science kit

Homemade Science Kits

Science kits are a popular gift for kids. Either for homemade science kits, or to add to a purchased one, here are some items for science fun and play. Last month, with the help of little hands, I did a whole series of blog posts on tools kids could use for science so these suggestions have been child-tested and approved.

homemade science kitFor a science kit,  include:

-a magnifying glass
-a flashlight
-assortment of spoons
-an eye dropper (the big plastic ones are the best for small hands)
-mirrors (there are some plastic ones that won’t break)
-soap for making bubbles
-playdough and slime
-paper tubes
-some smallish rocks
-a funnel
-food colors
-and, of course, some water but the water can be in the sink, not the kit.
Goggles will protect eyes during experiments.

Some buttons, popsicle sticks, corks, elastic bands, straws, small balls, and balloons are also fun to have in a science kit for playing and experimenting.

Nature supplies some science treasures like leaves, sticks, rocks, pine cones, bugs, flowers, small critters, wind, rain, sun, and more.

Our own bodies are another source. What do hands, feet, and other body parts do? Bodies can smell, taste, touch, see, hear, and more. There is endless science as we all learn about our bodies.

Children will often find other things they will use for science exploration.

Instead of a small science kit, you can find a large plastic pin to hold all these items. Or, you may want to have many small containers with only a few things in each one. This gives the advantage of being able to mix the items so that kids find different ways to combine and use them. This encourages more discovery and creativity. Changes are almost like having new toys.

Do you have some suggestions for what in include in homemade science kits?

To check out last month’s series on science fun, visit the blog for posts.

Science Fun with Mirrors

A quick check at a thrift store included a 50 cent treasure that led to some science fun with mirrors. A mirror is a great item for a science kit for kids. When Big Sister found a small case with a mirror front for her and Little Sister to share, little did we know it came with some science.

science fun with mirrorsAs we waited in the line to pay for our items, there was a large two sided mirror on the counter. We had placed our things beside it and Big Sister noticed she could she her reflection in both mirrors at the same time. Not only that, she could see the reflection of one mirror in the other mirror too. She could see herself one, two, three times. Exciting science fun with mirrors.

science fun with mirrorsBack in the car, it was Little Sister’s turn to hold the mirror. While she couldn’t see multiple reflections of herself, the mirror made a patch of light on the back of the seat in front of her. By moving the mirror around, she could make the light move too. More exciting science fun with mirrors. (bright patch on seat back)

science fun with mirrorsWhen we got home, the mirror had lots of fingerprints. Because the case had fabric, we couldn’t put the whole thing in water, so just wiped it off with a cloth, but I did suggest that I had another mirror that we could put in water to see what might happen. Does a mirror still reflect in water? What happens when there is no mirror in the water?

science fun with mirrorsNeither of the earlier science discoveries were planned. They both happened when we were doing other ordinary activities like going to the store and riding in the car. Washing things off is another everyday task too. It was possible to build on what the kids found out on their own and add to it. This isn’t always possible to do but when it is, we can build on what kids are doing and extend the learning and play.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, can you reflect some more science for all?

Science Fun with String for Kids

String hoarders beware–kids can have lots of science fun with string so you might need to guard your supply. Set out some pieces of string, yarn, or even shoelaces with other toy or materials for your child.

science fun with stringString is also a great item for homemade science kits. When your child is ready, here are some more ways to have science fun with string. Children may need extra supervision when playing with string.

As adults, because we use it so often, we think of string as something ordinary but to kids, a piece of string is almost magical. With a string attached, kids can pull all kinds of toys along behind them. First, the toys are small animals or vehicles with wheels that often make noises as kids walk or run.

Next, kids ride wheeled toys and use strings to pull other objects along behind. These might be wagons or little carts, or a lawn chair tied behind a pedal tractor with a skipping rope. The adult watching (me) couldn’t really understand the attraction of the activity. While appreciating the science and creativity of towing a lawn chair, it had to be untied. The young scientist eventually agreed to a cardboard box instead. No photo for this one.

science fun with string


Besides pulling, string can also be used to lift. A piece of string and a cardboard tube or empty plastic bottle make a simple crane. Attach a fairly long piece of string to the bottle or tube with tape and wrap it around a few times to anchor it. Kids can hook up whatever they want to lift and turn. As the string winds up, it gets shorter and shorter and up goes the load. Going down is really fast as the weight makes the string unwind really fast.

science fun with stringAlong with two cups, string also makes a telephone. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup and thread the string into it. To hold the string in, you can either use a paper clip or tie a knot. Two people can each hold a cup and stretch the string taut in between, one talking in the cup and the other person listening.

science fun with stringWith a button, a piece of string can make a whirligig. Use a button with holes and lace a couple of feet of string in and out. Tie a knot in the string and slide the button to the middle. Hold each end of the loop and twist it a few turns. By quickly moving hands back and forth, the button whirls around and around and makes a whirring noise. Keep noses and fingers from getting too close to the spinning button.

science fun with stringSome puppets and yo-yos are two toys that use strings, altho they could be vintage hand-me-downs. Swings use ropes that are just really big strings. Speaking of swinging, kids like to swing toys and other things tied to string around and around. They may need reminders about checking if they have enough space and no one is in the way. Knots are almost a science in themselves.

Lots more magic and science fun with string. Any string flings at your house?