Looking to keep busy this summer with lots of fun science crafts and DIY’s? We’ve compiled a list of ten, easy at-home science activities for your convenience. Be a master crafter and do them all at once or space them out over the summer.
The slime craze is still very popular amongst kids and it’s so easy to make at home. All you need to do is mix 1 ½ tablespoons of contact solution, an 8-ounce bottle of glue, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and the food coloring of your choice. If it’s too sticky just add a bit more saline until you achieve your desired consistency. Just be careful what the glue sticks to!
Rubber egg experiment
Did you know that if you soak an egg in vinegar overnight by the morning it should resemble a rubber bouncy ball? The eggshell will absorb the acid from the vinegar to dissolve. The calcium carbonate will become carbon dioxide gas, which will evaporate. What is left is the soft tissue that lined the inside of the eggshell that feels like rubber Try it for yourself!
Homemade bag ice cream
You’ll definitely need all the ice cream to stay cool this summer and luckily you can make it in a pinch at home! In a large resealable plastic bag add 1/3 cup kosher salt and 3 cups of ice. Then place a small, sealed bag of 1 cup half and half, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract inside that bag. Turn on your favorite playlist and shake the bag for 10 minutes or until the ice cream starts to harden. Then add your favorite toppings and voila homemade ice cream in under 20 minutes.
If you loved making ice cream in a bag at home, you’ll most likely equally love making butter at home and no it doesn’t require an old-fashioned butter churner. All you need is a mason jar or other sealed container filled halfway with heavy whipping cream and maybe a pinch of salt. Then turn on your favorite playlist and get to shaking. You’ll want to shake the jar until you see butter forming. How cool and yummy!
Want to make a rainbow of M&Ms at home? Simply place a single layer of M&M’s around the rim of a paper plate and add some water just until they are all touching the water. Then let them sit and dissolve over an hour and watch the water pull out the candy coating and make the yummiest looking rainbow you’ll ever see.
Make a lava lamp
The 70’s aesthetic is trending and it’s time we bring back lava lamps with it. To make one at home fill up a plastic water bottle with water about ¼ of the way. Then add in vegetable oil to the top leaving some room. Add in a few drops of your favorite coloring, drop in an Alka-Seltzer tablet, and close the bottle. Then turn off the lights and shine your flashlight at the bottle. Watch as the oil floats to the top because it is less dense (lighter) than water and the coloring sinks because it’s denser. The tablet releases carbon dioxide gas so the colored water blobs will then float to the top because gas is lighter than water. Groovy.
Make a layered drink
Impress your friends with this super cool rainbow layered drink. In order for the drink to layer into a beautiful gradient, each layer you add to the cup must be denser than the one before it! (In easier-to-understand terms the bottom layer has the most sugar while the top layer has the least sugar). For the base layer ask a parent to help boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water for about 3 minutes. Then add in cherry Kool-Aid or any other flavor you like as long as it’s red and place the red mix in the fridge to cool. For the blue layer mix a tiny bit of blue food coloring into club soda. To assemble the drink, fill a glass halfway with orange juice. Next, take a spoon and place it along the side of the glass and slowly pour your chilled red mixture into the cup allowing it to drip down the side of the cup and sink to the bottom. Then use the spoon trick again to slowly pour your blue mixture down the side of the glass, it should float since it is denser. Lastly, watch as the red and yellow mix into an orange layer and the blue and yellow mix into a green layer! All that’s left to do is enjoy your totally awesome drink on a hot summer day.
Want to send secret messages to your friends? All you need to make invisible ink is lemon juice, cotton swabs, a piece of plain white paper, and light. Start by squeezing a lemon into a cup and mix in a few drops of water. Next dip the cotton swab into the lemon juice and use it as your pen to write your secret message or drawing on the plain sheet of paper. Wait for the paper to dry, deliver your message to your friend, and tell them to hold the sheet of paper up to a light source to reveal the message! The secret science behind this is the light/heat source breaks down the lemon compounds and releases carbon which then oxidizes to a brown color.
This might be the easiest experiment you’ll ever do. Simply place a bar of ivory soap on a plate and heat it up in the microwave for a minute or two. Watch as the air bubbles inside of the soap expand under the heat and cause the soap to grow and bubble. To extend this experiment try this with other bar soaps and guess which one will grow the most.
Balloon blow up
Did you know there is another way to blow up a balloon without blowing air into it? This experiment creates a chemical reaction that forms carbon dioxide gas that rises to the top and begins to inflate the balloon! To see for yourself pour about 1/3 cup of vinegar into a bottle using a funnel. Clean and dry the funnel then put it into the balloon and drop in two teaspoons of baking soda making sure that all of it goes into the balloon before removing the funnel. Next pinch the top of the balloon while attaching the top of the balloon to the mouth of the bottle making sure none of the baking soda falls into the bottle just yet. Once the balloon is connected to the bottle, hold onto the bottle with one hand and lift the balloon with the other hand allowing the baking soda to drop into the bottle. Watch as the vinegar and baking soda mix creating a gas that inflates the balloon!
Erica Presbie is a Community Engagement and Marketing Intern at the Connecticut Science Center. She is a senior Marketing major at Endicott College and enjoys participating in the collegiate dance club as well as teaching kids dance classes in her free time.