Keep your kids’ brains busy and inspire innovation with simple STEAM projects you can do with the materials you have at home!
Explore Different Sciences Using Straws
Ever wondered how our hearts pump blood? Well, in order to keep your blood flowing in the right direction, your heart has two pretty cool design features: chambers and valves. The chambers fill with blood, then squeeze tight to pump it out. Each chamber also has an exit door called a valve. These keep blood from getting pumped backward. Build your own model to learn about the right atrium and ventricle!
Breath in. Breathe out. Do you feel your chest expand and shrink when you breathe? That change in size is how you get air into your lungs! It all has to do with the physics of air pressure, which you’ll investigate in this project. Air always tries to balance out pressure, so it will move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. Your body uses this fact to move air in and out when you breathe! See it in action as you inflate and deflate balloon lungs with this model!
Make your own Pythagoras cup and trick your family with this disappearing water act!
The Pythagoras cup is a fun example of a siphon — a device that uses gravity to drain a container of liquid. As the cup is filled with water, the short end of the straw starts to fill up, reaching the same height as the water in the cup. Once that water level reaches the bend at the top of the straw, some of the water begins to drain down the long end of the straw due to the pull of gravity, so the straw acts as a siphon!
Test Out the Effects of Temperature
Flying Tea Bag
Make a teabag fly with heat! The flying tea bag experiment is a similar concept to a hot air balloon, but you can do it right at home. This project is simple to create, but impressive to kids and adults alike!
Eggs in a Bottle
With this experiment, you’ll learn how to harness the power of expanding and contracting gasses to suck an egg into a bottle in which it would never normally fit. As the flame burns inside the bottle, it heats up the air around it, causing it to expand. If you saw your egg vibrating slightly, this was because the air was escaping from the bottle. When the flame goes out, the air in the bottle cools and shrinks. This is what sucks your egg into the bottle!
Hot Hand Ice Warmers
All you need is baking soda and vinegar to create a little chemistry experiment that comes handy on cold days!
The thermometer you’re going to make uses alcohol to read the temperature. Alcohol changes its size when its temperature changes, even though you might not see it happen when the alcohol just sits in the bottle. The trick for making it noticeable is to put the alcohol in a thin tube, like a straw. With less space inside the straw, even a small change in the alcohol’s size makes a big difference to how high or low the top of the liquid is. The alcohol always goes to the same level for the same temperature, so you can tell how hot or cold something is by comparing to different measurements of the alcohol level.
Cook with Chemistry & Experiment with Food
Tonic water makes your cupcakes glow because of a chemical in it called quinine. People originally put quinine in drinks because it can help to prevent malaria. Quinine also turns out to be fluorescent, which means that it glows when it’s hit by ultraviolet light. With just a bit of tonic water, your cupcakes will really stand out under a blacklight!
Double up your experiment and test out the same recipe with jello!
This homemade version of the classic pop rocks will get you fizzy with baking soda and citric acid! Personalize this candy with your own flavor and experience this chemical reaction in your mouth! This recipe keeps the citric acid and baking soda separate until you eat it. When these two ingredients combine with the saliva in your mouth, it creates carbon dioxide gas. It doesn’t “pop” like the fizzy candy sold in stores, but you are still experiencing a chemical reaction in your mouth!
Learn more: Fizzy Candy
Maple Syrup Crystals
Test out the effects of temperature with this sweet science experiment! When you pour hot maple syrup onto a cold pan, sugar molecules slow down, combine, and then harden into solid crystals. The best part is, you can eat the crystals once you’re done with the experiment!
Yummy Polymer Gummies
Combine a lesson on polymers with a delicious snack food! You can picture the molecules that make up gelatin as long, twisty chains called polymers. When you heated up the gelatin and water mixture, the heat caused those chains to break apart into smaller pieces. When the mixture cools, the broken-up chains start to stick to each other again. But they do this in a way that creates tiny pockets in between them. Tiny drops of water get trapped in those pockets, which creates a yummy gummy texture!
Color your world with cabbage and learn about chemistry! The terms acid and base describe the chemical properties of many things we use every day. Sometimes, you can tell if something is an acid or base by the way it tastes. Instead of a taste test, chemists use a pH scale to measure the strength of acids and bases. In this project, you’ll test different substances in purple cabbage juice and compare the results to a printable pH scale.
