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Summer is often the time parents start enrolling their children in a variety of summer classes like sports camps or science courses for kids. Given the current situation as of the time of publishing, however, parents need to be creative when it comes to keeping their children busy and productive over the summer months.

If your child has an interest in the sciences, you’ll be happy to know that there are many simple science experiments for kids that you can do at home. In fact, most of the items you’ll need are things that you probably already have sitting at home. Some science experiments to try include:

The Hot & Cold Trick

Science teaches that cold molecules are denser that hot, and therefore will always remain at the bottom, be it for air or water. This is also why your child can feel cold air coming out from under the bedroom door, since it gets pushed to the floor by hot air.

You Will Need:

  • A card or a laminated ID
  • 2 transparent cups or glasses (diameter should be a little smaller than the card)
  • 2 stirrers or teaspoons
  • Blue and Red food color
  • Hot and Cold Water

What to Do:

1. Place the hot water in one cup and the cold water in another cup.
2. Place two drops of red food color into the hot water and stir with the teaspoon.
3. Place two drops of blue food color into the cold water and stir with the teaspoon.
4. Cover the hot water cup with the card and flip it on top of the cold water, slide out the card so that the two liquids meet. Notice how the hot water stays on top and the colors only mix slightly to create a purple line in the middle.
5. If you re-do this experiment and put the cold water over the hot water instead, the cold water instantly drops and everything becomes purple.

Race the Fish Down the Stream

Watch what happens when you pour water over your fish drawings! Then have a race with the family and see whose fish is the fastest.

You Will Need:

  • 2 to 3 foot Long Sheet of Aluminium Foil
  • White Board Market
  • Water
  • Blue Food Color (Optional)
  • A straw for each person playing

What to do:

1. Lay out the foil on the table or on the floor. Fold up the four sides so that you have a half-inch tall border to prevent water from flowing out.
2. With the white board marker, have each family member draw a small fish, make sure to draw them in a straight line at the edge of the narrow side of the foil (to prepare for a race).
3. Pour water over the fish and onto the foil. Watch as the fish come to life and start to move! If you would like, color the water with a few drops of blue food color.
4. Have each family member take a straw and blow their fish to the other side of the foil. Whoever gets to the end first wins! (you can also write and draw start and finish line signs on the foil with a permanent marker).

The Power of Salt

Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt or sodium chloride, works to bring down the freezing temperature of water, so in essence, it can make ice colder (it can go even below negative degrees!) Using this science, you can make a batch of fresh homemade ice cream with your kids within minutes.

You will Need:

  • 1 big tin can or tight-lidded plastic container or a 1 gallon-size resealable bag
  • 3-4 cups Ice
  • 2 big handfuls (approx. 1/2 cup) rock salt
  • 1 quart-size resealable bag
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of your favourite flavourings or toppings: mini marshmallows, chopped cookies, chocolate chips, fresh or dried fruit, chocolate or strawberry syrup or chocolate malt powder

What to Do:

1. In the big can, container or bag, layer in the ice and salt
2. In a quart sized bag, combine the cream, sugar and toppings. Seal the bag and shake it well to combine the ingredients.
3. Place the small bag inside the bigger container with ice. Seal the container well. Take turns shaking the bag (if you are using a round tin or container, you can also kick, toss and roll it around) for about 7-10 minutes until the cream has turned into ice cream. Scoop into bowls or ice cream cones and serve!

Homemade Dough Art

This experiment is perfect for the younger kids and to improve their sensory and creative skills. Making dough art is also a great way for them to learn the primary color combinations to get secondary colors.

You will Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup table salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food color

What to Do:

1. Stir the flour and salt in a pan. Add in the water and oil and mix until smooth.
2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and turn over the dough onto a counter.
3. Allow the dough to cool before dividing into portions and mixing in the food color (you can make 5-6 colors of dough and add 2-3 drops of food color per portion). Knead the dough until smooth and the color is mixed in thoroughly.
4. Store in air-tight containers or resealable bags. The dough keeps for 4-6 weeks at room temperature or for up to 3 months in the fridge.