Remember the science activities from your childhood? It’s time to bring those back for our kids. This list of 20 classic science experiments for kids is filled with time-honored ideas to introduce to the next generation of scientists. These science experiments are also as easy to set-up as they are fun to explore.
What are the best science experiments for kids?
There are certain science activities that are absolute classics. Our parents did them. We did them. Now our children take on this science learning. These are the science experiments for kids that have stood the test of time and for good reasons.
Science is magical.
Experiments make that magic come to life.
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Are these kid friendly science experiments?
The science experiments for kids in this blog post are as easy as they come. That’s part of the reason these activities have been passed down from generation to generation.
Introducing children to science that they can relate to and engage with is an important step on the STEM development journey.
A childhood science experiment doesn’t have to complicated, full of supplies, or overly rigorous to be fun and memorable.
Science exploration in early childhood is worth promoting. Kids need this valuable introduction into science – and we don’t have to wait for school to show them.
Make plans at-home to do a science experiment each week or even just once a month. Science nights at my house are so popular, and it doesn’t take much.
Tip – Use science experiments to introduce the scientific method
Remember the scientific method? You learned it at some point – middle school maybe? High school chemistry?
Kids can start learning parts of the scientific method and scaffold a version of it with these science experiments.
As you walk your children through the experiment, keep in mind the steps of the scientific method and look for chances to add this into your discussions:
- Gather supplies
- Make a hypothesis (prediction, guess)
- Do the experiment
- Write down results
- Talk about the results
- State the conclusion/what you found out
- Report results (to anyone!)
Using kid-friendly language and thinking of your child’s developmental level, hit whichever parts of the scientific method you can in each experiment.
The goal is not that children memorize each step of the method, but rather they get familiar with science terms (hypothesis, experiment, results, conclusion). This will support their future learning and future science education.
The best science experiments for kids list
I know you’ll recognize some of these experiments from your childhood and I hope this inspires you to try them at your house.
There’s magic to be found in science experiments.
Remember to use fantastic supervision and parental judgment with these science experiments.
Exploring Oil and Water
Drops of colored water into vegetable oil and you’ve got one of the best science activities for kids. The difference in density leaves the water in bubbles. It’s mind blowing.
All you need is milk, food coloring and dish soap for this absolutely memorable experiment. Watch as the food coloring dances and swirls across the milk (it’s one of my personal favorites).
How Do Arctic Animals Stay Warm?
Ever wonder how animals in the arctic stay warm? Instead of only reading the answer from a book, try this experiment along with your learning. Show kids in a hands-on way HOW and WHY animals are able to survive in cold temperatures with this activity.
Grow a Rainbow
Want to grow a rainbow AND learn about chromatography? This science experiment only needs water, paper towels, and markers but it is a major wow factor.
Have you made Oobleck? Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid (it’s a liquid AND a solid), and needs just cornstarch and water to make. It’s a must try experiment.
Mentos + Diet Coke
Do you remember dropping Mentos in Diet Coke when you were in middle school? Only me? My family truly does this experiment on repeat.
My only suggestion is to pair this experiment with a Mentos geyser tube to help with dropping the Mentos into Diet coke. It’s sold on Amazon.
How Hand Soap Works
Help kids learn the importance of soap in this very simple (but super impactful) experiment. This experiment is great at the start of potty training, the beginning of a school year, or as flu season begins.
Baking Soda + Vinegar
Here’s the twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment from childhood. More baking soda. Colored vinegar. It’s so much more satisfying than the one-and-done volcano.
Elephant Toothpaste is the COOLEST. Full disclosure: it does need a special ingredient (high strength hydrogen peroxide) but it’s worth it.
What happens when you soak an egg in vinegar? It’s actually so cool and you’ll enjoy this as much as the kids.
Color Mixing (and “un”mixing)
Mix colors AND watch them separate again? Yes, please. These color changing sensory bottles are way cool.
Color Changing Flowers
Did you ever try this experiment as a kid? Color changing flowers is like the quintessential childhood science experiment.
DIY Lava Lamp
You’ve got to see this Lava Lamp Experiment. Grab your Alka-Seltzer (I know, right!) because kids (and you) will love it.
Trying to explain gases to kids? It’s hard when you can’t see them. Try this experiment where gas pressure builds inside a bag and explodes it.
Rain in a Jar
Want to show your child how a rain cloud works? Have them make this rain cloud in a jar. It’s a really good visual for this part of the water cycle.
Skittles Melting Rainbow
The Skittles rainbow experiment is the COOLEST – so grab a pack of candy and try this activity. Your kids will be shocked!
Egg in a Bottle
This is an experiment on air pressure where a hard boiled egg is sucked into a glass jar. It’s really exciting to watch!
Bean in a Bag
One of our favorites: you can grow a bean in a bag! Watch the roots and stem develop right before your eyes – I used to do this every year with my class. It never got old.
Balloon Filling Experiment
Fill a balloon magically (with gasses) in this science experiment. Lots of wow-factor as the balloon inflates “on its own.”
This is a simple must-do: make raisins dance in soda. It makes me laugh every time we do it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Science is so accessible in the preschool years, but we often focus more on memorizing numbers and letters than providing kids with rich experiences in science. Providing access to nature, non-fiction books, and simple experiments is a great way to help preschoolers build background knowledge with science that will some day assist them in their math and reading acquisition.
Remember, think stages not ages when considering science experiments. Don’t worry so much about a child’s age but their interest level and whether the experiment will be eye-catching to them or something they’d want to be a part of.
I strongly recommend from the toddler age on that kids have access to non-fiction texts. They may not be able to read them yet (and won’t for many years) but seeing the non-fiction photos sparks interest and curiosity.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.