In case you didn’t already know, it’s National Chemistry Week. This week is designed to help people see the beauty of chemistry, especially that which is used in our everyday lives. You don’t have to be a chemist to value chemistry as most people wind up using it on a daily basis. From cooking and cleaning to keeping up with your hygiene, chemistry is something we should all celebrate. If you have children, then celebrating chemistry can be more fun than you’d expect. These ten projects will have the entire household celebrating because they are loads of fun. On top of that, you can conduct these experiments with items found in your home, which will save you a bundle of money. So, get ready to experience chemistry in new ways during National Chemistry Week.
1. Freeze Water
It’s easy to toss some water in the freezer and forget about it for a few hours. However, for the sake of chemistry you might try freezing water outside of the freezer. For this task, you will need a full water bottle, ice, salt, thermometer and a bowl. Place the ice and salt in a bowl and then add in the water. The temperature of the bowl needs to be 17 degrees Fahrenheit for this trick to work. Once the bottle has been cooled to this temperature for ten minutes, pull the bottle out and hit it on the table. The water should instantly freeze. It might take a few tries to get the task done correctly though, so don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t. When you do get the hang of it, you might consider using soda or juice to make an instant slush that kids can snack on. You can also use the method to make ice cream, which is certain to be a crowd pleaser. There’s lots of recipes online for this trick too!
You’ve probably seen a DIY volcano at every science fair you’ve ever been too. So, making this project at home can be a lot of fun. Best of all, it will allow you to add in a geology lesson while celebrating chemistry. You don’t even have to go out of your way to make the volcano portion if you don’t want to. However, if you do, this can be easily created with paper Mache. Once you have your volcano made, then add baking soda to the inside. When combined with vinegar, your volcano should smoke and erupt just like the real deal. You can even use food coloring to make it even more realistic.
3. Homemade Rocket
Rockets are a quick way to get any child’s attention. Luckily, you can easily make your own rocket at home in a wide variety of ways. One way to make a homemade rocket is to use common supplies at home that include a water bottle, mouth wash, pasta and yeast. You can also keep it simple by using a classic Mentos and diet coke mixture. If you don’t want to actually mix chemicals yourself, then it is simple and cheap to opt for a store bought rocket that you put together. These can be found in most hobby or science shops, but are also easy to find online. There are so many ways to make a rocket at home though, so make sure to browse around online to see what method works best for your family.
4. Lava Lamp
Lava lamps can bring hours of entertainment to children. However, purchasing one can actually be quite expensive, especially for how easy it is to make your home. So, you might want to pull up your sleeves and help the kids make their own lava lamp that they will be proud to show off to their friends. All you need for this task is a glass container, heat source, wax, food coloring and water. Simply add the wax to the container then fill with water and food coloring of your choice. Secure the lid and then place the lamp over a heat source. As the wax heats it will float in the water as the two won’t mix. If you aren’t keen on using a heat source, then mix up water, baby oil and food coloring into a transparent bottle. The water and oil won’t mix which will recreate the same effect as a lava lamp without the dangerous aspect.
5. Waterproof Sand
This is actually a great project if you have younger children. The project is quite easy to do too. All you need is to grab some sand from your child’s sandbox or your local department store. Place the sand on a baking tray and then spray it with a fabric protector of your choice. Make sure to stir the mixture and give it an extra spray. Once you’ve done this, bake the mixture for a little while. Then you pull it out and let it cool, kids can play with it for hours without having to worry about a muddy mess. You can even dye the sand to add extra fun to the mixture.
6. Liquid Art
Liquid Art is another fun way to keep kids of all ages entertained. This project is actually very easy to complete too. All you need is some milk, dish soap and food coloring. Place the milk on a large baking tray for a larger project or a Styrofoam plate if each child plans on making an individual work of art. Once the milk is poured, add some dish soap to the surface. Then, add a single drop of food coloring. The color will begin to swirl. After you’re tired of watching one color then add a drop of another color. You can do this until everyone is tired of the project. If you want to keep a record of everyone’s then simply record the swirls as they happen using your phone. You can always compare the videos if you choose to repeat the project in the future.
7. Make Slime
Without a doubt, slime is one of the most favored projects for younger children. Not only does it teach kids about mixtures, but it also creates a toy that they can use for quite some time. There are quite of few different recipes for slime to choose from too. So, browse around and try a few to see which works best for your needs. One of the more common options for slime is to use glue, so you might want to stock up on this if you’re planning on making a lot of slime. Don’t forget to add in some food coloring, glitter or other accessories to add to the fun. You can store your slime in a recycled container like an old Playdough container or just a mason jar or Tupperware.
8. Grow Crystals
Crystals seem to be expensive items, especially to children. However, you can actually grow your own crystals at home. There are lots of tutorials online, but the most common uses Borax. The best thing about growing your own crystals is the fact that you can make them into a wide variety of shapes. Since winter is right around the corner, you might try shaping yours into a snowflake. You can even make your crystals a variety of colors. If you’re looking for an edible treat then you can make rock crystals out of sugar, which is certain to appease the children. So, have a little fun while you learn about crystallization.
9. Clean Coins
Another fun task it to have kids clean up the coins found in the house. You might take some time to collect as many coins as you can, so you will have a wide variety of items to clean. This task is especially great for the whole family because you don’t really even need to use harsh chemicals in order to do this project. Instead, set out a few glasses and fill them with various liquids found in the home. You can use tap water, bottled water, a variety of sodas and juices, milk and mouthwash. Leave the coins in each glass for a few hours and see which liquids cleaned and which didn’t. This can also show children how bad sodas can be for their body and teeth, if you’re trying to pass on a health lesson too.
10. Colored Fire
Making colored fire is definitely a task that needs to be done with parental supervision. This is also the only task on the list that will require you to branch out and purchase items that aren’t generally found in the home. Of course, you will have a whole lot of fun with the task though. All you need are some minerals which can be found in many local stores as well as online, and a safe place to start and maintain a fire. Simply add minerals to the fire to see what color they make the fire burn. Before you begin this task make sure you do a lot of research to see which minerals can be used and any effects the minerals might have when burned. Also, make sure to follow safety precautions at all times. If you follow the instructions properly then this activity will make a cold day incredibly exciting for all.
There are so many fun things you can do during National Chemistry Week. These ten ideas only scratch the surface, so if you want a little more to conquer then look around online or find an old chemistry textbook to see what you can come up with. This week is certain to help you add some frugal fun to your family bonding time though, while also helping everyone appreciate chemistry a little bit more.