Children love science. They adore the hands-on nature of the experiments, and they love the feeling of discovering the world on their own terms, rather than having to hear it from someone else. Performing some simple science experiments at home can really supplement your child's learning experience in school. You won't have to buy many materials outside of what you have in the home for any of these fun and educational activities!
Build a terrarium. A terrarium is essentially a small ecosystem that is self-contained in an aquarium cage or even a plastic pop bottle. Your child will need to collect fertile soil and replant a weed or flower inside the container or cage, then catch insects to live inside it. Earthworms make great terrarium inhabitants, because their tunnels can be seen against the glass or plastic. Make sure you child waters the terrarium daily, so the dirt does not dry out and kill the plant and insects.
Explore acids and bases with cabbage. All you'll need for this simple household experiment is one head of red cabbage and some various household substances: vinegar, laundry ammonia, and baking soda. Blend up the cabbage so you have a strained red liquid; this is what you will use to test the baseness or acidity of the three substances. Pour a little of the cabbage liquid into some vinegar, then into some laundry ammonia, and then into some baking soda dissolved in water. Use the chart in the first link below to help your children identify the pH level of each substance.
Discover a non-Newtonian substance. Children may learn early on that there are solids, liquids, and gasses -- but there are some non-Newtonian fluids out there, too! To create one of these fascinating solid-liquid blends, you'll need equal parts water an`d corn starch, a bowl to mix it in, and newspaper to protect the surface you're working on. Place the corn starch in the bowl and slowly add the water, stirring until the mixture is even. When your child slowly stirs, the mixture should feel like a liquid -- but any rapid pressure, such as tapping it with a spoon or a finger, should render it a solid. An explanation for why this happens -- for children old enough to comprehend it -- is available in the second link below.
Need materials for your home experiments? Visit garage sales near you!