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Kid-Friendly Chemistry Fun You Can Do At Home

Chemistry. If that word conjures images of thick textbooks and hard tests, throw that concept out the window. Chemistry can be so much fun! 

Chemistry is the study of matter – what it consists of, its properties and how it changes. Everything is made out of chemical compounds and atoms. We understand the world around us a lot better when we know the basics of chemistry and how everything interacts. 

Using everyday items, we can explore the concepts of chemistry with our kids in our very own kitchens! Letting our kids help cook or bake is one way to do this. Another way is with fun experiments. (Don’t worry; no hard tests or boring homework involved! 😉)

Here are some STEM recipes to bring a bit of science into your kid’s day:


What you need:

  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Something to mix with (if you don’t want to use your hands initially)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • food coloring of your choice (optional)

In a large bowl, mix salt and flour.

In a smaller container, add 1/4 cup of warm water, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, and 2-3 drops of food coloring. Mix.

Add 1 cup of the flour and salt mixture.

Mix until dough starts to form.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead. Add flour or water as needed.

Note: The measurements and instructions allow for you to make a large batch of flour and salt mixture then add the needed amount of mixture to make single-sized (about 1 cup) play dough.

How it works:

It encourages creativity. There’s no limit to the creations children can make when their imaginations are set loose on a lump of playdough. The possibilities for pretend play are endless. 

It’s calming. Playing with playdough can help reduce stress, express emotion, channel excess energy, and improve focus. It’s a good thing to have on hand to diffuse a tense situation. 

It develops fine motor skills. Molding, rolling, squeezing, and flattening playdough into different shapes strengthens the muscles later used to hold pencils and tie shoelaces. Using tools like cookie cutters and rolling pins hones hand-eye coordination.

Find out more about how to use playdough to support your child’s learning in this article by the National Association for the Education of Young Children: https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/playdough-power 


What you need:

  • Bowl or cup
  • Something to mix with (if you don’t want to use your hands initially)
  • 1/2 tbsp of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp of multipurpose contact solution
  • 4 fl oz Elmer’s glue (1/2 cup)
  • food coloring of your choice (optional)

Pour 4oz of Elmer’s school glue into a bowl or cup. Add 1/2 tbsp of baking soda and mix.

Add your choice of food coloring and mix.

Add 1 tbsp of contact solution. 

Mix until slime forms and it begins to get harder to mix.

Take the slime out and begin kneading with both of your hands.

If needed, add ¼ tbsp contact solution to make the slime less sticky.

How it works:

According to Little Bins for Little Hands: “The glue used in slime is a polymer made up of long chains of polyvinyl acetate molecules. These chains slide past one another fairly easily which keeps the glue flowing. Chemical bonds are formed when you mix the PVA glue and slime activator together.  Slime activators (contact solution, baking soda, etc.) change the position of the molecules in the glue in a process called cross-linking!  A chemical reaction occurs between the glue and the borate ions, and slime is the new substance formed. Instead of flowing freely as before, the molecules in the slime have become tangled and create what is slime. Cross-linking changes the viscosity or flow of the new substance.”

Source: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/basic-slime-science-homemade-slime-for-kids/

Giant Bubbles

What you need:

  • A large bucket
  • Something to mix with, like a paint stirrer
  • 2 straws
  • 5ft piece of yarn
  • 1 heaping tbsp baking powder 
  • 1 heaping tbsp guar gum 
  • 1 cup blue dawn dish soap
  • 1 gallon of water

In a large bucket, mix together baking powder, guar gum, and dish soap until lumps disappear. Mix in room temperature water. 

To make the big wand, thread the yarn through the straws and tie in a knot.

Holding on to the straws, dip the wand completely into the bubble solution and then hold your arms high while walking backwards.

How it works:

According to Babble Dabble Do: “Bubbles are made from a soapy membrane that has air trapped inside. The membrane is actually a sandwich consisting of an inner and outer layer of soap with a layer of water between them. When you blow a bubble you are trapping air inside the soap-water sandwich, and it grows larger and larger until it pops.”

“Bubbles pop for several reasons. The bubble membrane is fragile and when it comes into contact with a gust of wind, a finger, or another object it breaks. Bubbles also pop because eventually the water in the soap-water membrane evaporates as it comes into contact with dry air. This means that bubbles blown on a cold day should last longer than those blown on a hot day when evaporation occurs faster.”





Ice Cream

What you need:

  • 1 quart zip lock bag
  • 1 gallon zip lock bag
  • 1/2  cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/2 cup of rock salt

Add sugar and wet ingredients to the quart-sized bag and seal the bag.

Place ice and salt in the gallon-sized bag.

Seal the smaller bag inside the larger bag. 

Shake the bag for about 10-15 minutes until you get vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

How it works:

Adding salt lowers the freezing point of ice, so when salt is added to the ice in the outer bag, the ice begins to melt because it is above its new freezing point. The milk mixture in the inner bag provides the heat energy that the ice needs to melt. When the heat energy is absorbed from the milk, ice crystals form between the tiny fat molecules, making ice cream. 

Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption

What you need:

  • Diet Coke
  • Mentos
  • Scissors 
  • Tape 
  • Paper
  • Card

    First, make a tube for the Mentos. Cut a piece of paper so that it is as wide as a roll of Mentos.

    Wrap the paper around the pack of Mentos to make a tube. Tape the tube closed. Remove the pack of Mentos from the tube.

    Close off one end of the tube by cutting a little circle or square of paper and taping it to one end of the tube.

    Open the pack of Mentos and place all of them in the tube.

    Now, cause an eruption! 

    Find a flat area outside where it’s fine to spill soda. Gently place a new bottle of Diet Coke there. Slowly and carefully open it. Put the open end of your tube of Mentos on the card and place it directly over the opening of the soda bottle.

    When you are ready, remove the card and let all the Mentos drop into the soda at once. Quickly move out of the way! 

    How it works:

    “Bubbles and soda will quickly shoot out of the bottle in a high fountain. The carbon dioxide molecules attach to the surfaces of the Mentos, making bubbles. All those Mentos in a lot of soda make a lot of bubbles that rise to the surface and push the soda out in a big woosh!”

    Source: https://www.acs.org/education/whatischemistry/adventures-in-chemistry/experiments/mentos-diet-coke.html 

    Are you looking for a group that does fun activities for kids like the above experiments? Click here to learn how you can be a part of CECPTA!

    About the Author

    Faith was born in New Hampshire and raised in Arlington, Texas. She is a certified math teacher in Texas for grades 7-12 and taught 9th and 10th grade math for a year before becoming a “stay-at-home” mom who does anything but stay at home. She has a son in kindergarten and a daughter in both the red and the green playgroups. She enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, reading (both alone and to her kids), playing board games, practicing her ninja skills, and being outdoors.

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