Science activities

Lava lamp

For this science experiment, you’ll just need a few household items to start creating some chemical reactions. Check out full instructions on how to make this over at Science Kids.

You’ll need:

  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food colouring
  • Alka-Seltzer (or other tablets that fizz)

How to make the lava lamp:

  1. Pour water into the plastic bottle until it’s around one quarter full
  2. Pour in vegetable oil until the bottle is nearly full
  3. Wait until the oil and water have separated
  4. Add around a dozen drops of food colouring to the bottle (choose any colour that you like)
  5. Watch as the food colouring falls through the oil and mixes with the water
  6. Cut an Alka-Seltzer tablet into small pieces (around 5 or 6) and drop one of them into the bottle – things should start getting a little crazy, just like a real lava lamp!
  7. When the bubbling stops, add another piece of Alka-Seltzer and enjoy watching!

What’s happening?

The oil and water you added to the bottle separate from each other because the oil has a lower density than water. The food colouring falls through the oil and mixes with the water at the bottom. The piece of Alka-Seltzer tablet you drop in releases small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the top and take some of the coloured water along for the ride.

Dyed flowers science experiment

Set up a simple and visually stunning science experiment with the girls to explore how water travels through a plant!

This demonstrates how plants transport water up the stem to reach the leaves and petals and hydrate them. The brightly-coloured water changes the bright white flowers in a short space of time.

In order to do this you simply need:

  • a few stems of bright, white flowers such as chrysanthemums, gerberas or carnations
  • jars filled with water and various shades of liquid or gel food colouring

Colour the water in each jar, and simply place the flowers in, watch and wait!

We spotted this great idea on The Imagination Tree.

Slime

Have fun making and experimenting with this magical mixture.

You will need:

  • Cornflour
  • Food colouring
  • Water bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cup

What to do:

  • Add three cups of cornflour and three drops of food colouring to the bowl.
  • Add one cup of water, more if needed, and stir slowly.
  • Touch the mixture gently – it should be runny. Now try and punch it – the mixture should be hard!
  • Why not play a game of pass the slime? If you lift a small amount of slime and roll it around quickly or squeeze it between both hands, you can pass it along a line of Guides without it turning back into a liquid. Can you get the same amount back into the bowl as you started with?

Enjoyed doing this experiment? Try out more fun experiments as part of the Go for it! experiment.

Fizzing fairy potions

This is the perfect experiment to get Rainbows and Brownies thinking about science by creating a fabulously sparkly, colourful and frothy fairy potion!

What you need:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • White vinegar
  • Washing up liquid
  • Powder paint or food colouring
  • Glitter
  • A small glass jar
  • A magic wand (ok, a spoon will work too!)
  • A tray or large dish which can contain the overflow

Here’s some quick instructions on how to start making your potion but you can follow the step-by-step guide over on The Imagination Tree blog.

  • First, half fill the jar with vinegar, then stir in a spoonful of your chosen colour.
  • Next add a big squeeze of washing up liquid and lots of sparkly confetti and glitter.
  • Then add in a spoonful of baking soda and start to stir with the magic wand.
  • The potion will bubble and froth, fizzing out over the jar and making a gorgeous, sparkly mixture!