Three fun science experiments to entertain kids this rainy weekend
The weather forecast for the first weekend of summer holiday is looking very wet and rainy. Kids have already been locked inside for months on end the past year, so what can parents to do entertain them? Leading online tutoring platform, MyTutor, has compiled their top three favourite science experiments to do with children when the prospect of another weekend trapped inside seems unbearable.
1. Make slime
Slime has been all over social media recently, with many people creating their own at home to play with. It’s surprisingly easy to make and involves just 5 ‘ingredients’ that you’ll most likely already have at home. The good thing about this science experiment is that it stays clean on your hands so it doesn’t create much mess. It can also be completely customised with glitter, beads, fragrance oils or confetti, making it a fun sensory experience for younger kids too.
The science behind slime is fascinating as you can teach your children why glue stays liquid (because it is a polymer made up of identical long strand molecules, called monomers) until a borate ion ingredient is added to the mixture (connecting the long strand molecules together). Throughout the mixing process, these ingredients begin to form a thick, rubbery type substance (eventually becoming slime). Slime is also somewhere between a liquid and a solid which is known as a non-newtonian fluid, which is interesting to teach kids about viscosity.
You can find a link to BBC Good Food’s slime recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-slime
2. Create a lava lamp
Not only do lava lamps make a create home decor addition to your child’s bedroom, they can also teach kids about density. Oil floats because it is less dense than water, whilst food colouring is the same density so mixes with the water. When a fizzing tablet is added it makes gas, carbon dioxide. Gas is lighter than water so it floats to the top in bubbles which bring some coloured water with them to the top. When the air comes out of the colored water blob, the water gets heavy again and sinks. It does this over and over again until the tablet is completely dissolved.
All you need for this experiment is water, oil, food colouring and a fizzing tablet such as an Alka Seltzer. Simply mix 1 part water with 3 parts oil in a bottle, add a couple of drops of food colouring and an Alka Seltzer and watch what happens!
3. Erupt a baking soda volcano
This is a classic crowd pleasing science experiment sure to entertain kids on a wet Sunday afternoon. All that is needed for this activity is:
100 ml of warm water
10 ml of dish soap
400 ml of white vinegar
Empty 2-litre bottle
2 drops of red food coloring
Baking soda slurry ( ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup water)
Mix the dish soap, water, white vinegar, and food colouring and pour it into the empty bottle. Then, make the baking soda slurry and mix it thoroughly with a spoon until it’s completely dissolved. Now, quickly but carefully pour this slurry into the bottle and step back and watch as the volcano erupts!
The science behind the volcano involves a chemical reaction between an acid and a base. The acetic acid present in the vinegar reacts with the sodium hydrogen carbonate in the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide. The base (sodium hydrogen carbonate) undergoes a decomposing reaction when it is exposed to the acid which produces carbon dioxide, which causes the eruption!