Science experiments for curious kids with Dr Karl

Part of the Kinderling Conversation for parents. Weekdays 12pm-1pm.

Thu 6 October 2016

12 mins

As adults we accept that most of the world is just the way it is. But kids ask the strangest things! While we don’t ask why or how things work a certain way, kids have a clean slate. For them, everything is new. They’re curious and aren’t afraid to ask about it. As well as keeping us forever on our toes, all these curly questions help us to see our kids and the world in a fresh new light, and let’s face it - they are an endless source of humour and entertainment.

Having said that, of course there are moments when we’ve been asked “why…?” for the fifty-seventh time in a row and are at our wit’s end… and that’s when it’s time to hit up Dr Karl. As one of Australia’s most loved science geek, he finds answers to life’s conundrums, from the complex to the mundane (belly button lint colour anyone?).

This week’s Screen Free Challenge theme is RAINY DAYS and with Dr Karl’s help we’re encouraging kids AND parents and carers to stay curious and try some simple and safe science experiments at home.

1. Chocolate button in water experiment

You will need: a shallow bowl, water, four coloured chocolate buttons (Smarties or M&Ms)

How-to: Fill the shallow dish with 1.5 cm of water and place four different coloured chocolate buttons at north, south, east, west. Now wait a few minutes and examine the changes to the colour.

Click here for some different variations to this experiment.

2. Water-bending balloon experiment

You will need: a balloon and a tap with running water

How-to: Blow up the balloon and tie a knot in it. Rub it on your head or on your jumper (synthetic fibres are good), then turn on the tap and bring the balloon close to the water without touching it and see what happens.

3. Pepper scatter

You will need: a large, shallow bowl of water, pepper, washing up liquid, a toothpick.

How-to: Cover the bottom of the bowl with water and shake fine pepper over the surface of the water. Dip the clean toothpick into the water and watch what happens. Now dip the toothpick in washing up liquid and stand it straight up in the bowl. Watch what happens!

For more rainy day entertainment, Ruben Meerman aka The Surfing Scientist has a bunch of fun, safe experiments you can do at home. For more answers to curious questions, check out Dr Karl’s books and keep that sense of wonder because our world IS amazing!

We’d love to see your home science experiments. Take a pic and upload them with the hashtag #screenfreechallenge #kinderling

Win a family holiday - enter now!

Win a holiday with Screen Free Challenge and Volvo

More Screen Free Challenge features

Why colouring in is a timeless activity for the whole family

How do you create moments of peace with your kids Kylie Johnson is an artist and mother who has created a beautiful book for adults and children to colour in…
5 mins

How different is childhood today, and what impact is technology having on our kids?

Jean Twenge is a Professor of Psychology at San Diego University and the author of iGen, Why today’s super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and
18 mins

Is it time to have a family digital detox?

How much time do you and your kids spend on screens? Perhaps you’re ready for a bit of screen-free time If that’s the case Dr Kristy Goodwin has some great…
11 mins

Mum, I’m bored! How to explain to kids why that’s a good thing

You'd be forgiven for wondeirng how we parented smartphones. It can seem like the only reason we can keep everyone on time, relatively clean, and mostly alive is because of…
16 mins

A small Aussie business making great off-screen activities for kids

Want an easy way to have some screen free time Tiger Tribe is a small Mum and Dad business that designs beautiful and fun craft gifts for kids. They take…
13 mins

Why your screen time matters too

We may want our kids to get off their screens, but are we providing them the example to follow? Leading digital parenting expert and children’s technology researcher, Dr Kristy Goodwin
15 mins