We love these cannons as they are simple to make, very low cost (as long as you like eating the crisps!) and great fun. There are lots of possibilities for trying out different ideas with them. Whether this is to hit the Working Scientifically aspects of the National Curriculum or just to allow children to explore, experiment and be scientists!

What you need

  • A Pringles tube (or similar)
  • Large elastic bands
  • Blunt pencil
  • Plastic bottle that fits inside the Pringles tube
  • Projectiles: cotton wool balls, ping pong balls, screwed up paper
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knife (grown up use only)

How to make your cannon

Cut the bottom off a Pringles tube (this is a grown up job!) and cut four slits in the other end. Use the slits to attach a couple of elastic bands. Push the (blunt) pencil through the plastic bottle (may need a grown up to make holes in the bottle) and the elastic bands can loop over the pencil.

How to test your cannon

Pull the bottle down and let go to fire projectiles such as screwed up paper balls, ping pong balls, cotton wool, pom poms etc. How far can you fire it? Can you hit a target? Can you knock down some plastic cups?

Ideas for use in school or home education

Get the children to bring in the tubes and plastic bottles and you only need some elastic bands. This makes it minimal on resources…you just need to plan in advance to you can collect the tubes!

Use sticky note planning in class to come up with ideas for variables. Many can be done with no further resources: change the projectile, number of elastic bands, twists in the bands, angle of launch, pull-back distance…and every time I do this the children think of ideas that I haven’t thought of! The dependent variable can also be chosen from distance flown, height reached, force (ie, can it knock down cups) or even accuracy (can you get it in a cup). This could be used as part of the forces topic in Y3 or Y5, or as a standalone STEM project any time.

If you would like to boost the science curriculum in your school, we can bring a whole day of Fantastic Forces activities to every year group from EYFS to Year 6. Rockets, experiments, explosions and hands on learning. Check out our schools page or email us for details.


Has lockdown left you with gaps in the science curriculum? Fab Science can help!

A visit from Fab Science can inspire children, boost working scientifically skills and provide a catch up for missed learning. Hands on workshops can be used to enhance classroom learning of a topic or as stand-alone sessions to cover an entire curriculum area. Each activity has been carefully designed by a qualified science teacher to allow opportunities for exploration and fun, while ensuring National Curriculum requirements have been met.

All activities have been fully risk-assessed to minimise Covid risks and any activities that cannot be made Covid-safe have been removed. We have a thorough cleaning programme for equipment and have invested in extra kit to allow for quarantine of any items that cannot be sanitised. We are constantly updating our plans with the latest guidance and will plan your visit in accordance with your own Covid-secure procedures.



Cover all the statutory requirements of Year 4 electricity by experimenting with components and constructing circuits. Children join hands to become a human circuit and use their new electrical knowledge to build burglar alarms and games. Finish off by making sparks fly with the Van de Graaff generator!


A (very gooey) interactive demonstration of the journey of your lunch through the digestive system. Children get a chance to investigate enzymes and learn about how food is broken down. We look at food to start a discussion on balanced diet which can be extended in class. Can cover all NC requirements for Y4 Animals, including humans.


Explore magnetism, air pressure and all kinds of forces with lots of hands on, practical activities. Design your own friction investigation and find out about flight. Covers all requirements of Y3 Forces.


Use a range of tests to classify rock samples, make fossils and learn about the rock cycle using chocolate! This session can also include an environmental aspect with an investigation of acid rain. Covers all areas of Year 3 Rocks curriculum.


Start by exploring solids, liquids and gases and how things change state. See clouds in your classroom with a sublime dry ice demonstration. Can include the learning about the water cycle or inspire new ideas with smart materials, non-Newtonian fluids and polymers. Can cover all NC requirements of Y4 States of Matter. 


Explore pitch, volume and how sound travels in a series of hands on activities. See the vibrations that produce sound and understand how our ears work. Covers all NC requirements for Y4 Sound. 



An extended version of Electrickery 1, with more emphasis on investigating the effects of changes to circuits and using circuit diagrams. Build a quiz machine and try out the Van de Graaff generator. Covers all NC requirements for Y6 Electricity.


Start off with a gooey interactive ‘surgery’ demonstration to find out about major organs of the human body. We’ll dissect real hearts, with a chance for children to see and touch the valves and blood vessels. Investigate lung capacity and heart rate and design a longer-term experiment to continue in class. Can cover all requirements of Y6 Animals, including humans.


Investigate pulleys, levers and gears in practical, real world situations. Then learn about air resistance, friction and gravity by constructing parachutes and launching rockets! Covers all requirements of Y5 Forces.