Turn Milk into Cheese
Milk is made up of proteins, sugars, fat, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. When you add an acid like lemon juice to warm milk, it causes molecules of one of the proteins in milk to bond to one another. That forms a solid lump of protein which is also known as a cheese curd and the leftover liquid is called whey. You may remember hearing about curds and whey from the old nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet!
Learn about the chemistry of eggs with this sweet experiment. Raw egg proteins are shaped like tightly packed balls, kind of like a long string that’s been crumpled up. But when you heat them (in a custard mixture) the egg proteins unfurl. As more heat is added these long protein strands unfold and begin to grab on to each other. Eventually, a mesh of protein strands is formed. The fat, sugar, and liquids are trapped in the pockets in between the strands, forming the lovely delicious texture of a perfectly baked custard.
Discover how music creates vibrations you can see using salt and a portable speaker! Speakers produce sound by creating vibrations in the air. Normally, we only hear these vibrations, and we can’t easily see them. Plastic wrap, though, is lightweight and thin enough to vibrate in response to the sounds coming from the speakers. These vibrations move through the plastic wrap unevenly, pushing and shoving the salt around in interesting patterns as if it were dancing!
Salty Cave Crystals
In nature, crystals often form when hot substances — like magma — start to cool and harden. During this process, known as crystallization, atoms in the substance begin to stick together in repeating patterns. The end result is the creation of unique geometric crystals! You can make crystals at home through a similar process using hot water and Epsom salt. Mixing salt and hot water creates a supersaturated solution — that means it has a lot more dissolved salt particles than normal, room-temperature water would. When the supersaturated solution cools, the water can no longer hold all of the salt particles, so they start to fall out of the solution. Over time, the salt particles combine on the string and crystallize!
Potato Chip Patina Experiment
Have you ever wondered why the Statue of Liberty is green? It’s because of a process called oxidation – a natural weathering process that occurs when air and water react with copper! Try this experiment to recreate the oxidation process artificially!
Magic Mug Cake
Normally, a cake would take an hour or more to make in an oven, but with a microwave oven, you can make one in minutes! Microwave ovens use waves of energy called – you guessed it – microwaves to cook food quickly. The microwaves go into the food and make water molecules inside move around really fast. The movement creates heat that cooks the food. Make this delicious chocolate mug cake and experiment by adding other ingredients.
Get Creative with Food Coloring
Bubble Lamp in a Bag
Oil and water famously don’t mix well. No matter how much you stir them together, they’ll always separate as oil rises to the top. But oil and water don’t avoid mixing because they don’t like each other; it’s because of their chemistry! In this project, you’ll learn more about the chemistry of oil and water and create a bubbly chemical reaction — both essential to making your Bubble Lamp in a Bag super groovy and fun.
Magic Water Barrier
Learn about how the density of water changes with different temperatures in this colorful science project. This experiment explores the difference in density between hot and cold water. When water is heated up, its water molecules move more quickly, expanding the space between individual molecules. This increases the water’s overall volume and decreases its density.
In this experiment, you use four different liquids with four different densities: oil, water, food coloring, and saltwater. The oil sits on top of the water because it’s less dense than water. The water sits on top of the saltwater for the same reason. Food coloring is denser than oil and a little bit denser than water, but it isn’t as dense as saltwater. When the drops of food coloring hit the dense saltwater, they disperse like exploding fireworks!
Upcycle Materials Around Your House
Whether they’re bringing down rain or snow, making a beautiful sunset, or letting our minds run wild with imaginary shapes – clouds are pretty awesome. Did you know that you can create your own cloud in a bottle with just a few easy steps? Follow along with the instructions or watch our video tutorial!
Learn more: Magic Cloud
DIY Phone Speaker
Make a-Rockin’ customizable speaker for you and your friends to enjoy with just a few household items! Understand how sound vibrations can travel through different mediums and how the shape of the mediums can cause the sounds to be amplified!
Craft Stick Reaction
Chain reactions are amazing displays of energy. When everything is set up right, one little tap can cause a cascade of action, like a single domino knocking over a chain of thousands. Try this experiment to make a huge chain reaction out of just a few craft sticks!
Egg Experiments to Try at Home
Spring is the season of eggs – whether chocolate, painted or plastic! Eggs are an eggcellent way to eggsplore science (and puns), so we collected our favorite eggsperiments for you to try at home. Since eggs are in short supply in some places, most of these projects are edible or use shells (real and plastic). But if you are stocked up on eggs, save a few for these science eggsperiments!
