October 20, 2016
In honor of National Chemistry Week, try the following experiments as an easy way to introduce chemistry to your little ones at home.
Fill pie tins with a small amount of water and bubble solution or just pure bubble solution and let your child explore the properties of materials and how they change. This is an excellent open-ended introduction to science for the youngest.
- Sink or Float
Make and test hypotheses with your child and then classify the objects that sink and the ones that float. This is a simple way to explore concepts such as buoyancy and one that can be made more challenging as your child grows and develops.
- Dancing Raisins
When baking soda and vinegar are mixed together a chemical reaction occurs. It produces carbon dioxide, which forms lots of bubbles that will stick to the raisins and make them float to the surface. When the raisins reach the surface, the bubbles pop and the raisins sink down to the bottom. Here’s how to do it –
- Fill the glass half full with warm water.
- Add a drop of food colouring to tint the water. (This has no scientific bearing on the experiment other than I like things to look pretty!)
- Add two heaping teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda.
- Add a few raisins.
- Put the glass in a tray (just in case it overflows).
- Top off with white vinegar.
- Watch the effect and ask your child what they see and what they think.
- Kitchen Chemistry
Most children experience chemistry every day as they observe food being prepared. An excellent way to introduce this topic is with sharing a story. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the process ahead of time with your child and then reinforce it as you carry it out later together. One of my favorite stories for this purpose in Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson. Talk about the different ingredients as they get mixed together and how they change. For example, when mixing flour and sugar together they stay the same but what happens when you add the wet ingredients? For older children you can talk about the chemical changes that occur when baking.
I hope you will give these experiments a try and let us know how it goes!