Science can be a little intimidating. Whether it's the latest quantum mechanics or organic chemistry research, science can sometimes spin your head. But you don't have to go through eight years of school or work in a high-tech lab to do science. There are plenty of experiments you can do at home. You might even have a few of the materials just lying around the house. Here are a few easy ways for you to see science in action.

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Best Physics Experiments for Kids

Rolling, bouncing, racing, zipping, squishing, and more! Physics is fun, and these simple physics experiments are perfectly fun physics for kids. You can even do it at home or with small groups in the classroom. Whether you are exploring laws of motion, sound waves, or light, physics is everywhere!

Tornado in a Bottle

You can create your own tornado in a bottle. You need two bottles, a tube to connect the bottles, and some water. When you whirl the liquid in the top bottle, it creates a vortex as it drains into the bottom bottle. That's because air must flow up as the water flows down, creating a spiraling tornado. You can add glitter, food dye, or lamp oil to the bottle to make the tornado cooler.

It's never too early to start teaching your child about science and physics!
Babies begin exploring the world around them from inside the womb and become more curious as they become more mobile, and their minds develop. | Photo credit: quinn.anya on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Rainbow in a Glass

This experiment takes advantage of density to create a rainbow in a glass. When you add sugar to a liquid, it causes the solution to become denser. The more sugar you add, the more dense the solution is. If you have four different solutions with different colors and densities, the colors will layer on top of each other -- the denser, more sugary solutions will sit on the bottom, and the lightest will sit on the top.

Gooey Slime

When you mix glue, water, and a little food coloring, add some borax, and a gooey slime forms. That's because the glue has something called polyvinyl acetate in it, which is a liquid polymer. The borax links the polyvinyl acetate molecules to each other, creating one large, flexible polymer: slime.

Ferromagnetic Fluid

This experiment makes it easy to see magnetic fields in action. All you need is some iron oxide, some water, and a jar. When you place an extremely powerful magnet along the outside of the jar, the iron filings attract it, piling up, and following the magnet as you move it around.

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More Fun Physics Experiments to Try at Home

Physics is the natural science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force. The goal of studying physics is to understand how our world, and by extension, how our universe works! Here are a few simple science experiments for kids to explore density, gravity, electricity, and pressure. You probably already have the materials you’ll need laying around the house: eggs, water, food coloring, oranges, a comb, and even spaghetti!

Changing the Density of Water

Have you ever seen a lake freeze in winter? When the temperature drops, a sheet of ice forms across the top, but the lake is still there underneath the ice layer. Why does this happen, and why do you think it’s important? We’ll tackle these questions in the following experiment. We’ll closely examine the effects of temperature on water and see what happens when you try to mix differently tempered water.

What You’ll Need:

  • Two containers such as jars or measuring cups
  • Water
  • Food coloring

Directions

  1. Add approximately four cups of water to a container. Add 2-3 drops of blue food coloring and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Heat approximately 1 cup of water to steaming or just boiling. Add 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring and mix well.
  3. Slowly pour ~1/4 cup of cold water into the hot water. Make sure to pour very slowly along the side of the container so minimal mixing. You should see two layers form. Time how long it takes for the two layers to gradually come together to make a single green layer.

Explanation

Changing the temperature of water affects its density. When water heats up, its molecules vibrate and move around. This makes the space between them increase, resulting in a lower density. As the water cools down, its molecules slow down and come closer together. This makes the water denser. The cooled water in our experiment sank to the bottom because it had a higher density than the heated water. It turned green because it touched some hot water on the way down, cooling it down and making it sink.

In nature, this phenomenon is responsible for a process called “turnover.” The sinking of cooler water and the rising of warmer water causes the layers of a lake to mix, allowing nutrients such as oxygen to be dispersed throughout. So why doesn’t a lake freeze solid from the bottom up? The density of water continues to rise until it reaches freezing, but then its density changes again. Ice is far less dense than liquid water, so any water that freezes rises to the top.

The ice forms a layer across the surface of the lake, but the lake remains liquid underneath, allowing the plant and animal life to survive through the winter.

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You can create fun science activities for your kids using simple household toys like lego. | Photo on Foter.com

How to Make an Orange Sink or Swim

When trying to guess if an object will float, it’s useful to consider its density. Density is defined as mass per unit of volume, and objects with a higher mass-to-volume ratio have a higher density. Objects that are denser than water will sink, while those that are less dense will stay afloat.

Because it’s less dense than water, an unpeeled orange will float. It should stand to reason that peeling an orange and, thereby, decreasing its mass should have little or no effect. What happens is the opposite. It may seem counterintuitive, but in the following experiment, we’ll see that peeling an orange makes it sink.

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What You’ll Need:

  • A wide-mouth container such as a jar
  • An orange
  • Water

Directions

  1. Fill the jar with enough water to cover an orange, should it be submerged.
  2. Gently place an unpeeled orange into the water. Observe what happens. Does the orange sink or float?
  3. Remove the orange from the jar and peel it.
  4. Place the peeled orange back into the jar. What happens to the orange now?

