Our Summer holidays are about to start so I thought it would be a good time to spruce up this post full of Science Challenges. They are all very simple and use mostly things you probably already have around the house.
Why do a science challenge?
Science challenges are great as they give children the opportunity to work with more freedom than a traditional science experiment. Open ended challenges can be great for team work and independent creative thinking. They’re also great for a parent/child project too!
FREE Printable Science Challenges
The lovely Mrs Mactivity has also created us some fun printable science challenges that you can cut out and use as prompts. Scroll to the bottom of the post to download.
If you haven’t heard of Mrs Mactivity, do go and take a look at her website, she has some wonderful primary resources available.
Science Challenges for Summer
Build a tower with Sugar Cubes
- How tall can you build a tower before it falls down?
- What happens if you spray the cubes with water?
- Can you add anything to waterproof them?
Make your own lava lamp
All you need to make a lava lamp is oil, water and an alka seltzer or effervescent vitamin tablet. These are great as they can be used over and over again. Just wait for the reaction to stop, add a bit more alka seltzer and it’ll start all over again!
Make a treasure map
Use coffee or tea to colour your paper and draw a treasure map, can your friends follow the trail?
This is great for experimenting with different concentrations of liquids too. A more concentrated tea or coffee solution will give a darker coloured map.
Just mix a little lemon or lime juice with a some of water and draw your message on some paper.
Ask an adult to put in the oven and your message will appear.
What can you build with a cardboard box?
Can you build something functional with a cardboard box?
We added a kitchen roll holder and space for a sink to our cardboard kitchen.
Make a solar oven
Can you make S’mores in a solar oven?
Video instructions here
Simple sinking and floating
Can you design a sinking and floating experiment? Make predictions first, then investigate to see if you’re correct. Do any of your items surprise you?
Spinning felt tip pens
Use cardboard discs to make spinning pens. You could try with paper and thinner/thicker card to see which work the best.
Coke and Mento Reaction
Drop a mento into a bottle of fizzy drink and watch what happens, remember to stand back and drop the mento in as fast as you can!
Do low sugar drinks work better than full sugar varieties?
The coke and mento reaction is a science activity everyone should try at least once 🙂
Go on a bug hunt
What bugs can you find around your garden?
Investigate which substances react with baking soda
Can you predict which substances will react with baking soda? Were your predictions correct?
Set up an easy egg drop experiment
Something like our Humpty Dumpty egg drop experiment always works well
Which material protects the egg the best?
Blow up a balloon with alka seltzer
Can you blow up a balloon with alka seltzer? What else do you think might work?
You could also try an effervescent vitamin tablet or even popping candy. Which works the best?
Build a structure with marshmallows and straws
Warning – this can be a bit sticky!!
Make a marble maze
You could make a LEGO marble maze? Or use marbles inside a cardboard box.
Make a Baking Soda Volcano
The one below is made using papier mache, but you could also use sand or even snow!
Check out our baking soda volcano ideas for inspiration.
Baking Soda Reactions
Set up some simple baking soda reactions, these could be fairy themed, witchy potions or just for some fun messy play.
Can you play a tune using water and glass bottles?
Can you make a square bubble?
How strong is a Candy House
Can you make a house from sweets? You could use different types of “glue” and see which works the best. How would you test your house?
Try some ice painting, simply freeze a sheet or ice shape and paint over the top. Once finished you can wipe away your creation and start over.
Find the colours of the rainbow
Can you find the colours of the rainbow in a bubble?
Split light with a prism
Can you split light into a rainbow using a prism?
Make ice cream with ice and salt
Can you make ice cream with ice and salt?
Dissect a flower
Can you dissect a flower and separate the parts? Do you know the function of each?
Make a fairy potion, collect flowers and herbs to make a lovely smelling potion. Does the water change colour? Which smells are the strongest?
Can you make some jumping frogs and learn about static electricity?
Make a volcano with sand. We covered this one with cling film to keep the sand clean.
Baking Soda Explosion
Can you make a fizzy baking soda explosion?
Build a raft
Can you build a raft with sticks?
Can you make a cork boat and test to see if it floats?
Rainbow in water
Can you spot a rainbow in a spray of water?
Spin art pictures
Use a salad spinner to make a spin art picture.
Make colourful slime using cornflour, water and food colouring.
Scrunch it to make it solid and then watch it run through your fingers as it turns into a liquid!
Football box Game
Make a football in a box game, by blowing down a straw to move marbles covered in paint. How many goals can your score?
Can you make a playdough brain?
How to make an egg float
Try a bit of science magic and make an egg float.
Why does Pizza Dough Rise?
Do you know why pizza dough rises?
More Science Challenges
Make Raisins Dance
Make raisins dance around a glass with some clever science.
Build a Giant Catapult
We used our giant catapult as a tennis ball launcher, but you could try water balloons or table tennis balls too.
Science Challenge Cards
Brand new for 2018 are these amazing Science Challenge printable cards made for us by the wonderful Mrs Mactivity. Click the image to download.