Eggheads (Ages 2+)
These little eggheads are an adorable project! Just plant the grass seeds and watch the hair grow. You can even use these eggheads as seed-starter pots because they are biodegradable and full of calcium for your plants! Just like humans, plants need nutrients to grow. Record your observations daily to see how long it takes for the seeds to sprout and grow. What do you observe?
Easter Egg Rocket (Ages 5+)
Create an eggplosive chemical reaction with a plastic Easter egg, a fizzy tablet (like Alka-Seltzer), and water! Fizzy tablets contain sodium bicarbonate (also called baking soda) mixed with citric acid, plus some other stuff. When the tablets are dropped in water, the baking soda and citric acid get together and fizz. If this reaction happens inside of an Easter egg, the plastic shell traps the gas inside. As the egg is filled with more and more gas, the pressure inside the egg increases. Eventually, the gas inside the egg pushes hard enough to make the egg pop open and launch!
Square Egg (Ages 5+)
When you hard boil an egg, molecular chemistry is at work. Eggs are made up mostly of two kinds of molecules: protein and water. The proteins in a raw egg are like twisted strings, floating in a watery soup. When you heat up an egg, the proteins break their bonds and unfold. As they unfold, the proteins make new, stronger chemical bonds between each other. That turns the egg into a latticework of protein, with water trapped in between. Once the boiled egg cools down, the proteins settle and the bonds solidify to make the rubbery egg. When they’re still hot, though, the bonds between the proteins are moldable, kind of like clay. Try it out in this project and mold an abstract egg!
Floating Egg (Ages 5+)
Does an egg sink or float in water? What if it does both? In this experiment, make an egg sink and float at the same time! The saltwater is saturated with salt, which makes it denser. The egg is less dense than the saltwater, so it floats to the top. When the freshwater is poured into the jar, it also floats above the saltwater. However, the water on its own is less dense than the egg, so the egg doesn’t move. The egg floats at the top of the saltwater, but sinks below the freshwater! Experiment further with a hard-boiled egg!
Egg in Vinegar Experiment (Ages 5+)
When you submerge a raw egg in the vinegar, you’ll see bubbles forming on the surface. Those bubbles are full of carbon dioxide – just like the bubbles in a glass of soda. You’re seeing a reaction between a compound in the eggshell (calcium carbonate) and an acid in the vinegar (acetic acid). This reaction creates carbon dioxide (and some other things) and breaks down the eggshell in the process. The membrane underneath the shell doesn’t react, so it’s left behind. Once the shell is completely gone, all that’s left is the flexible membrane, giving you a bouncy “rubber” egg!
Glowing Bouncy Egg (Ages 5+)
This experiment is just like the egg in vinegar experiment (above) but the addition of fluorescent ink and a black light makes the egg glow! The vinegar dissolves the eggshell leaving a thin membrane. Since membranes let some stuff pass through (like the water in the vinegar and the highlighter fluid) some of the fluorescent molecules travel into the egg. When you shine a black light on the rubbery egg, the fluorescent molecules glow in the dark.
Egg Geodes (Ages 9+)
Though geodes may look like ordinary rocks, they are like secret treasure chests! Crack a geode it open, and you may be amazed to find the cavity filled with gorgeously colored crystals. Try this experiment and grow your very own borax crystals in a shell! Experiment with different borax concentrations and see how big your crystals can grow.
Egg Drop Project (Ages 9+)
When you drop an egg, fall itself doesn’t cause it to crack! When the egg hits the ground and stops, its speed changes very quickly. In physics terms, the egg has a high acceleration. The more acceleration the egg has, the more force it feels from the impact. So a sudden change in speed means a lot of force. But the reverse is also true: the less acceleration the egg has, the less force it feels from hitting the ground. If there’s a way to slow down how quickly the egg’s speed drops to 0 miles per hour, then maybe it could survive the fall AND the stop at the end. Try it out!
Egg-in-a-bottle (Ages 9+)
Impress your friends and family with this simple, quick, and super-cool science trick! You’ll learn how to harness the power of expanding and contracting gasses to suck an egg into a bottle in which it would never normally fit. As the flame burns inside the bottle, it heats up the air around it, causing it to expand. If you saw your egg vibrating slightly, this was because the air was escaping from the bottle. When the flame goes out, the air in the bottle cools and shrinks. This is what sucks your egg into the bottle!