5 cool science experiments for kids that use nothing but water
Not only are we currently around halfway through the summer holidays, but parents across the country will have been spending far more time with their kids lately as a result of the coronavirus lockdown that arose in March.
For many parents, it’s been a priority to maintain some semblance of education while schools are closed and there’s only so much attention kids will pay to textbooks, particularly if it’s sunny outside and they’re not in school anyway.
When it comes to English and Maths, we can’t help you, but the great thing about science is that it’s all around us all the time. It’s even in the water we pour from our taps.
Indeed, there are quite a few simple and exciting experiments that you can show off to your kids with some humble old H2O.
Best of all, they are more likely to learn something if they are having fun. And what could be more fun than a science experiment?
So, here are 5 simple experiments that show off the properties of water in unique and interesting ways.
The pencil bending trick
Simply place a pen or a pencil in a glass of water that’s around two thirds full and tip the pencil to one side.
You’ll notice that the pencil appears bent and this is because light bends when it passes through substances of differing densities.
In this case, the light is passing through the air and then the water and because the water is denser, the light rays are bent in the glass.
Once again all you’ll need here is a glass of water, but you’ll also need a piece of paper and to ensure that you have a source of sunlight. Put the glass in direct sunlight and hold the paper below the glass.
If you angle it just right then the light going through the glass will be refracted into its separate colours which are otherwise known as a rainbow.
Oil versus water
This one requires a little more preparation and a few more ‘ingredients’. Take a glass or bottle and pour some water into it. Next, pour some cooking oil on top of it. Watch the oil and water separate and then add a dash of washing up liquid and stir it.
You’ll notice that the addition of the washing up liquid allows the substances to mix and that’s because the water and oil have different molecular structures. Add the washing up liquid, however, and it allows the bonds between those molecules to change.
The volume experiment
Take a tall thin glass and a normal, wider glass and ask your kids which one they think will hold more water.
They will almost always choose the tall thin glass and will be amazed when they see the full tall thin glass tip into the short wide glass with plenty of room left over for more. This shows them that there is more to consider than height when determining the volume of an object.
Finally, fill a glass with water to the brim and add water with a pipette or eyedropper until it starts to overflow.
You’ll notice that the water starts to bulge over the top of the glass with each drop until the water molecules can no longer stick together.
Of course, perhaps the most obvious experiment you could do is to show them the difference between filtered water and unfiltered water.
Whether you have filtered water on tap or need to use a filtering jug, display the two side-by-side and explain why the unfiltered glass has a different taste, smell, and consistency than the filtered glass.
It might not blow their minds but it will certainly help them to appreciate the importance of water filtration!