Encouraging your children to take interest in the world of Science is important! Why? First, because it awakens their curiosity and helps them to learn a lot! It also helps them to have a greater will to keep learning new things. On the other hand, science is fantastic! It explains how the world in which we live in works from the dawn of time. And it helps us to understand wonderful phenomenon that blows our mind.

Science is fundamental for the development of humanity and today, it goes hand in hand with technology. At first glance, Science may seem like nothing more than a bunch of tedious and boring calculations! But this is not true. It is a lot of fun with exciting experiments and hands on work.  So today, I bring you 5 ideas to do with your children. These are homemade experiments which are harmless but amazing. It will encourage your little ones to get excited with physics, chemistry and biology!


1. Make ‘quicksand’ with cornstarch to learn about non-Newtonian fluids.

This is simpler than it seems. Let us begin by mixing little by little 10 parts of cornstarch with 1 part water (For example, 10 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 part water). This creates a liquid with, at first sight, the consistency of honey and the properties of quicksand.

How is this done? When the cornstarch mixes with water, a suspension is created. This is where a substance is dispersed within another. This causes the mixture to act like a solid when pressure is applied, and like a liquid when left to flow freely.


If you press the mixture with your finger or a spoon, you will note how solid it feels. This is because the cornstarch particles are pushing closer to each other. Now, if you move your fingers slowly through the mixture or if you pour it out on the table, you will note how it flows like liquid. Crazy, right?

 

These mixtures are called Non-Newtonian fluids. This refers to the observation of Isaac Newton. He noted that substances normally become more fluid when heated and viscous when cooled.


2. A paleontological cake to learn about Dinosaurs

From childhood, I was enthralled with paleontology and archeology. This is due in part to movies, especially Steven Spielberg films. His spectacular sagas of Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park were phenomenal. I also spent time visiting museums and there was nothing more extraordinary than a Dinosaur’s super skeleton! There are many interesting ways to use science to create food and make them more entertaining.

Although this idea may not be called an experiment, baking a cake with little dinosaur skeletons (nontoxic and non-melting) can awaken interest in your children for paleontology and the giants that once ruled the earth.

3. Create an electromagnet to learn about Electromagnetism

I remember doing this experiment in school and it was a lot of fun. The materials are easy to acquire at any hardware store: batteries, copper wire and a nail. To make the electromagnet put the copper wire around the nail, attach the ends of the wire to a battery and watch the magnetic field develop. This is amplified with each additional loop around the wire. Your kids can try different wire gauges and materials to see how much force is generated by the magnets!

4. Suck an egg into a bottle with fire to learn about air pressure


This experiment may seem like a magicians trick. You can tell your children they have the power to put a whole egg into a bottle. You will need a hardboiled egg, a glass bottle, a lighter or matches and any plain paper. First light the paper with the lighter or matches. Throw the paper into the bottle and wait for the smoke to reach the top. At that moment, place the thinnest part of the egg face down and watch. You will see how the egg gets sucked inside! How does it happen?

When smoke fills the bottle and it heats up, the air within the bottle expands.

Once the flame is put out and the egg seals the opening of the bottle, something amazing happens! Air stars to cool and contract. This creates a vacuum within the bottle and pulls the egg inside.

5. Color carnations to learn about the vascular system of flowers

This experiment is for people with patience but it really works! It is very simple to do and the results are very interesting. The process is the following: Put white carnations in different jars and color the water with food coloring (Food color for pastries) of different colors. As the days go by, you will note how the carnations change color!