Updated: Feb 29
Science always holds a fascination for kids. They do not need to know all of the reasons why things happen at the start, you just have to encourage exploration and the passion for wanting to find out more.
You can do some really fun experiments just by using what you have already in your kitchen.
We had our own Science Fortnight where our main focus for the two weeks was doing a different experiment each day. This is a summery of all the things we did for that period of time.
Kitchen Science-Day 1
Walking Water: Part One
Children love Science activities, so how about conducting some experiments from the everyday materials you can find in your home. This is what we are setting out to do over the next 10 days. One experiment a day from items readily available in the house.
We all know there are thousands of experiments to do with your children on the internet, but a lot of them involve using harsh or dangerous chemicals, and things you have to order or go out and buy. Some of these are much better suited to older children that can be trusted with the equipment and the chemicals used.
Tiny, because of his age and his abilities, can have just as much fun with Kitchen Science, and he can watch some of the other experiments or do them himself when he is a little older.
So, day one.
First we talked about how we could move water, without touching it, from one glass to another. He laughed and said it couldn't be done. Then we dropped a small amount of water on the table and with kitchen paper towel we watched as the water was absorbed. We then talked about how we could use this absorption to make the water move.
We set up our glasses on the tray and put water in every other glass. Then we added some food colouring. We talked about what might happen when the colours touched each other.
We then needed to wait to see what would happen. This was a good learning point for Tiny, as he expects things to happen right away.
After about an hour we came back to check on the water and to see if it had magically moved.
He was very surprised and happy to see that the water had moved into the empty glasses. And not only that, the colour had changed.
This led onto a discussion about what others things in the kitchen are absorbent.
Time for part two of the experiment.
Walking Water: Part Two
For this next part we talked about keeping everything the same except for one thing. This was going to be a controlled experiment. We discussed that it is very important in science to have controlled experiments and that it is called a fair test.
First will filled up 5 glasses with water and left 5 glasses empty.
Then we cut strips of kitchen cloth, A4 printer paper, a serviette, card and kitchen paper so that they were all the same size.
Next Tiny put a few drops of food colouring into each glass of water.
Finally, he put one end of the material into the filled glass and the other end into the empty glass.
We used the same amount of water in each cup and the same food colouring.
This time, Tiny wanted to time the test to see what would happen.
We used his plastic clock to show the time lapse on the photos. He said that was a good idea for people to see.
The dish cloth was the clear winner, with the paper kitchen towel coming a close second. The serviette was next and then the A4 printer paper. The poor card was struggling, and although it did absorb some water, it was not enough to get the water into the empty glass.
There was one strange outcome that I was not expecting.
The serviette and the A4 paper filtered out the red food colouring. That has to be an experiment for another day.
We hope you try this experiment.
Next, we will be looking at salt and ice.
First week of science and already so many questions have been raised. It really has put the phase 'What would happen if...' into use. When I told Tiny that we were going to do one experiment each day for two weeks it has generated a lot of excitement about finding out new things. Some of the ideas he has are beyond what we can do with regular things we have in the kitchen, but we will try to answer some of his questions as best as we can.
Tiny wanted to re-visit something we have done many times before. He asked if making slime was science. We talked about it and agreed that it was. We were taking two ingredients and changing them into something else. He said that was like cooking and when we make our pancakes. We agreed that cooking is like science and this led us to talk about changing materials. We then thought about what materials we could change from the kitchen, and then if we could change them back to the way they started. He was happy when we agreed that we might look at that problem later in the week. Lot's of science related discussion that I hadn't expected.
When I looked up the science behind slime, I decided that for an 8 year old it might be a little complicated to understand - so we talked about how the glue was a runny material and when we added the liquid soap a chemical in the soap stopped the glue from being so runny.
If you want to know the science behind it for yourself then here it is in a nutshell - Slime is all about polymers! A polymer is made up of very large chains of molecules. ... Slime activators (borax, saline solution, or liquid starch) change the position of these molecules in a process called cross linking! This is the reaction between the PVA glue and the borate ions in your slime activator.
Too much information at this stage, but we can revisit the science when he is older.
