Finding fun chemistry experiments and tutorials for elementary children can be incredibly difficult.
After all, when we think of breaking up the sciences into different sectors; Biology, Chemistry and Physics we often think of older children.
However, I’m here to prove that basic chemistry experiments for little ones don’t have to be complicated or messy. I’ve partnered with some of my favorite bloggers to share a whole host of experiments for you to try at home.
Let me know which experiement is your favorite in the comments below.
1. Weather Experiments
Kim over at Team Cartwright has a whole host of fun weather experiments for preschoolers that cover both physics and chemistry.
I love these experiments as they use basic household materials and are really quick and easy to put together.
My kids we’re most impressed with the lightening with a baloon. Honestly, we must have repeated the entire process for at least two hours – even my older kids loved this one!
Sure the spark wasn’t very big but maybe that’s not a bad thing from a safety standpoint. As a result of the metal spoon and the friction from your childs head, there’s a positive charge which results in a spark similar to lightening.
2. Color Explosion
Another simple yet highly engaging chemistry experiment for elementary children is this color explosion made from magic milk.
I learnt about this experiment from Steam Powered Family and instantly fell in love with the idea as all you need is some milk, food coloring and a q-tip or pipette.
You can use milk with different fat content and compare the reaction of the food coloring in each dish.
The results demonstrate how fat content plays a large roll in the moment of color. This is a result of surface tension.
Water, milk and cream for example are made up of molecules that have both positive and negative charges on their surface and just like magnets these charges allow them to both attract and repel other molecules.
3. Fizzy Lemonade
Within ten minutes of reading about this experiement on Hessun Academy I was gathering the materials required.
The experiement demonstrates how acids and bases react when they come in contact with each other.
Better still the whole thing is completely ediable so no need to worry about stray hands wondering into the mixture.
All you need for this experiment is two lemons, cold water, a glass, some baking soda, sugar and a lemon juicer – Personally, we didn’t even need to visit the store for any of the materials.
We took photos during the experiement and attached them to our write up of the experiement afterwards.
4. Waterproof A Boot
I loved the real world application practicality of this experiement by Science Sparks.
The idea is you print off the free printable sheet, colour it in then cover it with different materials. Once that’s done you can spray each of the sheets with water to find out which are the most waterproof!
This is an ideal experiment for kids just getting started with science experiments as it’s likely not too different from some of the other work you’ve done in the past.
We adapated the tutorial to include additional materials we had lying around the house.
5. Rainbow Cloud
A couple of months ago it was raining heavily, when my youngest asked “Why does it rain?”.
I’ve gone over this in more detail with my eldest children using text books and video resources but given the age of my youngest I figured a demonstration would be better. That’s when I found this experiment from Lil Tigers.
The entire experiment is completely safe and perfect for creative sensory play.
The only materials you need are some food coloring, a clear jar or vase, some shaving cream and water.
6. The Power Of Handwashing
If you’ve a little one who simply refuses to wash their hands then this demonstration by Box of Ideas is an incredibly practical demonstration.
All you need is some ground herbs or spices, some water, a plate and some antibacterial soap.
The entire experiment / demonstration takes around five minutes and is incredibly powerful.
You can reference this demonstration in the future if and when your child is being difficult about washing their hands and even write it up as an experiment with points on what they’ve learnt.
7. Disney Trapped In Ice
Of all the experiments on this list, this Disney trapped in ice experiment by Lorena and Lennox was probably the biggest hit with my little ones.
To complete this experiement you’ll need some figures, we like Lorena and Lennox used Disney characters but honestly you can use any that you have to hand. You’ll also need a small container, a water blaster, some measuring cups and an an eye dropper.
The idea behind the experiment is to freeze the characters inside a container and then demonstrate how warm water can help them escape the freeze.
For slightly older children you could compare how different temperatures help them escape quicker. For example, putting one figure in the fridge, another outside and trying to free another with warm water.
8. Glowing Water
This taste-safe experiment by The Craft at Home Family is perfect for curious little ones.
Honestly, anything glow in the dark is a hit with my kids so I knew straight away that they’d be incredibly engaged learning about how these different substances react to one and other.
I had my pre-schooler simply watch the demonstration, meanwhile, my older kids went away and wrote about what they’d learnt and even took some photos of the experiment for their worksheets.
One thing to note is the tonic water required for this experiement must have quinine, otherwise it wont work.
9. Dancing Grapes
This experiment only requires three items; grapes, seltzer water and a large clear vase or jug. I’m not sure about you but that made it an instant winner for me!
Adding the grapes to the stelzer water causes them to ‘dance’ due to a reaction from the CO2 – hence why this won’t work with regular water..
You can see over time how the reaction of the grapes begins to slow as the CO2 is used over time. You could even get your children to taste the seltzer water once opened and then again after 10 minutes or so as the CO2 subsides.
10. Cleaning Pennies with Ketchup
This simple science experiement is perfect for elementry students all the way up to teenagers as it introduces the power of oxidation and basic chemical reactions.
This is done through pennies (ideally old heavily used ones) and ketchup.
You can use additional solutions to demonstrate different reactions for older children. These solutions could be vinegar, coke, mustard, mayo, juice or lemon juice.
This is a rather messy experiement so be sure to either do it on a table outside or cover any furniture you don’t want to get damaged in the process.