Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids

Kid-Friendly Educational Projects

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, March 16). Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324 (accessed September 21, 2017).

"I'm Bored!" This chant will drive any parent to distraction. What can you do about it?  How about some fun and educational projects that are suitable for kids? Don't worry, chemistry is here to save the day. Here is a list of some great chemistry activities and projects to get you started.

01
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Sam is making a smiley face with her slime, not eating it.
Anne Helmenstine

Slime is a classic chemistry project. If you are a slime connoisseur, there are actually several different versions, but this white glue and borax recipe is my own kids' favorite. More »

Epsom salt crystals needles grow in a matter of hours. You can grow clear or colored crystals.
Epsom salt crystals needles grow in a matter of hours. You can grow clear or colored crystals. Anne Helmenstine

This is the quickest crystal project I know, plus it's easy and inexpensive. You evaporate a solution of epsom salts on construction paper, which can give the crystals brilliant colors. The crystals develop as the paper dries, so you will get quicker results if you lay the paper out in the sun or in an area with good air circulation. Feel free to try this project using other chemicals, such as table salt, sugar, or borax. More »

Adding baking soda causes the volcano to erupt.
The volcano has been filled with water, vinegar, and a little detergent. Adding baking soda causes it to erupt. Anne Helmenstine

Part of the popularity of this project is it's easy and inexpensive. If you sculpt a cone for the volcano it can be a project that takes up a whole afternoon. If you just use a 2-liter bottle and pretend it's a cinder cone, you can have an eruption in minutes. More »

This is the 'before' photo of the mentos and diet soda fountain.
This is the 'before' photo of the mentos and diet soda fountain. Eric is about to drop the roll of mentos candies into the open 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. More »

05
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Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks
Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks. Laura A., Creative Commons

Sugar crystals do not grow overnight, so this project takes some time. However, it's a great way to learn about crystal-growing techniques and the result is edible. More »

You can make a colorful many-layered density column using common household liquids.
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. This is an easy, fun and colorful science project that illustrates the concepts of density and miscibility. More »

Ice Cream
Ice Cream. Nicholas Eveleigh, Getty Images

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. More »

These pH paper test strips were made using coffee filters dipped in red cabbage juice.
These pH paper test strips were made using paper coffee filters that had been cut up into strips and dipped in red cabbage juice. The strips can be used to test the pH of common household chemicals. Anne Helmenstine

Make your own pH paper test strips and then test the acidity of common household chemicals. Can you predict which chemicals are acids and which are bases? More »

This pattern was created by dotting a shirt with colored sharpie pens.
This pattern was created by dotting a shirt with colored sharpie pens, then bleeding the ink with alcohol. Anne Helmenstine

Decorate a tee-shirt with 'tie dye' from a collection of permanent Sharpie pens. This is a fun project that illustrates diffusion and chromatography plus produces wearable art. More »

Flubber is a non-toxic, non-sticky type of slime.
Flubber is a non-toxic, non-sticky type of slime. Anne Helmenstine

Flubber is made from soluble fiber and water. It's a less-sticky sort of slime that is so safe you could eat it. I'm not saying it tastes great (though you can flavor it), but it's edible. Kids will need adult supervision making this type of slime, but it's the best recipe for making a slime very young kids can play with and examine. More »

Most invisible ink messages can be revealed by applying heat to the paper.
Most invisible ink messages can be revealed by applying heat to the paper. Anne Helmenstine

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. More »

These are some Jelly Marbles from the Steve Spangler Jelly Marbles Activity Kit.
These are some Jelly Marbles from the Steve Spangler Jelly Marbles Activity Kit. Anne Helmenstine

Polymer balls are a variation on the slime recipe. These instructions describe how to make the ball and then go on to explain how you can alter the recipe to change the characteristics of the ball. More »

Cereal and Milk
Cereal and Milk. Adrianna Williams, Getty Images

It doesn't have to be cereal. What you need is an iron-fortified food and a magnet. Remember, iron is actually toxic so you won't pull huge quantities out of food. The best way to see the iron is to use the magnet to stir the food, rinse it with water, then wipe it with a white paper towel or napkin to see the tiny black filings. More »

You can use a coffee filter and a 1% salt solution to perform 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

Examine the pigments in colored candies (or food coloring or marker ink) using a coffee filter and a salt water solution. More »

Sam holds up handmade paper she made from recycled old paper.
Sam holds up handmade paper she made from recycled old paper, decorated with flower petals and leaves. Anne Helmenstine
It's easy to recycle used paper to make beautiful cardstock for cards or other crafts. This project is a good way to learn about papermaking and recycling. More »

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. More »

In the Smithsonian kits, these are called 'frosty diamonds'.
In the Smithsonian kits, these are called 'frosty diamonds'. The crystals are alum on a rock. Anne Helmenstine

Alum is sold with pickling spices in the grocery store. Alum crystals are among the quickest, easiest, and most reliable crystals you can grow so they are a great choice for kids. More »

If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel.
If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel. Anne Helmenstine

The magic ingredient for this fun kid's chemistry project is vinegar. You can make chicken bones flexible, as if they were made of rubber. If you soak a hard-boiled or raw egg in vinegar, the eggshell will dissolve and you'll be left with a rubbery egg. You can even bounce the egg like a ball. More »

This soap sculpture actually resulted from a small piece of Ivory soap.
This soap sculpture actually resulted from a small piece of Ivory soap. My microwave literally filled when I nuked an entire bar. Anne Helmenstine

This project will leave your kitchen smelly soapy, which could be good or bad, depending on your opinion of the Ivory soap fragrance. The soap bubbles up in the microwave, sort of resembling shaving cream. You can still use the soap, too. More »

Egg in a Bottle Demonstration
The egg in a bottle demonstration illustrates concepts of pressure and volume. Anne Helmenstine
If you set a hard-boiled egg on top of an open glass bottle it just sits there, looking pretty. You can apply science to get the egg to fall into the bottle. More »
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, March 16). Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-chemistry-projects-for-bored-kids-604324 (accessed September 21, 2017).