It’s half term (really!) so you may well be taking it easy this week with regards to the school work. However, if the kids are a little bored, there are loads of easy science experiments and activities you can do at home with just a few household ingredients.

Here are our favourite ones from the Buump Active team…

  • Home-made lava lamp

If you’re a child of the eighties or nineties, chances are you had a lava lamp in your bedroom as a kid! You can make your own super-amazing one with a few simple household ingredients.

Pour approx half oil and half water into a glass, and wait until they separate. Add several drops of food colouring (tip – you can use an old Calpol syringe as a dropper!) and then finally, drop in an effervescent ant-acid tablet. Wait until it starts fizzing and watch the magic unfold! The effect is due to the polarity of the liquids and density. 

You will need: A glass, oil (vegetable / sunflower is best), water, food colouring and an “fizzing” antacid tablet such as an alka-seltzer.

  • Make-your-own volcano!

Grab some modelling clay, and make your own volcano shape, leaving a dip so you can add in your wet ingredients. Add a squirt of washing up liquid, a little water, a good glug of white vinegar and a few drops of red / orange food colouring. Next, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the volcano and watch it erupt! It’s a good idea to set the volcano on a tray so the “lava” doesn’t stain anything during this very cool chemistry experiment…

You will need: modelling clay or play doh, washing up liquid, food colouring, white vinegar, water and baking soda, a tray. 

  • Germs and soap – why hand washing works

If you want to teach kids about the importance of hand washing during the Covid-19 crisis, and explain easily how soap gets rid of germs, put some water on a plate, and sprinkle in loads of pepper.

Next up, let your children dip their fingers into the water and watch the “germs” cling on. Then, coat their finger in washing up liquid and put it into the plate or bowl. Watch as the germs “run away” from the finger!  

You will need: A plate, water, pepper, washing up liquid

  • Magic Molecules Milk 

Add some milk into a shallow dish or plate, and add a few drops of three or four different food colourings. Nothing seems to happen, until…Coat a cotton bud with washing up liquid and dip that end into the middle of the bowl. Watch with awe as the magic unfolds as the molecules react and send the colours swirling and moving around the dish.  This experiment shows how the different molecules in milk such as the fats and proteins react with the soap molecules. 

You will need: Milk (dairy), a plate or dish, several different food colourings, washing up liquid.

  • Egg in a bottle 

Hard-boil an egg and let it cool down. Next, grab a glass bottle and let the children gently try and push the egg into the top. Of course, this is impossible without breaking or crushing the egg. 

Then (carefully) add in some boiling water from the kettle and place the egg back on top of the bottle. Watch with wonder as the hot air sucks the egg into the bottle without breaking it!

The heat changes the air pressure inside the bottle.

You will need: A glass bottle, an egg, hot water.

  • Beautiful blooming water lilies 

Draw some varying-size flowers on a piece of paper, bit make sure the middle part is the same size for each flower. Next, have loads of fun colouring in the petals.

Place the flowers on top of each other, largest at the bottom, and fold up all the petals so the middle part of the flower is hidden.

Fill a shallow bit wide bowl up with an inch or so of water, and float your water lily on the top. Watch with awe as the petals magically unfold and the flower blooms, right in front of your eyes!   For a bigger wow factor, add bye food colouring and glitter into the water to make your pond. This simple activity teaches children about capillary action. 

You can see blogger and influencer Shelley Loves doing this activity with her kids here

You will need: Paper, scissors, felts, water, a dish.

Please note, all of these experiments and activities are designed to be done as a family and will need lots of input and careful supervision from mum or dad, especially where ingredients such as hot water are involved.