Are you looking for a fun and interactive outdoor project to work on with your kids this summer? By gathering some everyday items from around your house, you and your kids can perform some simple water science projects at home — transforming ordinary water into something magical. Enjoy the warm outdoor weather and teach your kids about the science of water with these three fun science projects.
1. Basic Water Science Experiments
To begin your journey into water science experiments, you should work with the basics. Try these three water experiments this summer to learn the essentials:
- Floating vs. sinking: Gather some of your kid’s favorite toys and other household items — measuring cups, plastic toy animals, small plastic cars, blocks, an egg, coffee filters and a sensory ball. Fill a bowl with water, and drop the items inside of it to see which will sink and which will float. Have older children make predictions about which things they think will sink or float. For an advanced water science trick, show how the egg sinks when placed into the water alone but floats when sitting on the coffee filter.
- Air bubbles: Show the magic of water by experimenting with air bubbles submerged in water. Stuff a piece of a paper towel into the bottom of a small cup. Then, with the top down, submerge the cup in the water inside a bowl. When you take it out of the water, have your child try to explain how the paper towel stays dry.
- Colored bubbles: Drop food coloring down the sides of a clear cup. Then, submerge the cub, top down, into the basin of water. Watch as the colored dye dissolves into the water, but above, the air bubble stays in place.
2. The Anti-Gravity Water Trick
For this water science trick, you’ll need only a glass, a t-shirt and water. To begin, place the cloth over the mouth of the glass, then use your finger to press a slight indent into the fabric. This step will help the glass fill with water and dampen the material. Then, fill the glass about three-quarters full with water, and pull the fabric taut over the cup.
At this point, you have two options — either flip the glass quickly, using one hand to hold the fabric tightly, or place one hand over the top and use the other to hold the material and slowly turn the glass upside down. With either method, you’ll notice the water won’t pour out. This trick uses gravity and the high surface tension in water to keep everything in place using the cloth. See what happens to the water when you dab detergent, soap or other liquids onto the cloth.
3. The Pepper and Water Experiment
Similar to the anti-gravity trick, the pepper and water science experiment explores the surface tension of water. For this project, you’ll need a shallow dish, pepper, dishwashing liquid and water.
Fill the dish with water and sprinkle pepper over the top, then dip your finger in the water — nothing will happen. Then, do the same with a bit of detergent on the tip of your finger, and watch as the pepper retreats to the edges of the plate. With the detergent addition, the surface tension of the water is lowered.
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