Just because school is out doesn't mean brain drain needs to set in. Transform your backyard into your very own science lab and have a blast with these awesome summer science experiments. As you conduct your experiments, ask your child what they think will happen, and then discuss your observations and results when you are finished. Also, check out our favorite science and math toys and mobile apps.
Homemade Bubble Solution
Blowing bubbles is a summertime favorite, but did you know it is super simple to make your own solution? Have your child experiment with these recipes to see which combinations work best for a whole lot of bubble-blowing fun!
What's better than an exploding bottle of soda? Although this experiment only last about 20 seconds, your kids will go crazy when they see a spout of soda shoot up 20 feet in the air just by adding a package of mentos.
An adult should be the one who adds the mentos (and runs away as fast as possible) and kids should stand at least 15 feet away. Pro tip: buy the cheapest diet soda you can find. There's no need for brand names!
Homemade Compost Pile
Did you know that more than half the trash your family throws away can be used in a compost pile? This simple experiment isn't just a great way to teach your child about recycling — it's also a great fertilizer for your garden. Get your compost pile started, and watch it transform throughout the summer from a pile of food scraps into dark, nutrient-rich mulch.
Rain in a Bag
Evaporation experiments never get old. Take it a step further with this interactive "rain in a bag" activity. Simply draw a nature scene on a plastic bag, complete with a lake and clouds. Fill the bag up with water to the top of the "lake," and hang it in a sunny window. As the days go by, the water will evaporate in to the cloud and, when they can't hold anymore water, it will rain!
Float or Sink
Take a walk with your child and collect items you find in nature, such as rocks, feathers, acorns, and leaves. As you collect your findings, ask your child which items she thinks will float or sink in water. When you get home, fill a large container with water and put her observations to the test.
Nature Color Hunt
Color is everywhere in nature! Cut small pieces of different colored construction paper to line the bottom of an ice cube tray, and then go out and find items in nature that match each color. (Hint: to avoid frustration, use colors that are more common and easier to find for younger kids.)
There are many ways to make your own rainbow — all you need it some water and sunlight! Try using a garden hose, sprinkler, or a glass of water, and watch the sun filter through and create a spectrum of colors. Older children will also have a blast making a prism (and all you need are five materials.)
Extra strong hydrogen peroxide makes an awesome eruption of thick, bubbly foam when it is mixed with yeast and dish detergent. It really does look like something an elephant would use to brush its teeth!
Water, cups, paper towels, and an uneven surface are all you need for this simple and cool activity. (A dash of food coloring will make it extra-cool.) Watch as the water magically "walks" from one cup to the other!
Backyard Weather Station
A backyard weather station is a fun family activity to help teach your child how to observe their surroundings and keep records of their findings. This multi-day experiment will have your child measuring rainfall, wind speed, temperature, and humidity using easy-to-find instruments. Have him a keep a record to help determine weather patterns throughout the summer.