Explanation

It may seem like peeling the orange should allow it to float even better since we’re removing some of its mass and making it lighter by peeling it. What we observe is that peeling an orange makes it sink. This seems illogical until you consider the nature of density.

Density is defined as mass per volume. An orange peel is highly porous, meaning it has lots of tiny holes. The holes are essentially tiny bubbles of air. These air pockets are empty spaces or pockets of no mass that, when calculating the total density, serve to decrease the final result. When you take away the peel, the air pockets are removed. Now, the orange has a higher density because its mass per unit of volume goes up. The orange is now denser than water. It therefore sinks. So, while it seems to go against reason, the result is adhering to density rules.

How to Use Gravity to Tell if an Egg is Cooked

“Gravity” is the force that draws us toward the earth, and it’s responsible for making things fall to the ground when thrown up or dropped from a distance. The “center of gravity,” or the “center of mass,” is the point at which an object’s weight is concentrated. It can be considered the point at which gravity acts on an object.

Having a stable center of gravity makes things like spinning tops possible or for a tightrope walker to balance on a thin wire. We can also take advantage of this phenomenon to determine if an egg is cooked without cracking the egg open!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small pot
  • Water for boiling

Directions

  1. Hard-boil one of the eggs. *Note: this part requires adult supervision. There are several ways to hard-boil an egg, but for the purposes of this experiment, we want to ensure the egg is thoroughly hard-boiled. To achieve this, let the egg sit in actively boiling water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the egg and rinse it under cool water. Place the egg in the refrigerator for an hour or more. This is it, so you can’t tell which egg is cooked by checking the temperature.
  3. Remove the cooked egg and the raw egg from the refrigerator. Spin the eggs, one at a time, on a countertop or clean surface. Note the differences in the way each egg moves. One egg spins smoothly while the other wobbles and is difficult to spin.

Explanation

The contents inside the raw egg’s shell are liquid, so they can move around.  When you try to spin the raw egg, its contents shift around. This makes it, so the egg’s center of gravity constantly changes. Because it doesn’t have a stable center of gravity, the egg doesn’t spin smoothly, as a top would, but wobbles about. The cooked egg, on the other hand, is solid inside. Its center of gravity remains the same. Therefore, the hard-boiled egg will spin smoothly and is easily distinguished from the raw egg without cracking either egg open.

You can find details on how to do small Physics experiments at home by using the Internet.
Kids love anything cool, so why not help them to make slime? | Photo credit: RDECOM on Foter.com

Making a Comb “Magnet”

Chances are, you’ve experienced static electricity at some point. That tiny shock you sometimes feel when you reach for a doorknob, how your hair stands up when you brush it, how your hat clings to your hair – all of these are examples of static electricity.

We’ll use static electricity in this experiment to make a “magnet.” We’ll generate an electric charge on a hair comb and examine how that charge works. By the end of the experiment, we’ll have a better understanding of static electricity, why it behaves the way it does, and what we can do to minimize its effects in our daily life.

Check out these fun Physics games for kids!

What You’ll Need:

  • A hair comb
  • A tissue
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. If your tissue is 2-ply, separate the two layers and use only one. Using scissors, cut the tissue into quarters. Set one of the quarters flat on a tabletop.
  2. Run a comb through your hair several times (at least 12 times) in quick succession. This works best on clean, dry hair and will yield the best results with the finer part of the comb, or the end where the teeth are closer together.
  3. Immediately after running the comb through your hair, touch the comb to one edge of the tissue. You’ll know it worked if the tissue rises up to meet the comb as soon as it comes close. Using your new “magnetic” comb, lift the tissue from the table and up into the air.

Explanation

Static electricity is generated when negatively charged particles called “electrons” are transferred to an object and allowed to accumulate. In the case of our experiment, the object was the comb. Electrons “jumped” from our hair onto the comb, giving the comb a temporary negative charge. Because opposites attract, the negative charges on the comb were drawn to the positive charges on the tissue, and the tissue “stuck” to the comb.

Drier conditions are more conducive to static electrical buildup, which is why you tend to get more static shocks in the winter. This is because water is a great conductor. When there’s moisture, the static electrical charges that naturally build up on a surface can be absorbed by water particles suspended in the air. These water particles aren’t present during dry conditions. Hence, the charges accumulate, only dissipating all at once when they come into contact with another object, such as your hand on a doorknob.

Make Your Kid Experiment With STEM Activities

STEM stands for (science, technology, engineering and math, when these activities are introduced at an early age, kids learn quicker and faster. STEM activities help in inculcating a habit of questioning and understanding everything. Here are few they can try at home:

  1.  Build a Balance Scale
  2. Coding a LEGO® Maze
  3. Pipe Cleaner counting

If you want your kid to understand the laws of physics at an early age, it is important for them to experiment and learn. These experiments will teach them about the basics of the subject that will become essential for their understanding. The ability to innovate will be the main factor for a kid who loves Physics and the ones who don't.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.