Fun Science Experiments to Do Indoors

Ashley B | December 5, 2012 | 22 Comments

During your child’s winter break and on snowy weekends throughout the winter, you’ll be looking for ways to keep everyone occupied with their brains engaged. My kids love doing science experiments, the messier the better! Since it’s not really the season to let them make slime and explode volcanoes outside in most parts of the country, and you probably don’t want them doing these activities indoors, here are some science experiments you can do in your kitchen without having to call in a cleaning crew later.

  • Tornado in a bottle. If you have an educational supply store nearby, you can pick up a Tornado Tube for a couple of dollars. This is the simplest way to make a tornado; you spin two 2-liter soda bottles, one filled 3/4 of the way with water, onto the tube, give it a swirl, and watch the “tornado” form. If you don’t have a Tornado Tube, try this: Fill one 2-liter bottle about 2/3 of the way with water, and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid, along with a sprinkle of glitter to make the effect more visible. Put the top on the bottle, hold it upside down by the neck and start moving the bottle in a circle. See if you can get it to form a twister.
  • Oil and water bottles. If you have empty 1-liter water bottles lying around, you can keep the kids busy for a while by filling them about 2/3 with water (add a few drops of food coloring) and the rest of the way with vegetable oil. Put the top on tightly. The water and oil won’t mix, so it will have a lava-lamp appearance. Encourage your child to shake the bottle; the oil and water will emulsify for a little while, but will eventually separate again.
  • Water tension experiments. Water has a “skin” on it that you can’t see, but here are two ways that you can show your kids. For the first, fill a shallow bowl with water. Let it settle for a few seconds, then sprinkle on some black pepper. The pepper will float. Have your child gently place a finger in the middle of the pepper; a few grains will sink and some will stick to his finger, but most will remain floating on the surface of the water. Next, place a drop of dishwashing liquid on your child’s finger and have him gently touch the surface of the water. The pepper will fly to the sides of the bowl; as the soap breaks the surface tension.
  • The other water tension experiment is to again fill a bowl (one without any soap residue) with water. Lay a small paperclip across the tines of a fork. Place the fork in the water gently, allowing the paperclip to float off of the fork onto the surface of the water. To show your child that it’s floating on the water surface, show her that paperclips don’t float; she can’t drop one into the bowl of water without it sinking.

A book like The Backyard Scientist will give you lots of other ideas for exploring scientific principles while using items around your house… and not making a huge mess in the process. Are there any science experiments that you enjoy doing with your kids indoors?

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  1. Summer Davis says:

    WOW! The water tension one sounds amazing! I didn’t realize that a paperclip could float! There are some great ideas here and we’ll need them. My son goes to year-round school and he has a 3 week break coming up in addition to his Winter Break!

  2. Renata Lopes says:

    this is a great idea thanks for sharing.

  3. Kelvin Justine says:

    New things is really fun to discover with your family.

  4. Toni Cosgrove says:

    This looks like such fun. We just made crystals using rock candy…kids love learning when they can see and touch.

  5. denise smith says:

    i am always tring to think of ideas for the kids to do when they are home thanks so much

  6. Diana Heiner says:

    Thanks so much for sharing….My girls are going to have fun with this!

  7. Liza says:

    Great ideas! We’re going to have a long Christmas break, the kids would definitely have fun trying all these.

  8. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    Great ideas! I homeschool and am always looking for stuff we can do at home. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Bonnie says:

    I think I will try to do some of these with my grandaughter. Fun fun fun

  10. San says:

    I’ve never thought of doing science experiments with my kids, thanks for sharing these great ideas.

  11. Elena says:

    great ideas for a rainy weather. thanks for sharing!

  12. Chrystal D says:

    These sound fun & educational, thanks for the ideas!

  13. Debra Givens Wagner says:

    My grandkids will love these ideas, especially my grandson..thanks

  14. Lourdes Guerra says:

    these are safe for toddlers of 4 years old? I might do one of the science experiments with my niece thanks :]

  15. naomi c says:

    these look like fun – thanks for the ideas!

  16. tami s says:

    Neer knew a paperclip would float. Love this ideas thanks!

  17. Wendy T says:

    This is some good stuff! I like it.

  18. Christina Kelbel says:

    Very cool posting, my son would really enjoy doing these.

  19. Karen Glatt says:

    These would be really fun science experiments to do over the Winter Holiday! So many of them look like fun. I will be having my nephew for a few days, and I am sure that we could do some of these fun indoor things!

  20. Rama says:

    Wow! thanks for the ideas, I love science since I was a kid, I always enjoyed making a volcano out of clay & using baking soda and vinegar for the eruption 😉 chemical reaction!!!!

  21. carla bonesteel says:

    When I was a kid, my brother and sister and I would find all kinds of things to experiment on in the house. My mother would let us use whatever we wanted, as long as it was safe..Boy, did we make a mess!

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