in the ink used in markers. If you draw stripes around a coffee filter, then fold it up and dip the tip in water, the water will travel up the filter and separate the marker ink into its different pigments (in cool patterns that you can display as a craft project). This family made the end-result even brighter by adding an LED circuit to the center.

Get the tutorial at Steam Powered Family ?

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Water Walking

five cups with different colored liquid in them are connected by paper towel bridges as part of this at home science experiment for kids
Fun Learning for Kids

You'll need six containers of water for this one: three with clear water, one with red food coloring, one with blue coloring, and one with yellow coloring. Arrange them in a circle, alternating colored and clear containers, and make bridges between the containers with folded paper towels. Your kids will be amazed to see the colored water "walk" over the bridges and into the clear containers, mixing colors, and giving them a first-hand look at the magic of capillarity.

Get the tutorial at Fun Learning for Kids ?

Sunscreen Test

colorful construction paper painted with different sunscreens, as part of an athome science experiment for kids
Tonya Staab

This experiment puts the A (art) in STEAM: Paint different designs on construction paper with different sunscreens, leave the papers out in the sun and compare the results. Then, hang your "conclusions" on your fridge.

Get the tutorial at Tonya Staab ?

Headshot of Marisa LaScala
Marisa LaScala
Senior Parenting & Relationships Editor

Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.

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