All About Me investigates what makes us unique. DNA, fingerprints, our genes, the features that we can see and those that we can’t. A fascinating extension to the Evolution and Inheritance topic.


This is where chemistry starts to get real! Use pipettes and test tubes to learn about chemical changes with a variety of weird and wonderful concoctions. We also look at smart materials and the amazing world of polymers. Covers all NC requirements of Y5 Properties and Changes of Materials.


Use ray boxes, mirrors, blocks and prisms to understand how light travels. Investigate colours, learn about lenses and be amazed by chemiluminescence! Can cover all NC requirements for Y6 Light.

Get in touch to find out what we can do for your school.


2020 has been a very strange year! The Fab Science lab has been closed down for months but we’ve dusted off the test tubes, dug out the goggles and tested the rocket launchers (they didn’t need testing, we just like launching rockets!). We’re back and raring to go!

Fab Science parties have been completely redesigned to allow for social distancing, while still being just as much fun. You can choose from a hands on experimenting party or an interactive science show. We know it’s a tricky time to plan anything, so booking is totally flexible. We can get a date in the diary and you can keep your options open on numbers, venue, type of party…even the date can change if necessary! There is no deposit to pay and we’re happy to accommodate last minute changes.

Let’s get experimenting!

Have a go at concocting your own colour changing potions and erupt heaps of foam at a hands on science party. At the moment this is only available for small  parties; each child has their own lab station with everything they need to try out all of the awesome experiments. Everything is thoroughly cleaned for each event and we can bring tables and even gazebos if needed. With the ‘rule of six’ for social gatherings, we need to keep to a maximum of 6 people (including at least one responsible adult). The party presenter does not count as part of the six as workers are exempt and we make sure we keep our distance! Bigger groups will be able to have hands on experimenting as soon as the guidance allows…book now and we can tailor a party to suit you .

Super Science Show

Brand new for 2020: an interactive show with awesome science tricks, exploding lemonade, pourable clouds, inflatable marshmallows, magic balloons and mini rockets! We believe kids should get stuck in to science so we inspire them in the show and give them lots of ideas of things to try at home. As this is a performance, it makes social distancing much easier so it’s suitable for larger groups in a Covid secure venue. Please note that this is a Covid secure performance and the children will need to remain seated throughout. It will not be possible to do party food or a disco afterwards (unless restrictions are lifted before your party date).


To keep everyone safe, we need to stick to the current guidance for events and any restrictions put in place by your venue. Our presenters will wear a mask while setting up and packing up and will need to have enough space to be physically distanced from the audience during the show. We thoroughly clean all equipment for each event and encourage regular hand washing during and after the experiments. We would advise that parents drop and go as any parents that stay will need to be counted in the numbers allowed by the venue. They will also need to remain seated throughout. We will do a risk assessment of the venue to manage how people will move around safely and we will arrange the seating to allow for social distancing. Don’t worry though, our presenters will make it all so much fun, the kids won’t even notice that we’ve had to make these changes!

We’re keeping up to date with the latest guidance and we’re happy to discuss any concerns that you may have. We will work with you to make the perfect party that will be the talk of the playground! For more information on our parties visit our party page or contact us to book today.



We love experimenting and making things explode! We also like quiet time to read…but still about science! So here are a few of our favourite science books for children…

The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make up your Home. Presented as a case for a detective, this book gets kids thinking about chemistry in a really interesting way.

See Inside Science (Usborne). We love this book! My sons had this from aged 5 and still find things in it that are interesting several years later. The other ‘See Inside’ books are also great. See Inside your Body is full of facts about poo and other gruesome stuff!

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (Rachel Ignotofsky). A beautifully illustrated book about some amazing women, it includes the most famous as well as many you may not have heard of. It is possibly a bit too focussed on American scientists but an interesting read and easy to dip into.

Whizz Pop Bang. While not actually a book, I can’t miss an opportunity to mention this fantastic magazine. My kids still fight over it every month and they love trying out the experiments. It’s a great balance of facts and activities, all presented in a fun and interesting way. It is subscription only at the moment but you don’t have to sign up long term. You even get an email before the magazine arrives giving you a kit list…just add a few bits to your weekly shop and your kitchen will be a science lab on Whizz Pop Bang day!

Get Set Go Science. OK, we might be a biased on this one as they are written by Fab Science founder Emma Ranade! These are activity books specially designed to compliment the Key Stage 1 curriculum. The pages are wipe clean so you can try the activities again and again.

Happy reading!


Your brain is amazingly clever and can do all sorts of calculations in milliseconds…however you can confuse it with some very simple things! Try and play an April Fool on your own senses!

