Index >> Science activities for primary ages, that I can do at home, with things I can (probably) find around the house!

For all these activities there are some Key Science Skills that you should be using. All these activities should be undertaken with an older sibling or an adult.

  • Observe it: Looking carefully and closely at what happens, Can you describe it, Can you record it? Can you explain it!
  • Record it: How can you record what you have observed? Can you write about it? Can you draw it? Can you photograph it? Can you film it?
  • Talk about it: Have a conversation about what you have observed with your sister or brother or Mum or Dad or another person in your house.

You might know the science behind the fun thing or you might like to do some research on your own ;-)

  Project Science Link Resources Ages Amount of time
Sorting and Classifying: Using any collection of objects (see resources) how can you organise these? This could be binary (A and B) or using a Venn sort or could you develop a branch tree so that you can identify a particular object? Classification Bricks, Lego, Assortment of Objects. 4 to 11 20-30 mins

Growing a plant: Grow a plant from seed or from a cutting. Observe the plant as it grows and make notes / take pictures / make drawings of the plant.

Developing this: If you have more than seed / cutting you might try growing different plants in different locations and seeing if you can spot any differences?

Alternative: If you do not have any seeds you could dissect some fruit / vegetables to explore the structure or do the same with a flower.

Plants Plant / Seed, Pot, Soil, Water. 4 to 11 1h and several weeks!

Floating and Sinking: Find a collection of objects from around the house and explore which of these float and which sink.

Developing this: Look more closely at how much they float, do some 'float' but below the surface? Do some touch the bottom? Can you draw any conclusions?

Forces Sink / Washing up bowl, Water, collection of objects. 4 to 11 30 mins
Even more! Now can you make a boat in order to "save" a favourite toy - you might limit the materials you have but you can only use things from around the house! What's the biggest (heaviest) toy you can save! Tin foil, corks, plastic bottle, straws, sellotape etc... 4 to 11 30 mins

Even, even more! Now let's explore a fair test, so make 4 square of foil 15cm by 15cm. Now make some different shapes and see which one holds the most coins.

Tin foil, coins (1p or 2p) 4 to 11 30 mins

Extension: The amazing floating grape. Fill a glass with water and drop a grape into this - now add some salt a little at time and stir - what happens to the grape?

Glass, grape, water, salt. 7 to 11 15 mins
Dancing Raisins: Fill a glass about half full with some non-sugar soda (ordinary clear soda will be OK but non-sugar is less sticky). Now carefully drop some raisins into the glass - what happens? Forces Raisins, non-sugar lemonade or clear soda, a glass. 4 to 11 10-15 mins
Water on a Penny: Using a straw as a pipette carefully place drops of water onto a penny - what do you observe? At what point does the water bubble 'burst'? What if your try other liquids? Surface Tension Penny, Straw, Water (other liquids) 4 to 11 10-15 mins
Checking out the power: Wander around your house, what things can you find that run from batteries and what things from the mains power? Can you find 10 in each category? Are there some that run on both? Electricity Paper and Pencil. 4 to 7 20-30 mins
Marble runs: Can you set up a marble run? What can you use to guide your marble down, around any maybe even up? Forces Whatever you can find! And some marbles! 7 to 11 30-60 mins
Tallest Tower: How tall a tower can you make? Make some tubes from paper and then arrange them to make a tower that stands up by itself - can you make a meter or more? Forces Newspaper, or paper, sellotape, could also use straws. 4 to 11 30-60 mins.
Keeping Teddy Dry: Make a collection of 'hats' for Teddy. Which ones are best for keeping 'him' dry in a shower? Materials Paper, Card, Plastic, Tin Foil, Greaseproof paper etc... Water dispenser! 4 to 11 20-30 mins
Burn, baby burn!: Find a collection of things (see resources) and set them on fire - what happens? What burns best, What does not burn? Stick a small piece of the 'thing' on the end of a cocktail stick or fork and put into the flame of a candle or tea-light. Materials and changes Small pieces of bread, cheese, dried pasta, crackers, biscuits, fruit, vegetables, or some sweeties. mini-marshmallow, chocolate drops etc...   20-30 mins
Balloon cars: Make a jet car - well almost! This video link should give you the basic ideas - which you can then develop. Forces, Friction Cardboard, Bottle tops, Straws, Cocktail sticks (axles), balloon, scissors, sellotape, space! 7 to 11 20-30 mins
Developing this: If you can make a car can you make a balloon powered boat? Or plane? something 'float' piece of wood / foam.    
and more!: Now can you make a balloon powered rocket to run along the washing line or a piece of string (of fishing line if you have it) Balloon, Straw, Paper, Sellotape    
Musical Straws: Take a straw - bite on the end (about 2cm) to flatten and then cut into a point - you should now be able to get a note if you blow - make a selection for different notes! Sound Straws, scissors, sellotape 4 to 11 10 mins!
Singing Glasses: If you have some wine glasses these are best but other glasses will work. Fill the glasses with different amounts of water and then see what different sounds they make. Do the tumblers make different noises to the wine glasses? Is it different if you tap them with a pencil or run a (slightly wet) finger around the top? Sound Glasses, Water 7 to 11 20-30 mins

Le Mans Maison! Set up a flat surface on a slop. This could be a flat piece of board, perhaps the board from a board game, or a piece of cardboard. Put this on a slope and race the cars! Which car wins? Can you predict? Can you make a car faster by adding 'bits'?

