When I think back to my own childhood and school days, I don’t remember any chemistry experiments until secondary school, which is a shame because there are so many wonderfully visual chemistry experiments that can be done at home or in school with young children.
I’ve put together a collection of my favourites, do let us know if you try any.
Please remember young children should be supervised at all times.
Amazing Chemistry Experiments for kids
Exploding Sandwich Bags
I did struggle a little when we tried this as the reaction happens so fast, but Steve Spangler has a nifty method where he traps the vinegar in a second smaller bag, which you then have to burst to get the reaction started.
Inspiration laboratories add a twist by adding some colour and making firework pictures at the same time.
Blow up a balloon
This is a super simple demonstration or experiment that has never failed me, and all you need is a container with a small neck, a balloon and either an alka seltzer or effervescent vitamin tablet. The alka seltzer or vitamin tablet react with water to release bubbles of carbon dioxide filling the jar and then blowing up the balloon.
Find out how to blow up a balloon with lemon juice and baking soda.
Make a lovely, colourful display using milk, food colouring and vinegar.
Oil, Food Colouring and Water Exploration Table
This oil, water and food colouring exploration table is brilliant for even very young children. For older children try a more structured approach, they could measure the amount of vinegar and baking soda needed to make the reaction spill over the top of the beaker, or try dropping tiny amounts of coloured water into the oil.
Density Rainbow Jar
Learn about the tricky concept of density and make a beautiful demonstration density jar.
If you don’t want to make as many layers as we have, why not try this smaller version and try to find an object to float on each layer.
This lemon volcano from Babble Dabble Do is a great alternative to the traditional volcano and handy as the lemon already contains the acid.
Who doesn’t love a giant bubble? Red Ted Art makes bubble making look easy in this great video. Remember the mixture gets better the longer you leave it, so allow plenty of time.
Make a square bubble
All you need to make a square bubble is a square frame.
Coke and Mento Reaction
The infamous coke and mento reaction is super easy and very impressive to watch. Try comparing the size of the geyser using diet and full sugar cola, or using different types of fizzy drinks.
Can you design something which allows the mentos to drop in as soon as you remove the lid?
Fun at Home with Kids makes elephants toothpaste look easy, but do be careful with the hydrogen peroxide and take appropriate precautions.
Make Your Own Indicator
Test ph of vinegar and baking soda with a red cabbage indicator. What do you think might happen if you blow into the indicator?
Filter paper chromatography
Take on the role of detective with some fun filter paper chromatography.
Watching the colour from skittles or M & Ms dissolve is a lovely, quick, visual activity.
Film canister rockets
Film canister rockets are easy, inexpensive and great fun. All you need is a film canister, effervescent vitamin tablet and some water. Experiment with different amounts of water and tablets to find the most explosive combination.
Make a volcano
Find out how to make a volcano with sand, snow or papier mache.
Can you think of any more amazing chemistry experiments for us?