Slime is great fun to make, and we got so caught up in what we were doing that I forgot to take new photos. These photos are from a previous slime day so I'm sorry about that. If you want to know more about making slime then follow this link to the Gloop and Slime page.
If you want to see what polymers are check out this You Tube video
Day 3 - Salt and Ice
First, we started talking about why the lorries come round in the winter and put salt on the roads. Tiny hadn't thought about it before, but he did say that maybe it was to stop the cars from slipping.
I then explained that ice melts faster when salt is added as the salt lowers the freezing point of the ice. Then we decided that it would be best to test it out for ourselves.
We put some small ice cubes and some larger ones in a tray and then pinched a little salt on the top. It was very difficult to see what was happening so I suggested that we use some food colouring so that we could see a little better.
This was great fun. And it didn't stop there. Tiny then decided that he wanted to add different colours to see what would happen.
Next he wanted to see if he could make holes in the middle of the large ice cubes by pouring more salt very carefully in the middle. This was quite successful and he was very happy with the result.
After that he wanted to add a lot of salt. The ice was melting beautifully.
He was very happy with the results.
When there was too much coloured water in the tray, he wanted to use his pipette to transfer the water into a small bowl - and then pour it back again... And again.
It is often very difficult to get Tiny to focus on one thing for very long, but today he was very happy to play with the ice and salt for a very long time.
Later in the week I think we will use salt again to show him how to magically lift a piece of ice with string.
For tomorrow's testing we have had to start today.
I asked Tiny to put and egg in a glass and fill the glass with vinegar.
I explained that the vinegar would do something to the shell of the egg but it would take all night for it to happen. He wanted to know what it was, but I said he would have to wait and see.
We looked at what was happening in the glass and we saw lots of bubbles on the surface of the egg.
He can't wait to see what's going to happen.
Roll on day 4.
What has happened to the egg?
At first all went well. Tiny was excited to see what happened to the egg and wanted to share his findings with everyone.
The egg was taken out of the glass very carefully and Tiny started to rub away the remaining shell that was still left on the egg.
What I forgot to tell him was - BE GENTLE -. Anyone that has ever met Tiny will know that he finds it very difficult to be gentle. Which is great when he's putting icing on a cake and squeezing the piping bag, but not so good when he's holding a shell-less egg.
Within seconds the egg burst open onto the kitchen paper. He was very surprised to see a raw egg, he thought that the vinegar was going to cook it and that it would be hard like a hard boiled egg.
I explained that the vinegar had dissolved the hard shell but the egg was still held together by something called the membrane. It was funny seeing his expression. He wanted to try it again, so we placed another egg in vinegar and decided to wait until Saturday to find out what would happen to it.
Today is all about exploding paint. I put small drops of paint into the well of a muffin tray and covered the paint with bicarbonate of soda. Then I let Tiny loose.
I told him he could put vinegar or lemon juice over the top of the soda mixture to see what would happen.
He wanted to see which would make the most fizz.
He was very happy watching the bubble fizz up.
Until, in the end the bubbles started to overflow.
He continued with this mixing and pouring until he ran out of vinegar and lemon juice.
The science behind it.
When baking soda is mixed with vinegar, a reaction takes place. The two chemicals, acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate, do not mix with each other; therefore causing a reaction.
When the two chemicals are mixed, a new chemical is formed called carbolic acid. This chemical is very unstable and therefore it instantly starts falling apart and it turns into carbon dioxide and water.
Bubbles begin floating around the top of the experiment. The bubbles, produced by this reaction, are actually the carbon dioxide escaping. Carbon dioxide is a gas and therefore does not mix with water. The carbon dioxide escapes from the water through the bubbles. Carbon dioxide is the air we exhale when we breathe.
Tiny loves the reaction between bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. He had great fun when he made volcano's last year.
Later on in the afternoon, Tiny said he wanted to make up his own experiment. I asked him what it was going to be and what he wanted to find out. He replied that he wanted to see what would happen if he mixed flour, oil and paint together.
So, that's what he did. He had great fun being a scientist. Your never too old for messy play.
I'm looking forward to next week and so is he.
Remember, learning through play is the best way.
And HAVE FUN