Science ideas for the school holidays


Science isn’t just for the classroom! It is to encourage passion and wonder in bright little minds!

Science can be so much fun, and it is easy to get children thinking when it comes to science experiments in activities you can do over the school holidays (or even the weekend!).

YouTube is a great resource. There are so many videos of methodologies for a variety of safe and fun school holiday science activities. In these videos, they usually list the ingredients, method and an explanation as to what is happening. If you go through this video before doing the experiment with your child, you will know what questions to ask them.

1. Slime.

Slime is all the rage these days, and there are many videos online which explain the science behind slime. Make some slime with your children, see what they think about different textures, or the way different ingredients react. Get children to think about or predict what they think will happen as they go through the process of making slime. Change certain ingredients and see if their hypothesis changes as you change the method. Slime can not only be a good experiment for young children, but older students can explore concepts such as polymerisation.

2. Crystals.

There are many different online methodologies available on making at-home crystals. Some are also holiday-specific, for example, there are recipes available for candy-cane crystals. Once again, encourage children to think about what is happening. Predict how long the process will take and changes based on the conditions. Crystals can also be an opportunity to explore the concept of crystallography. You can also elaborate on older students in investigation atoms and their arrangements.

3. Lava lamps.

Many videos explain how to make at-home ‘lava lamps’. It is a fun experiment to do with children. You can also add some colour learning theory while using the food colourings. For older children, the lava lamp focuses on the concept of density. You can get students thinking of why the lava effect occurs. Oil will float, as it is denser than water, causing the lava lamp “bubble blob” effect.

4. Mentos Volcano.

Yes, okay, this one is messy but it’s a classic. Doing this outside on a hot summers day, with a hose on standby, is so much fun. Get them thinking about what they think will happen as you add in the ingredients. Also, get them thinking, would it work with other lollies, why or why not?

5. Invisible ink.

There are also plenty of videos online that involve creating invisible ink. This can be a fun activity to do, (not much mess involved.). Invisible ink experiments usually involve lemon juice. The basis of the experiment is that lemon juice contains carbon compounds that are colourless at room temperature.

6. Bouncy egg

Another fun experiment to try is the bouncy egg experiment. This experiment turns an egg into a “bouncy ball”. There are also many videos showcasing this experiment on YouTube. The premises of the experiment involves the calcium carbonate shell of an egg undergoing a chemical reaction when placed in vinegar which reacts with the calcium carbonate to produce carbon dioxide. This can be a fun experiment for chemistry students to write out the chemical reaction.

7. Rainbow milk science experiment.

This is a pretty one. This experiment focuses on surface tension. There are also plenty of videos online showcasing this experiment, which is quite mesmerising.

8. Vegetable battery.

Sounds crazy, I know. But this one is a good experiment for physics students. It involves looking at how electricity is conducted, which is important when studying circuits

Overall, these are just a few of the science experiments available out there. But there are many more. Utilise google and YouTube. There are endless videos and blog posts describing numerous activities for children and students of all ages.

It is important to ensure you keep the student thinking about why things are happening. What is the best question a scientist can ask? Encourage questions, and you will have a flourishing scientist in no time. Happy experimenting!

Tips for making the most out of each expermiment.

Ask the students questions like, do you think it would still work if we changed this? What would happen if we did this instead? Then try changing different things throughout your experiment. Get them thinking and researching why certain things cause a change whilst others don’t. In other words, get them to hypothesise. A hypothesis is a key component in science. A hypothesis, in simple terms means “what do you think is going to happen when we do this”. Ask them this question before every experiment. Get them to explain their methodology and their outcomes. Science is fun because we get to think and question. Let’s go through some ideas for some science-related holiday fun for both primary and high school aged children.

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