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Top Chemistry Projects for Bored Kids

Kid-Friendly Educational Projects

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"I'm Bored!" This chant will drive any parent to distraction. What can you do about it?  How about some fun and educational projects that are suitable for kids? Don't worry, chemistry is here to save the day. Here is a list of some great chemistry activities and projects to get you started.

1. Make Slime

Sam is making a smiley face with her slime, not eating it.
Anne Helmenstine
Slime is a classic chemistry project. If you are a slime connoisseur, there are actually several different versions, but this white glue and borax recipe is my own kids' favorite.

2. Crystal Spikes

Epsom salt crystals needles grow in a matter of hours. You can grow clear or colored crystals.
Anne Helmenstine
This is the quickest crystal project I know, plus it's easy and inexpensive. You evaporate a solution of epsom salts on construction paper, which can give the crystals brilliant colors. The crystals develop as the paper dries, so you will get quicker results if you lay the paper out in the sun or in an area with good air circulation. Feel free to try this project using other chemicals, such as table salt, sugar, or borax.

3. Baking Soda Volcano

Adding baking soda causes the volcano to erupt.
Anne Helmenstine
Part of the popularity of this project is it's easy and inexpensive. If you sculpt a cone for the volcano it can be a project that takes up a whole afternoon. If you just use a 2-liter bottle and pretend it's a cinder cone, you can have an eruption in minutes.

4. Mentos & Diet Soda Fountain

This is the 'before' photo of the mentos and diet soda fountain.
Anne Helmenstine
This is a backyard activity, best accompanied by a garden hose. The mentos fountain is more spectacular than a baking soda volcano. In fact, if you make the volcano and find the eruption to be disappointing, try substituting these ingredients.

5. Rock Candy

Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks
Laura A., Creative Commons
Sugar crystals do not grow overnight, so this project takes some time. However, it's a great way to learn about crystal-growing techniques and the result is edible.

6. Seven Layer Density Column

You can make a colorful many-layered density column using common household liquids.
Anne Helmenstine
Make a density column with many liquid layers using common household liquids. This is an easy, fun and colorful science project that illustrates the concepts of density and miscibility.

7. Ice Cream in a Baggie

Ice Cream
Nicholas Eveleigh, Getty Images
Learn about freezing point depression, or not. The ice cream tastes good either way. This cooking chemistry project potentially uses no dishes, so clean up can be very easy.

8. Cabbage pH Paper

These pH paper test strips were made using coffee filters dipped in red cabbage juice.
Anne Helmenstine
Make your own pH paper test strips and then test the acidity of common household chemicals. Can you predict which chemicals are acids and which are bases?

9. Sharpie Tie Dye

This pattern was created by dotting a shirt with colored sharpie pens.
Anne Helmenstine
Decorate a tee-shirt with 'tie dye' from a collection of pemanent Sharpie pens. This is a fun project that illustrates diffusion and chromatography plus produces wearable art.

10. Make Flubber

Flubber is a non-toxic, non-sticky type of slime.
Anne Helmenstine
Flubber is made from soluble fiber and water. It's a less-sticky sort of slime that is so safe you could eat it. I'm not saying it tastes great (though you can flavor it), but it's edible. Kids will need adult supervision making this type of slime, but it's the best recipe for making a slime very young kids can play with and examine.

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