Science Experiments for Kids

Science experiments are a fantastic way for kids to learn about scientific principles without getting bored. In this article, I’ll detail a few science experiments that are simple, a lot of fun, and teach your child all about the wonders of cold and ice.

1. Magic Ice:
What you’ll need:
Bowl
1 ice cube
Water
A matchstick or small piece of yarn
Salt

Step One: Place an ice cube in the bowl, and fill the bowl with water.
Step Two: Lay either a matchstick or a short piece of yarn across the ice cube.
Step Three: Sprinkle salt on the ice cube. After a few seconds, grab the matchstick/yarn, and lift the ice cube out of the bowl like magic!

Why does it work?
The saltwater has a higher freezing point than freshwater; sprinkling salt on the ice cube causes the salty surface of the ice cube to melt a bit. As the ice melts, heat is consumed and taken from the freshwater that is hiding under the matchstick/yarn (since no salt reached this protected area of the ice cube). As the heat is taken from under the matchstick/yarn, the ice under it freezes around the object, and makes it possible to lift the ice cube without actually touching the cube.

2. Simple Wind Experiment:
What you’ll need: (this one requires practically nothing!)
Water
Your finger…that’s it!

Step One: Get your finger wet, and hold it up like you are pointing at the ceiling.
Step Two: Pay attention to which side of your finger is feeling colder – that is the direction from which the wind is blowing on you.

Why does it work?
As the moisture evaporates from your finger’s surface, heat is used up, and your finger feels cold. The wind speeds the rate of evaporation, and the side of your finger facing the air current will experience greater heat loss; this, in turn, makes that side of your finger feel colder than the other side of your finger.

3. Growing Ice:
What you’ll need:
Small bottle or jar
Water
A freezer

Step One: Fill a small bottle or jar to the brim with water.
Step Two: Place the bottle/jar in the freezer, being careful not to spill any of the water. Make sure not to seal the container.
Step Three: A few hours later, take the bottle/jar out of the freezer and be amazed at the ice tower that has grown taller than its container!

Why does it work?
Water expands as it gets cold, especially when it nears its freezing point. At freezing (32F or 0C), the expanded water’s volume has increased by about 1/11th, and is forced out of the opening of the bottle/jar. This is why the ice outgrows its container by the time you pull it out of the freezer.

4. Iceberg in a Glass:
What you’ll need:
A glass
1 ice cube
Water

Step One: Put an ice cube in a glass.
Step Two: Fill the glass to the brim with water so that the ice cube is floating above the surface of the water like an iceberg. What do you think will happen as the ice cube melts? Will the glass overflow as the ice melts? The surprising answer is no!

Why does it work?
Just like the “Growing Ice” experiment, this experiment works off of the same principle of water increasing in volume by about 1/11th as it freezes. Since the ice is lighter than the water, it floats along the surface, much like an iceberg would float along the surface of a larger body of water.

So why wouldn’t the water increase in the glass as the ice melts? The ice cube loses its volume as it melts. As it does this, the water from the melted ice cube exactly fills the space that the ice had taken up in the water. So with every milligram of melt, that amount of ice volume is lost, and the exact equivalent of water is added to the glass. In other words – it all evens out and no overflow occurs!