Cool science tricks for kids

Written by mindy baca
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Cool science tricks for kids
Soap bubbles teach kids about scientific principles. (soap bubble image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com)

The next time your kids complain to you that they're bored, take the opportunity to show them some cool science tricks. Children are easily entertained by a good magic trick. Take advantage of your kids' interest in tricks to demonstrate a few scientific concepts. Many science-based tricks can be performed using everyday household items.

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Static Electricity

A cool science trick that kids enjoy is sticking a balloon to the wall with static electricity. Blow up a balloon. Have your kids rub the balloon on their hair or clothes. Stick the balloon to the wall. This trick teaches kids about the atomic theory. According to the atomic theory, everything in our physical world is made up of atoms. Atoms contain neutrons, electrons and protons. Electrons are negatively charged and protons are positively charged. Negative charges repel negative charges but attract positive charges. When you rub a balloon against your hair or clothes, you transfer electrons to the balloon, increasing its negative charge. The negatively charged balloon sticks to the positively charged wall.

Non-Newtonian Fluid

Make a non-Newtonian fluid and talk to kids about the states of matter. In Newtonian fluids, the liquid's resistance to flow depends on its temperature. In non-Newtonian fluids, the viscosity of the liquid is affected by the amount of pressure applied to it. Quicksand is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid. Slowly mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. Add more water or cornstarch until the mixture is right. You have the right mix when it acts like a stiff liquid when you slowly stir it, but feels like it is a solid when you tap on it with your finger. Let the kids roll the cornstarch mixture around in their hands. It will behave like a solid, but when they stop applying pressure it will turn back into a liquid.

Soap Bubbles

Show your children how to make soap bubbles with their hands. Have the kids soap their hands up over the sink. Once their hands are wet and soapy, have the kids curl their index finger up against their thumb. Then have them slowly slide the tip of their finger up the side of their thumb, being careful to maintain contact. A soapy film should form in the circle made by their thumb and index finger. Have your children blow gently into the circle to form a bubble. Soap bubbles are made up of a thin sheet of water between two layers of soap molecules. This cool science trick can be used to teach your kids about a variety of scientific topics, including the molecular structures of soap and water, the efficiency of spheres, surface tension and the colour spectrum.

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