Experiments for all the family

Category: Fun stuff

Bored of baking and outdoor bear hunts? Why not give these fun science experiments a go?

A homemade lava lamp
This lava lamp is short-lived but pretty magical.

You’ll need:

  • A glass
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Bright food colouring (eg red or blue)
  • An Alka-Seltzer tablet

What to do:

  • Fill the glass to about halfway with vegetable oil
  • Add around a fifth of a glass of water
  • Add around 10 drops of food colouring
  • Drop in the Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch the marvel unfold

Why it works:

The oil floats on the water. When you drop the tablet in, it reacts with the water to make carbon dioxide bubbles. They carry the coloured water to the top, before popping and sinking back down.

Iceberg
For this experiment, you probably have everything you need already!

You’ll need:

  • A glass
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt
  • String

What to do:

  • Dangle a piece of string in the glass with one hand
  • Pop ice cubes into the glass so that it’s at least half-full
  • Can you pull the ice cubes out of the glass using the string?
  • Repeat the first two steps
  • Pour a couple of tablespoons of salt over the ice cubes and the string
  • Wait 10 seconds and pull the string out
  • This time, the ice cubes should come out with the string

Why it works:

The salt makes the edges of the ice cubes start to melt but then they partially refreeze, sticking to the string as they do.

Runaway milk
Don’t worry, this is a lot less messy than it sounds.

You’ll need:

  • A plate or wide, shallow bowl
  • Full-fat milk
  • Food colouring (ideally three different colours)
  • Washing-up liquid

What to do:

  • Pour some milk into the plate (you only need it to be around 1cm deep)
  • Add a few drops of food colouring in different areas. Not too many, there should be large gaps between each one
  • Dip a finger in the washing-up liquid and then touch one of the spots of food colouring
  • The colour will swirl away from your touch

Why it works:

The milk and washing-up liquid can’t mix. What you’re seeing is the fat particles swirling away from the washing-up liquid. Don’t have food colouring? Try touching a felt tip pen to the milk instead.