Easy Chemistry Experiments You Can Do at Home

Fun Home Chemistry Experiments and Demonstrations

homemade slime
Making slime is a favorite home chemistry project. Gary S Chapman / Getty Images

Want to do science but don't have your own laboratory? Don't worry if you don't have a chemistry lab.This list of science activities will allow you to do experiments and projects with common materials you can easily find around your home.

Let's start out by making slime...

Make Slime

Alter the consistency of slime by changing the ratio of ingredients. Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

You don't need to have esoteric chemicals and a lab to have a good time with chemistry. Yes, your average fourth grader can make slime. That doesn't mean it's any less fun when you're older.

Let's Make Slime!

Make a Borax Snowflake

Borax snowflake
Borax crystal snowflakes are safe and easy to grow. © Anne Helmenstine

A borax snowflake is a crystal-growing project that is safe and easy enough for kids. You can make shapes other than snowflakes, and you can color the crystals. As a side note, if you use these as Christmas decorations and store them, the borax is a natural insecticide and will help keep your long-term storage area pest-free. If they develop a white precipitant, you can lightly rinse them (don't dissolve too much crystal). Did I mention the snowflakes sparkle really nicely?

Make a Borax Snowflake

Make a Mentos and Diet Soda Fountain

Mentos and diet soda
This is an easy project. You'll get all wet, but as long as you use diet cola you won't get sticky. Just drop a roll of mentos all at once into a 2-liter bottle of diet cola. © Anne Helmenstine

This is a backyard activity, best accompanied by a garden hose. The mentos fountain is more spectacular than a baking soda volcano. In fact, if you make the volcano and find the eruption to be disappointing, try substituting these ingredients.

Make a Mentos and Diet Soda Fountain

Explore Penny Chemistry

You can explore chemical reactions and clean pennies at the same time.
You can explore chemical reactions and clean pennies at the same time. © Anne Helmenstine

You can clean pennies, coat them with verdigris, and plate them with copper. This project demonstrates several chemical processes, yet the materials are easy to find and the science is safe enough for kids.

Try Penny Chemistry Projects

Make Homemade Invisible Ink

secret message
You can use invisible ink or disappearing ink to write secret messages. Photodisc / Getty Images

Invisible inks either react with another chemical to become visible or else weaken the structure of the paper so the message appears if you hold it over a heat source. We're not talking about fire here. The heat of a normal light bulb is all that's required to darken the lettering. This baking soda recipe is nice because if you don't want to use a light bulb to reveal the message, you can just swab the paper with grape juice instead.

Make Invisible Ink

Make Colored Fire at Home

Colored fire
The rainbow of colored fire was made using common household chemicals to color the flames. © Anne Helmenstine

Fire is fun. Colored fire is even better. These additives are safe. They won't, in general, produce a smoke that is any better or worse for you than normal smoke. Depending on what you add, the ashes will have a different elemental composition from a normal wood fire, but if you're burning trash or printed material, you have a similar end result. In my opinion, this is suitable for a home fire or kid's campfire, plus most chemicals are found around the house (even of non-chemists).

Homemade Colored Fire Instructions

Make a Seven Layer Density Column

multi layered color column
You can make a colorful many-layered density column using common household liquids. © Anne Helmenstine

Make a density column with many liquid layers using common household liquids. Heavier liquids sink to the bottom, while lighter (less dense) liquids float on top. This is an easy, fun and colorful science project that illustrates the concepts of density and miscibility.

Homemade Density Column Instructions

Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag

Ice cream
Add flavoring to make your science ice cream taste just the way you like. Nicholas Eveleigh / Getty Images

Science experiments can taste good! Learn about freezing point depression, (or not). The ice cream tastes good either way. This cooking chemistry project potentially uses no dishes, so clean up can be very easy.

Get the Science Ice Cream Recipe

Make Hot Ice or Sodium Acetate at Home

Hot ice
You can supercool hot ice or sodium acetate so that it will remain a liquid below its melting point. You can trigger crystallization on command, forming sculptures as the liquid solidifies. The reaction is exothermic so heat is generated by the hot ice. © Anne Helmenstine

Got vinegar and baking soda? If so, you can make 'hot ice' or sodium acetate at home and then cause it to instantly crystallize from a liquid in 'ice'. The reaction generates heat, so the ice is hot. It happens so quickly, you can form crystal towers as you pour the liquid into a dish.

Make Hot Ice at Home

Try the Burning Money Trick at Home

burning money trick
This $20 is on fire, but it is not being consumed by the flames. Do you know how the trick is done?. © Anne Helmenstine

The "burning money trick" is a magic trick using chemistry. You can set a bill on fire, yet it won't burn. Are you brave enough to try it? All you need is a real bill.

Here's What You Do

Coffee Filter Chromatography at Home

paper chromatography
You can use a coffee filter and a 1% salt solution to perform paper chromatography to separate pigments such as food colorings. © Anne Helmenstine

Separation chemistry is a snap. A coffee filter works great, though if you don't drink coffee, you can substitute a paper towel. You could devise a project comparing the separation you get using different brands of paper towels. Leaves from outdoors can provide pigments. Frozen spinach is another good choice.

Try Coffee Filter Chromatorgraphy

Have a Baking Soda and Vinegar Foam Fight

Add a little bubble solution or detergent to the baking soda and vinegar reaction for foamy fun. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

The foam fight is a natural extension of the baking soda volcano. It's a lot of fun, and a little messy, but easy to clean up as long as you don't add food coloring to the foam.

Here's What You Do