Science Experiments

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Books on Science Experiments for Kids

When I was putting together the lists for my website, my daughter was waving this book in front of my face:
Smart Kids Science
smart kids science

I picked it up at a dollar store somewhere and it had sat on our shelf for quite a while until my daughter noticed it one day and started flipping through it. She was really excited about some of the experiments in the book that were quite simple. Both she and my son did a few experiments with their Dad already. I don’t know if it is worth the money on Amazon but I have discovered a book with a lot of great reviews that I ordered for Christmas. It is pretty cheap and I think my kids will be thrilled when they see it because they love to do science experiments at home. You’d have to rely on other people-s reviews here because I can tell you more in January or February after we use the book.

The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You!
everything science experiment

Science Experiments Kits

My kids got the following two kits for Christmas and have enjoyed doing several experiments so far. The nice thing about this is that I didn’t need to supervise. My daughter (8) managed just fine without my help.

POOF-Slinky – Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only Kit (9 Activities)
magic science

POOF-Slinky – Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit (11 Activities)
mind blowing science

Science on the Web

As I was reading the School Library Journal, I have come across a post about a fabulous website for older kids (ages 13 and up). Sparticle claims to be the best science on the web and since I read a very good review, I think it is definitely worth checking out. My kids are only 6 and 8 so you just have to take my word for it and give it a try if you have older kids. It is FREE.

It will probably help you to read the review first.


Fun with Dry Ice
dry ice

Many of you probably know about experiments with dry ice. I didn’t think I’d post it here but we have had so much fun with dry ice three times already that I just want to post it here to give you a tip for fun afternoon or for an activity at a birthday party. We used dry ice at two birthday parties and I did dry ice experiments at my son’s school on his “Star of the Week” day–every time it was a huge success.

The experiments are pretty easy. You just need to buy dry ice, have warm water, some dish detergent, a bowl or glass, maybe a plastic cup. Just be aware that if you get it the day before you actually do the experiments because it evaporates even in a cooler so you will have much less than what you bought. I always buy the pellets because they are easy to handle and I don’t have to use any tools to chip off the ice.

You can google dry ice experiments and get plenty of results but it is enough if you watch the following two videos.

Awesome Dry ice Experiments

8 Dry Ice Experiments Compilation (I did not do all in case you are wondering)

Kids always had fun with the smoke and loved the never ending bubbles. My kids spent two hours playing with them, using bowls and spoons yesterday afternoon when I brought home the leftover dry ice from school. They had a blast. I think that kids in school were pretty excited too. They loved touching the bubbles and popping them (smokes comes out of them). All that fun was definitely worth the $10 I paid for the dry ice.


Top Science Fair Project Books

Click on the link above for tips on great books.
Lists of books grouped by a theme.


8 Science YouTube Channels for Kids


I have stumbled upon this list online. Erica’s blog is very useful and I love her recommendations.


Cool and Easy Science Experiments

Here are a few simple science experiments we have recently tried and enjoyed:

Rainbow milk science experiment You can also watch a video here.

Melting Ice science experiment with salt and colors (We did it in the yard–less mess in the house.)

Make a Simple Lava Lamp experiment
lava lamp

Balloon Rocket
balloon rocket
We only had round balloons at home and they worked fine. We did the experiment in the yard. Then our kids tried the experiment at a friend’s birthday party with the long balloons and they work a bit better but don’t give up on this experiment if you only have the regular kind.

Bubble Bomb We added food coloring to the water to make it more fun.
bubble bomb

Dancing Raisins
dancing raisins
We have only tried raisins so far. Our raisins were pretty big and we found out that they danced better when we tore them into smaller pieces.

Mentos Diet Coke Geyser We used the tube (bought it on Amazon) to make the experiment easier for us and less messy.
diet coke mentos

The Leak-proof Bag science experiment
leakproof bag

We did it in the yard, which paid off because the kids pushed some pencils all the way through and we had a small water fountain (they loved it too!)

Walking Water We used 6 cups (2 rows of 3 cups each).
walking water

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Art Projects

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No, I am not trying to create a new arts & crafts website. 🙂 I have seen tons of them on the Internet. But to get an idea what I can do with my kids on a rainy weekend, I must browse them and look for something we will all enjoy. Let me know if you are interested and I might share the ideas I saved with you.

