There’s one time of the school year that every parent dreads: Science Fair Season. No, Mrs. Norris, we don’t want to spend $60 on a project board and all the supplies needed to test paper towel absorbency or how seeds grow. Please, Vice Principal Flemmings, can’t we just volunteer to chaperone the next two years of dances, instead? Science Fair projects rarely teach your kids anything (except all the “emergency words” dad can say in one sentence) and cause an absurd amount of stress. Science is fun! But science fair projects don’t illustrate that point at all. If you want to instill a love of science in your kids that will stand the test of 9th-grade biology and a million years worth of science projects, you’re going to need to do some work. The easiest way? Have fun doing science experiments and science projects when they’re not 50 percent of the grade and due tomorrow at 8 a.m. Here are a few we love that you can try at home on the weekends.
1. Crystal Garden
Dude, did you know you can grow crystals from salt? This site walks you through the super fun process.
2. DIY Yogurt
Would we eat this science experiment yogurt? Hard no. But, our kids are far more adventurous.
3. Eggs In Vinegar Experiment
Vinegar causes all kinds of strange reactions when it’s mixed with other foods and chemicals. This cool vinegar-based science experiment leaves you with something that can best be described as “alien eggs.”
4. Magic Milk
The smell of milk is disgusting. Watching your littlest kids freak over blending colors is worth it.
5. Build A Submarine
Explaining buoyancy isn’t easy. This simple little submarine build will help do the trick. Because the end result offers something for your kids to play with, they’ll like it even more.
6. The Science Behind A Lava Lamp
Are lava lamps still a thing? They were just barely cool when we were kids — their hayday happened when our parents were in their prime. They still sell them at Spencer’s, though, so most kids probably have a vague idea of what they are. How about a science experiment to explain how they work and make your own version?
7. Simple Spinning Motor
Want to make your kids think their dad is pretty much magical? Build a simple motor and turn it into a dancing person or monster with just a little bit of decoration.
8. DIY Hovercraft Science
We were promised hovercrafts by now. Why don’t we have them? After all, they’re apparently very easy to make.
9. Inflate A Balloon With Pantry Items
While it’s probably not feasible to rely on vinegar and baking soda when blowing up balloons for your daughter’s birthday party, it might be fun to do once or twice. You know… for the sake of science.
10. Pantry-Made Snow Fluff
Snow Fluff is one of the messier science experiments. But, let’s be honest, you’re going to “let” the wife clean up all of this mess, anyway. (Just kidding. Clean up after yourself, Rand!)
11. Tornado In A Bottle
You’ve made a tornado in a bottle before. You may not remember exactly how it’s done, given that it was about 20-30 years ago. But, you’ve definitely done it and you probably remember just how cool it is.
12. Kaleidoscope Fun
Got a little fairy princess fluttering around your home? Add even more color to her world by building a kaleidoscope together.
13. Orange Fizzy Chemical Reaction
Oranges are acidic! If you mix their juice with the right pantry staple, you can create a fun, fizzy reaction.
14. Density Tower
What’s cooler than a magic potion? Nothing, Dad. Absolutely nothing. Do a little physics and learn about density while playing with “potions.”
15. Simple Circuit
It took Benjamin Franklin years to discover electricity. From there, it took even longer to figure out how to harness and utilize it. Now that we know the magic, though, it’s actually pretty easy to make a simple circuit all on our own… no matter how dumb the wife says we are.
16. Make Your Own Playdough
Need another science experiment for your littlest kid? Help them make their own playdough!
17. Baking Soda Volcano
This may be a classic but it’s all still new to our kids. Luckily, this experiment will require only the most basic supplies like dish soap, food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar.
18. Apple Oxidation
This is a super simple and kid-favorite experiment. We all know that peeled apples react to oxygen by turning brown. Experiment to see how different apple slices will react when coated with water, milk, lemon juice, and vinegar.
19. Growing Rock Candy
If you ask us, the best science experiments are the ones you can eat when you’re done. Fair warning? Making homemade rock candy is surprisingly simple, so your “class” might want to make this a weekly project.
20. Invisible Ink
When we’re young, we all pretend at some point to be a pirate or a spy — basically, we’re just chasing the dream of living a lifestyle that might include invisible ink. Oh, who are we kidding? We still want that. So, this science project might be as much for you as it is for your kid.