The school science lab may feel like a distant memory for kids at the moment, but that doesn't mean they have to stop learning. The weird and wonderful world of science can be explored almost anywhere, using basic materials you probably already have at your house. Let's take a look at some simple science experiments that you can enjoy in the backyard or on the kitchen table.
You can make a functional volcano using nothing more than 100ml of warm water, 10ml of soap, 400ml of vinegar, and a 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup water slurry. While an empty plastic bottle is also required, and some food colouring will enhance the experience, this experiment is about as simple as you can get. Pour everything except the baking soda slurry into the bottle, mix the slurry with a spoon, and combine it with the rest of the ingredients inside the bottle while you step back and enjoy the eruption.
A chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide, with this gas needing more room than the bottle allows and expanding as a result. Home science experiments like this are more than fun, they're a great way to learn the basics of how the world works and why. When kids see chemical reactions with their own eyes, they're much more likely to leave an impression. The pH scale is another foundation of science that's easy to explore at home.
In order to teach your kids about acids and bases, all you need is a selection of common household products, some glass jars, and a red cabbage. Once you make the red cabbage extract, it will act as a pH indicator to produce a rainbow of colours. Not only does this tell you how acidic or basic your household products are, it also looks fantastic. All you have to do it chop up your cabbage, boil it for a few minutes, strain and cool it, and apply it as an indicator. While household bleach will come out looking yellow, sugar and water will look blue, and lemon juice will come out bright red. ;
If you want to get slightly more complex, you can make your very own lava lamp at home. Once again, the materials are simple, including water, vegetable oil, fizzing tablets, food colouring, and a plastic bottle. All you have to do is fill the bottle 1/4 of the way with water, and pour in the vegetable oil until the bottle is almost full. Add food colours in different combinations to match your mood, and drop in half an Alka Seltzer tablet to create psychedelic bubbly blobs. There are lots of other great experiments you can perform at home, with the Internet full of great ideas for people of all ages. ;