Kandinsky Fall Tree Tutorial I really liked this idea and thought it was an easy and not messy art project, which turned out to be true.
tree4 tree

Inspired by Paul Klee’s City Picture: Oil Pastel on Acetate This one took a bit more time but it was not too bad. I didn’t feel like going to a store to get the acetate but I always save the transparent sheets that gel window clings come in so I used those.
city2 city

Leaf Art 

We’ve been collecting and pressing leaves for different fall projects, some of which took longer but kids thoroughly enjoyed. I will share with you projects that don’t take long.
One my kids enjoyed the most was Leaf Peepers  You need leaves and metallic markers (it is also good to have eyes for crafts but my kids made plenty without them and they turned out beautiful too).
leaf peepers2

We also did Autumn Leaf Art at the same time we created the Leaf Peepers. The Mod Podge is optional; the leaves were beautiful without it, but we have it at home so we used it.
leaf peepers 4 leaf peepers3

Glitter Leaves
glitter leaves

We got inspired by the book Leaf Man and while we were doing the other leaf projects, my kids used the leftover leaves for some nice leaf creations.
zviratka z listu2 zviratka z listu

My kids really loved Fall Leaf Water Color Resist Art but this one is a bit more time consuming and you need liquid water colors and glue gun.

Owl Paper Plate Craft I did this one with my son last year. it was a quick and easy project and he was very excited about his owl.

Acetate and Tissue Paper Tree
tissue paper tree

3D City Buildings
3D City buildings 3D city buildings 2

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Tips for Activities

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When you have little kids, the first thing to come to your mind when you hear “creativity” is arts and crafts. But creativity goes far beyond arts and crafts. It has an important role in life, education, and business. Now with the schools focusing on other things, there is not much opportunity left for creativity and such activities have to be done at home.

I am not a believer in home-schooling. I think my kids need to get out of the house for a change of scenery and they should socialize with their peers to learn important skills for life. But I had a hard time finding a pre-school and kindergarten for my kids because most of them focused on letters and numbers; one school even proudly presented their computer room! After a week of visiting different schools, I was down to two. I chose a school with a Reggio Emilia approach. Its program was based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery. I appreciated everything my kids did in that school, from classroom projects to scientific observations.

I know that children need to touch and experience things in order to learn and have wondered what becomes of those needs when they enter a conventional classroom. Creative thinking is essential to a child’s success as an adult, so parents must fill in the academic gap. We often go on day trips and travel so that our kids have a chance to explore and put their imagination to work. My son was so excited when he built little houses and gardens for little forest people out of sticks, moss, leaves, etc. when we were in the mountains this summer.

But I feel what we are doing is not enough. Somebody told me when my daughter was born that she will be my greatest teacher. It is SO true. I feel constantly challenged but I like learning about new ideas and always wonder what else I could be doing for my kids. I want my children to have an opportunity for inventing. When grappling with problems, I’d like them to be able to generate not just one, but dozens of possible solutions.  They should also be able to communicate their ideas to other people.

In this section, I will post tips and books I have found useful on this subject.

The latest tip!! My husband recently told me about a website where kids can learn programming in a fun way. My daughter (9) tried it 3 weeks ago and loves it. If your child is craving to be on the computer but you don’t want him/her to waste time by playing nonsense games, give it a try.

Create stories, games, and animations


creativity unhingedCreativity Unhinged 120 Games for Kids to spark Creative Thinking and let imaginations run wild
This book is ideal for busy parents. It lists simple activities, no reading of several pages required. Just pick one activity and play for ten minutes.
missing alphabetThe Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids
I searched for a book on creative thinking and requested two from our library. I didn’t like the other one but kept this book. I only flipped through it and started reading it so I’ll leave an update here in a few weeks.
story cubesRory’s story cubes
We have them in the dining room and create stories while eating a family dinner (usually once or twice a week, basically just on the weekend). We just throw the dice and take turns picking one and adding to the story.
Tell TaleTell Tale Card Game 
We only have the Story Cubes but I think that younger kids would be more inclined to create stories with these cards. If I had known about this game when my kids were little, I would have gotten it.
Magnetic poetryI bought a set of Magnetic poetry 13 years ago. Since I became a mom I have put a lot of stuff away. Now my kids no longer put everything in their mouths, they can read, so I thought it could be fun to make our own word creations on the refrigerator. So far they like it. I bet there are sets for kids, but we just have the regular version for adults.
anticoloring bookDuring the search for good coloring books for older kids (I mean not toddlers), I stumbled upon The Anti-Coloring Book series. Reading about these books gave me a different perspective on coloring. Here are some quotes from the Introduction of The Anti-Coloring Book by Susan Striker and Edward Kimmel to give you an idea what I mean.

We give them coloring books that consist of drawings by highly skilled professional artists; we ask them to abandon their own adventurous journey toward creativity and stay within the lines. By the time they have completed the first few pages of the average coloring book, the only thing they will have learned is that adults draw better, by adult standards, than they do. At this point most children spurn their own refreshing and expressive drawings.

This book is intended to set free the child in all of us. Every project is designed to stimulate the imagination and spark creativity, to generate fantasy and expand a child’s frame of reference. Most important, there is no uniform solution or correct answer to any of these projects.


Here is an article that made me think about how important it is to give our kids more freedom to explore.  Not that I am trying to raise a scientist but I think it applies to any field.

Here is a playlist of six TED talks The Creative Spark including the famous talk by Ken Robinson How schools kill creativity


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