Can you believe what you see? Holey Hands

Want to see right through your hand? For this experiment you need an old kitchen roll tube, your eyes and hands. Have the tube in your left hand, carefully hold it against your left eye. Now put your right hand in front of your right eye, with your palm towards you and the side of your hand touching the tube. Keep both eyes open. Slowly move your hand away from you, along the side of the tube. You should see a hole in your hand! Your brain is used to ‘stitching together’ the pictures it gets from each of your eyes, this makes it look as if the tube goes through your hand!

Can you believe what you hear? Ear Switcher

Our ears don’t just let us hear sound but we can also tell which direction the sound is coming from. This is because we hear sounds slightly earlier in the ear that is nearest the sound and our brains can measure that distance and do some very clever maths to work out the direction. You can confuse this process with a couple of bits of hose pipe and a some funnels! See our Ear Switcher page for details. You can make funnels by cutting the tops off empty plastic bottles.

Can you believe what you taste? Apple flavour potatoes

Investigate how your senses of smell, taste and sight work together to help you enjoy your food. Get a few different fruits or vegetables such as carrot, apple, potato, turnip, parsnip or pear. Either grate or chop them into small pieces (all about the same size). Now get a volunteer to close their eyes and hold their nose while you feed them a little of each. Can they work out which is which? They probably can’t as you need all of your senses for your brain to identify a food. You could try different foods or different people (are adults or children better at this?). Apparently even strong-tasting foods such as garlic don’t taste any different from a potato if you hold your nose but I’ve never been brave enough to try! You could try chewing a small piece of raw potato while sniffing a piece of apple, does it start to taste of apple?




There are a huge number of websites out there that can provide activities and information for home schooling…it can be a bit overwhelming! We’ve curated a few of our favourites. You might not need this list just yet but bookmark it and pop back whenever you need some fresh ideas.

STEM Learning

STEM Learning provide training and resources for teaching science from Early Years to A-Level. They run courses from their centre in York and coordinate Science Learning Partnerships all over the country (I am a course facilitator for our local one). They have stepped up to the challenge of supporting a home schooling nation by making a section on the website for family activities. It’s completely free and organised by age, I particularly like the Starters for STEM activity ideas. They even have subject experts on hand for questions…just hit the ‘Get in Touch’ button at the bottom of the page! Find the resources here.

Royal Institution

They do much more than just the Christmas Lectures! Check out their ‘ExpeRimental‘ section for all sorts of activities that really make you think.

Steve Spangler

We love Steve Spangler! He’s an American science communicator who does all sorts of science shows. He does make suggestions for things to try at home but many involve things that are easy to buy in an American ‘grocery store’ but less available in Tesco (dry ice for example!). His videos are a great watch though, he does lots of the big stuff that gets us all excited about science. Here’s the website or you could just head straight to The Spangler Effect YouTube channel.

BBC Bitesize

If your child has a question and you’d like a clear answer suitable for their age, BBC Bitesize is a good first stop. Although a quick Google search will give you hundreds of websites to answer any given question, the good old Beeb has fact-checked information, written with kids in mind and is even linked to the National Curriculum. They have games and activities to check learning and links to short video clips from the BBC archive. Sections available for every topic from Year 1 to GCSE, a great free resource. Start discovering BBC Bitesize here.


Quick activities to spark curiosity from the Wellcome Trust. Don’t overuse them (leave some for the teachers to use when the kids go back to school!) but they are great way to get children thinking like scientists. You can find the activities here. If you are interested in children’s engagement in science, the Science Capital Project is a very interesting read. It’s all about helping children to realise that science is ‘for them’ and that they can be a scientist. This is something that many schools are trying to embed but what better opportunity to work on this than when we are home schooling? Let’s let them explore their own interests and become young scientists!


This is a huge database of worksheets, lesson plans, displays, colouring sheets, topic work and activities. Usually a paid for resource for teachers but they’ve made free home learning packs and they’ve got a suggested daily timetable if you like a schedule. Find the home learning hub here.

Science Sparks

Where many of us are just putting together home school ideas now that we’re all stuck inside, Emma Vanstone at Science Sparks has been doing this for years! She’s written a couple of awesome books on doing science at home (one of which is the genius idea of ‘Snackable Science’). Check out Science Sparks here.

Woodland and Wildlife Trusts

Even though we can’t get outdoors much, the Woodland Trust have written a blog on nature in your garden. They also have a website called Tree Tools for Schools with all sorts of outdoor learning ideas and spotter sheets. There are Wildlife Trusts across the country that have visitor centres and nature reserves. Obviously the centres are closed for now but they have lots of activities to do in your garden such as making a mini pond or a bug hotel. You can find their activities here.

