Backyard Science Lab!

 Backyard Science Lab for kids | Racheous - Lovable Learning

Hosting a kids backyard science lab is educational, messy FUN (but easy to clean up outdoors). I did this with our homeschool co-op but could be done with only a small group as the ingredients are mostly inexpensive, and readily-available.

General tips for a backyard science lab for kids are: wear old clothes, make sure you have a tub or sink close by for wash up and take photos to reflect on and document the fun!

Of course, ensure you discuss general safety and supervise children at all times.

Backyard Science Lab - Baking soda and vinegar reaction with kids homeschool co-op
Vinegar and baking soda reaction: We set up containers (tubs, cups, shakers, pumps, etc) of varying colours with vinegar and baking soda. The kids could experiment with adding vinegar to baking soda in comparison to adding baking soda to vinegar. This reaction never gets old and the resulting mixtures were mixed, sucked up with syringes and explored.

For the younger kids, we let them explore and play but also gave age appropriate answers to any questions that arose. With the older kids, you can explore how acids and bases react and what they produce.

Backyard Science Lab - Mentos and diet coke cola reaction with kids homeschool co-op
Mentos and diet cola react in such an explosive and exciting reaction for kids. We made sure we could do this more than once. Nothing special is required (although, you can make a geyser with paper if you like) – you just need to drop as many of the mentos in to the cola quickly and stand back and watch the magic!

Backyard Science Lab - Elephant toothpaste experiment with kids homeschool co-op
To create ‘elephant toothpaste‘ you need:

  • a small empty plastic bottle
  • 1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide (20-volume is 6% solution, purchased from a beauty supply store)
  • Squirt of dish detergent
  • 3-4 drops of food coloring (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in approximately 2 tablespoons very warm water

This is an awesome, safe introduction to exothermic (i.e. gives off heat) reactions. Once the reaction is done, the product is merely soapy foam and safe to touch.

Backyard Science Lab - Tie-dyed magic colored milk experiment with kids homeschool co-op
This surprisingly simple experiment uses only full-cream milk, food colouring and dish washing liquid. Add some milk to a plate, drop some colours in then use a cotton swap or straw to add small amounts of dish soap to the milk. links

With this reaction, the dish soap repels the fat in the milk (like how it reacts to grease)  which moves the colours. Surface tension is also involved, which could be explored.

There are many extensions that could be explored with these simple experiments. I know we will be re-visiting them again and again for learning and fun. Let me know in the comments if you have an experiment that you love to do with your children or from when you were a child.

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Comments

  1. We love science in this house! Some great ideas here. Thanks :)

  2. You must have had the most fun backyard ever on that day! These look so fun – and even better that they’re all learning activities…bonus! :)

  3. Wow what a fun afternoon. I’m sure we never did any of these when I was a kid. The ones I remember doing when I was young were making sherbet in science class at school (i think it’s just baking soda and icing sugar? can’t remember) mainly because we got to eat it afterwards haha, and the tea-bag rocket thing which is awesome fun even now but lighting emptied teabags with matches might not be considered ‘safe’ these days…

  4. Wow, I love all of these ideas!!!

  5. These all look like so much fun! Pinned and tweeted :) Thanks for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party – hope to see you again next time!

  6. I imagine there must have been a whole lot of oooohs and aaaaahs as the children enjoyed these fun experiments :) Sounds like such a fun time.

  7. I love this science post! As a homeschool mom of a kindergartener we are always searching for something to do in science. It seems as if no one starts small kids in science until 2nd or 3rd grade.

  8. I love these ideas! I have done some of them with kids at work and they all think they are brilliant, especially the coke and mentos one. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas at the Outdoor Play Party :-)

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