You know that your sister/sister-in-law is pretty strict about messes at her house. But hey, you’re the fun uncle, right? And not only that, you can incorporate a little bit of mess with a bit of fun and a lot of learning. Trying out crazy experiments with the kids will not only leave them grinning, it’ll leave their mom grinning too, because her house will still be clean.
Here are five fun science experiments to try with your niece and nephew:
Freeze water instantly
Your niece will think you’re related to her favorite Princess Elsa if you can pull off this trick. This process demonstrated on BBC Science and known as “water bending” requires a few simple household items and a little bit of patience.
Build a rocket
NASA’s website will show you how to build a simple bubble-powered rocket using an antacid and really–who better to go to as a resource than the people who landed on the moon?
Put a cloud in a bottle
LiveScience suggests using simple household items to do a fully controlled experiment to teach your niece and nephew about how weather forms.
Create your own volcano
Best try this one OUTSIDE because you might need to hose down your “lab” when you’re done. Learning 4 Kids has simple instructions for this totally awesome experiment with “real” colored lava!
Make a Rube Goldberg Machine
We all remember Data and his incredibly overcomplicated machines in The Goonies. But how about teaching your young charges engineering skills? Making simple machines will help them to learn about how energy transfers from a moving object to a stationary one. Tinkerlab has some fantastic tips to help your very own machine. And this YouTube video by SBlankman76 illustrates the science in the movie:
Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) is the new “in” thing. If you couch it right, your siblings/in-laws will be less worried about the mess and more excited that their children are learning with their favorite uncle. But please remember: because your experiments are going to be awesome and potentially very messy, ensure that you’ve got proper safety gear like eye protection and gloves (or so says this mom).