Christmas break is on its way and it’s time to line up the activities you’re going to use to keep the kids occupied this holiday season! Street Science has easy experiments you can try your hand at over the Christmas period to keep the kids engaged and maybe teach them a few new things as you go.
Santa Seed Heads
Santa grows a pretty good beard on his own but you can help with the hair on his head! Santa Seed Heads are an easy experiment for kids of any age. Grab an old stocking, fill it with moss and seeds – grass seeds grow fast, so they’re fun to check on every day – and cover it in whatever decorations you want. In just a week or two, Santa’s head will be sprouting a healthy patch of greenery.
Christmas Lava Lamps
Lava lamps are as groovy as ever, and even if you don’t want to buy one they still make for a fun, quick experiment. Oil and water don’t mix, so if you add food colouring and a fizzy tablet (like Berocca) into the mix, you’ll have your very own shifting blobs of colour.
Make Your Own Musical Instruments
You don’t need to buy a whole drum set just to make music at home. It’s pretty easy to make some instruments with just a few different parts. Combine rubber bands, paddlepop sticks, cups and sheets of paper and see what you can come up with! We’ve got instructions for drums and a guitar but you can make whatever you want.
For kids of all ages who need an easy place to start, seasonal senses is a fun game. Give everyone small samples of those holiday things – think cinnamon, pine and mangoes – and get them to write down what they smell, taste and see. Don’t forget to drag the grown ups into this one and see whose taste buds are the best!
Another trick of water and oil, watch as food colouring turns into a spectacular underwater show. Fill a clear cup with water and another with a small amount of oil and a few drops of food colouring. Mix your colours into the oil then pour the mixture carefully into the water. Your imagination is the only limit to this one! Try different colours, or other types of liquid as the bottom layer, and see how things turn out differently.
Got a few extra candy canes lying around? You can turn them into an easy experiment. Grab a few cups, fill them with different liquids like water, vinegar and oil, stick a candy cane in them and then check back to see which ones are dissolving the fastest. If you try it with some of your favourite drinks then you can even try them when they’re done to see which tastes best!
Just like growing your own flowers, but much faster! Grab some scissors and cut your flower shape out of paper. Colour and decorate the flower however you like, fold the petals in, then place it in some water and watch as it blooms and unfolds right before your eyes.
Just because we don’t get a white Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere doesn’t mean we can’t make our own summer snow! Grab a water-tight jar and fill it with a mixture of water, baby oil and glitter. Stick a little figure to the inside of the lid and screw it on. Now flip the jar over and watch as the glitter snows down on the figure, just like a real snow globe.
Get some colour into your holiday season with this easy experiment. All you need is a tall, clear container and some colourful liquids like dish soap, corn syrup, oil and water with food colouring in it. Add them to your jar and watch as they arrange themselves right before your eyes! Can you guess which order they’ll end up in?
Dig out the paddlepop sticks and rubber bands because it’s time to put together your very own catapult. Assemble your machine with a spoon as a bucket, load it up with your ammo and see who can build the best catapult! Lollies make great boulders, and it’s easy to get the kids to clean up when the fun’s over.
Beautiful Bath Bombs
Love bath time? You can make your very own bath bombs at home! With a mould and a few ingredients that are really easy to find in every grocery store, you can shape and colour your own fizzy bath balls.
One of the easiest and most spectacular experiments you can do with the kids this season, reindeer toothpaste is great fun for kids both big and small. Mix your ingredients together in a tall bottle and watch the chemicals react, erupting as a fountain of foam and colour.