Have you got a budding scientist on your hands? These easy science experiments you can do at home are sure to pique their interest and encourage a love of science.
Here at St Peter’s, our prep school in Devon, we believe in an all-rounded education, taking a hands-on approach to learning. And what better way to get hands-on and stuck into a new subject than with some fun experiments you can do with everyday household items?
Why is Science Important in Primary Education?
Learning about science cultivates curiosity and encourages children to embrace their innately curious natures, allowing them to ask questions and think about things in new ways.
At its core, science is all about discovery; learning about science in school helps children develop the skills they need to make new connections and understand more complex concepts.
Science encourages an investigative approach, helping children learn how to create solutions to problems methodically yet with creativity.
Science education can also promote the development of other important skills, including improving teamwork and communication.
How to Encourage Your Child to Love Science in School
So, how can you encourage your child to get excited about their science lessons?
- Engage your child in conversations about scientific topics. This could include asking questions about their favourite animal, the night sky or any other area they’ve shown an interest in.
- Encourage them not to become overwhelmed by certain scientific topics and instead frame it as something to continuously explore and learn about.
- Go on trips to museums; natural history and science museums are often interactive and provide loads of fun!
- Keep up with recent scientific discoveries together. This can help your child feel more involved and encourages a sustained interest.
- Do safe and exciting science experiments at home to help your child conceptualise concepts they’re learning about at school, as well as piquing their curiosity and developing the analytical mind.
Here are some easy experiments you can do with your child, helping to keep them excited to learn more.
Make a Volcano
This classic experiment is a great visual way to introduce your child to themes of geology and geography.
Start by creating a card cone and securing it around a plastic bottle, leaving the opening unobstructed. You can decorate the card to look like a real volcano with paints or markers. You could also create your volcano out of sand with the bottle to pour your ‘lava’ into still in the middle.
In a bowl, mix one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with one tablespoon of washing up liquid. Pour this mixture into the bottle.
Mix together half a cup of vinegar with a drop of red or orange food colouring. When you’re ready to see your volcanic eruption, pour this into your bottle. Your ‘lava’ will then erupt out of the bottle and down the side of your volcano!
Make Invisible Ink
Kids are bound to have loads of fun writing their very own secret messages while learning about oxidisation. All you need is lemon juice, a cotton swab, white paper and a heat source like a hairdryer.
Add the lemon juice to a small bowl and use the cotton swab like a pen to write your message with the juice onto your paper. Wait for the juice to dry so you can no longer see it.
When you are ready to see the invisible message, hold the paper up to a heat source to reveal what’s been written.
Other liquids can be used in the same way, so experiment with different things to see which makes the best invisible ink!
Chromatography is the process of separating a mixture into its different components; like the different colours used in pens and markers. To see this concept come to life, draw a design on a coffee filter or paper towel with various coloured pens.
Prepare a small cup of water and fold your filter or paper into it so the middle dips into the water.
The different pigments will travel up the filter flower with the water, separating at different levels, creating interesting patterns and displaying all the pigments that went into creating the marker colour.
If your child is a fan of all things sparkly, this is one for them! As the crystals can take a few weeks to grow, this experiment offers a great opportunity for children to hypothesise about what will happen over time.
Here, you will need to set aside two jars and fill one with hot water. Stir in tablespoons of alum (you can find this in most supermarkets) until it stops dissolving. Cover the jar to keep dirt out and leave overnight.
The next day you should see crystals forming at the bottom of the jar. Pour the alum water into your other jar and retrieve the biggest crystal.
Tie this crystal to string or wire and hang into the second jar, now full of the alum water. Now you can sit back and watch your crystal grow over the coming weeks.
You’re sure to have great fun investigating these activities and experiments!
If you would like to find out more about the educational opportunities we offer here at St Peter’s Prep, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.