Chemistry STEM Activities for Kids (77 results)

An experienced chemistry professor used to say that it took about one explosion per week to maintain college students' attention in chemistry lectures. At that rate, we'd get in pretty big trouble with a lot of parents and teachers! Don't worry, we still have lots of bubbles, fizzes, bangs, and color changes for you to explore.

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Have you ever wondered why your phone, computer, or a flashlight works without being plugged into a power outlet? Where does the electrical energy come from that makes all these portable devices function? You probably know the answer: they use batteries! But do you know how these batteries work? Batteries store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy, which means that electrochemical reactions inside the batteries create electricity. It may sound complicated, but it is simpler than you… Read more
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Do you love bright and vibrant colored art supplies? Do you ever wonder how these colors are made?  The variety of colors comes from colored molecules that are mixed into the material used to make the product. Some colored molecules are synthetic (or manmade), like the famous Yellow #5 found in food dyes. Others are extracted from natural sources, such as carotenoid (pronounced kuh-RAH-tuh-noid) molecules, which make your carrot look orange, and can be extracted from saffron.  Even… Read more
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Have you ever dropped your phone in the water and it stopped working? It would be great if you could somehow dry the phone from the inside before it got damaged, right? There are actually some substances that can absorb water from their surroundings. You might have noticed that when you buy new shoes, electronics or beef jerky, that often there is a little package inside that says “silica gel, do not eat.” This little bag of silica gel protects the product from water damage when it… Read more
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When we think about diapers we usually think about babies, because most of us wore them when we were babies and now maybe our siblings or friend’s siblings wear them. But did you know that astronauts also have to wear diapers sometimes? Astronaut diapers are called Maximum Absorbency Garments (MAGs), and astronauts wear them when they have to stay in their suits for long periods of time, such as during spacewalks, or as their ships are re-entering the atmosphere.  For babies and for… Read more
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Have you ever noticed how hair moves freely when it is under the water, but clings together as soon as it emerges out of the water? Not only human hair does this; when wet dogs shake themselves after a swim, their hair clings together in strands. Try this activity to see why wet hair is far less fluffy than dry hair! Read more
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Do you know that on everything you touch, you leave fingerprints? If your hands are very dirty, this is obvious, because you can actually see them. But even if your hands seem clean, your fingerprints will stay behind on the surfaces you touch—they are just invisible! Do you want proof? Then make them visible in this activity and collect your own fingerprints! Read more
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If you’ve ever accidentally let go of a Helium balloon while outside, then you know that some gases are less dense than others. In the case of your Helium balloon, it most likely floated away before you could catch it, because Helium is much lighter (or less dense) than the air in our environment. We don’t often think about gases having density, but they do! In this activity you’re going to explore the different densities of some common household gases, including the air that… Read more
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Did you know that flour can explode? Luckily, this does not happen spontaneously on your kitchen counter, but only if the conditions are right. The trick is that you need a very fine powder of flour to make an explosion happen. In fact, any solid flammable material that is dispersed in the air as a dust cloud will explode once it is ignited. Why is that? It has to do with the particle size of the solid material, which determines how rapidly a chemical reaction takes place. In this activity, you… Read more
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With the peak of camping season behind us, any leftover marshmallows can be offered up to science exploration! Did you realize that this sticky, tasty treat is nothing more than air trapped in a stretchy substance? Have you ever tried to expand a marshmallow without getting your hands all sticky? How did you do it? And how big did it get? Blowing up marshmallows is what this activity is about. You might not “see” a gas like air, but could it help puff up a marshmallow? Be ready to… Read more
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You probably know that some liquids, such as oil and water, do not mix together. If you pour them into the same container, they will form two separate liquid layers on top of each other. Other liquids, for example rubbing alcohol and water, can be mixed with each other. But did you know that once both of these liquids have mixed, you can separate them again into two different layers? How can you do that? The answer might surprise you: with salt! In this activity, you will find out how this… Read more
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