Science experiments for curious kids with Dr Karl

Great podcasts for parents and carers

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

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