Extension: If you have some magnets you can make paper cars and then glue these to a magnet

Forces A slope, toy cars, plasticine, card etc... to modify the car 4 to 11 30 mins

Extension: If you have some magnets you can make paper cars and then glue these to a magnet - now add a second magnet to a lily stick or piece of card. Draw a race track on a big piece of paper and then put one magnet of each side - race!

Magnets Magnets, Paper, Glue, big paper / cardboard 4 to 11 30 mins
Walking Horses: Starting with a piece of card 15cm by 5cm cut you can make a card 'horse' that will 'walk' down a slope. For more information and a proforma see this link. Make several and have your own grand national! Forces and Friction Card, Slope 7 to 11 10-15 mins
Well Bread! Take four pieces of bread (or carefully without touching cut one slice into 4 parts). Now handle one for about 30 seconds. Hold another one with some tongs or gloves and wipe on a shared surface (e.g. laptop or table), wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap and water before handling the third and do not touch the last. Pop them in the sandwich bags and pin to a board - leave for 2-3 weeks - observe!! Plants and Bacteria 4 (or 1) slice of white bread. 4 Sandwich bags. 4 to 11 30 mins + 1 month!
Paper Spinner: These are great fun and easy to make from thin card or other materials. Cut these into different sizes and see which fall faster / slower - can you bend /change the shape - how does this change the drop rate? Forces Card, Scissors (paper clips / plasticine can be useful as weights) 7 to 11 20-30 mins
Don't over react! A simple and fun game to test out your reflexes. All you need is a 30 cm ruler (or a straight stick you can mark out with divisions). Hold your hand with the forefinger and thumb about 2cm apart - another person drops the ruler. How quick can you catch it - do a bunch and average out your reaction. Humans and other animals Ruler (or stick) 4 to 11 10 mins
Get over it: Set up a series of exercises (star jumps, press-ups, squats, running on spot). Start by taking your pulse (wrist or next), make a note. Do 1 / 2/ 3 minutes of the exercise and then take you pulse again, and every 2 mins How long does it takes for your pulse to get back to its resting state? Humans and other animals Stopwatch (check your phone!), Paper and pencil 4 to 11 20-30 mins
Refraction Action: Fill a glass 3/4 full with water - place a pencil in this and see the 'break', now can you try different glasses and look at things through the glass - do things magnify? Shrink? Distort? Can you find any patterns? Light Glasses, water, pencil 4 to 11 10 mins
Extension: Draw two arrows on a piece of paper one above the other - now place a glass with water to the level of the lower arrow - what can you now see if you look through the glass? Glasses, water, pen, paper 4 to 11 5 mins
Static Ghosts: Cut some Ghost shapes out of tissue paper or toilet roll (pull the toilet roll paper to make it very thin). Now run a balloon on your hair or jumper and hold it over the 'ghosts' watch them rise! Static Electricity Toilet or Tissue paper, Balloon 4 to 11 10 mins
Crystal Action: Fill a glass 3/4 full with hot water and now add bicarb until it stops dissolving. Tie the paperclips to the end of the string and put one end in each and dangle the string between them. Put a plate under the string and wait! Crystals should form on the string. Materials and Chemicals Glasses, Hot water, Bicarbonate of Soda, String or Wool, Paper Clips, Plate 4 to 11 15 mins and a few days!
  Extension: Try this again but with sugar / salt instead of bicarb - add some food colouring for coloured crystals! Salt, Sugar, Food colouring   a few more days!
I'm not seeing it?: Make some invisible ink using lemon juice. Put some lemon juice in a cup and write you message using the paintbrush or cotton bud. let it dry. Now hold the paper above the candle (carefully!) the message will appear! Try other things to see if they work? Materials: Chemical Changes Lemon juice, think pain brush or cotton bud, paper, candle 4 to 11 15 mins
Somewhere over the ...: Cut a piece of kitchen paper into an arc / rainbow shape. Colour (heavily) with felt tips about 2cm up each side. Clip a paper clip to the top with some thread and dangle the ends of your rainbow in two glasses of warmish water - watch what happens! Materials Two glasses, water, felt pens, kitchen roll 4 to 7 10 mins
Spreading out: Fill a glass with warm water. In another glass add some oil (2/3 tablespoons) and dribble some food colouring in - now mix (gently) and then pour the oil into the water glass - what happens? Materials Glass, Water, Oil, Food colouring 4 to 11 10 mins
What a gas ... Put half a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda into a balloon (you might need a funnel!) now half fill a small bottle (with a neck you can stretch the balloon over) with vinegar (ideally white vinegar but malt will be fine). Stretch the balloon over the neck and then tip the powder into the bottle - watch what happens? Change of State Small bottle, balloon, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar 4 to 7 10 mins
Hot Damn! ... You need two small sheets of paper (or card) one white and one black - and a sunny day (Sorry, can't provide one of those!). Please the materials in the sun for about 15 mins and then touch - what do you notice? Now try this with other materials - can you spot any patterns? Heat / Energy Two squares of paper, one white and one black. 4 to 11 20 mins
If you are struggling with some of the science you can look here.
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