Fab Science!

We are adding new ideas daily on our Home Education page and sharing interesting stuff on Facebook. To get more involved and let us know what you have been up to, join the Fab Science Facebook group. You can even ask us questions! Emma (chief Fab Scientist) is actually a science teacher as well as slightly bonkers person who likes exploding stuff. She’s happy to answer any questions, just pop them on the Facebook group or email






When teaching in both primary and secondary, I’m always astounded by the number of times children tell me space facts that I didn’t know! It holds amazing fascination and it is such a shame to have to move on to the next topic in the curriculum when I wish I had all the time in the world to run with that excitement and imagination. Here are some activities for your budding space scientist.

Space activities from NASA

Check out NASA’s special website just for kids. They’ve put together all sorts of interesting facts and fun activities for budding space scientists. From instructions to build your own spacecraft to how to weigh a planet…there’s plenty to keep you busy for home schooling and beyond.

Find out about life on the International Space Station in this interview with Tim Peake.

Be a star-gazer

You don’t even need a telescope to see stars and planets in the night sky. With just your own eyes you can see things that are thousands of lightyears away. If you want to find out more about what you can see or would like some things to spot you can try these websites:

Jodrell Bank’s website updates every month to give you ideas of things to look for. It’s not the most exciting website ever but worth a look!

The Schools Observatory gives detailed positions of interesting features each day. This is particularly good for planet-spotting!

You may spot the International Space Station on it’s regular trip around the Earth. It looks a bit like a plane flying across the sky but it doesn’t have any flashing lights. It’s also travelling around 30 times faster than an aeroplane. Check out NASA’s Spot the Station website to find out where it is right now.


What do you weigh on Mars?

Your weight is the amount of force that is pulling you down to earth. This is a combination of your mass (the amount of ‘stuff’ that you are made of) and gravity. Your mass stays the same wherever you are but your weight would change if you go to a different planet or the moon. This is because a smaller planet has less gravitational pull than a big planet. You can work out your weight on different planets by multiplying your weight on Earth by the following numbers:

For the Moon – multiply by 0.16 (you’d feel very light, this is why astronauts can jump so high). Mercury and Mars – multiply by 0.3, Venus – multiply by 0.9, Jupiter – multiply by 2.3 (you’d feel very heavy!), Uranus – multiply by 0.8, Neptune – multiply by 1.1. Saturn’s gravity is very similar to Earth so your weight would be about the same.

Note for super scientists: weight is actually measured in newtons, it is mass that is measured in kilograms. To convert from kilograms to newtons you need to multiply by gravity which is around 9.8 on Earth. So if your mass is 28kg, your weight is 274N. Your mass is still 28kg wherever you are in the universe but your weight would change.

Make your own bottle rockets!

All you need is: a short piece of hose-pipe, an empty lemonade bottle, some paper, glue and Sellotape. It’s also handy to have a piece of plastic plumbing tubing (if you have any left over from a DIY job). If you can’t get the plumbing tube, no problem just roll the paper around the hose pipe instead. It does the same job it’s just a bit trickier as the hose is bendy so you might need an extra pair of hands!

To make the rocket: roll a piece of A4 paper around the plastic tube (or hose pipe). Use glue to keep the paper rolled up but do not stick it to the tube! Push the paper over the end of the tube/hose so that you can fold the end over and stick it down with plenty of Sellotape. Take it off the tube and that’s your rocket done…it’s that simple! You can decorate it if you like.

To make the rocket launcher: attach the hose to the neck of the bottle, again use plenty of tape to make sure no air can escape around the sides of the hose. Stick the plastic tube (if using) on the other end of the hose and make sure it is well sealed too. Your rocket launcher is ready to go.

To launch the rocket: Find an outside space that has plenty of room for a safe launch. Make sure the rocket can’t hit anyone or end up in a road. Slide the paper rocket onto the hose (or tube). If you STOMP on the bottle, the air inside will be squashed and will rush through the tube under high pressure. This will make the rocket fly up in the air. You may want to get someone else to hold the tube so that you can get a really big stomp!

Don’t forget to share your home school activities on the Fab Science Facebook group…we’d love to see what you have been up to! You can find lots more resources for science at home on our home education page


We absolutely love the idea of rainbows in windows to spread joy and hope during social distancing. We have a giant one in our window (much to the embarrassment of my teenage boys!). I have seen so many children smile as they notice it and that makes a bit of teenage embarrassment worth it!

Please show us your rainbows on the Fab Science Facebook group, we’d love to see them!

Here are some rainbow experiments for you…

A rainbow in a glass

This uses simple kitchen ingredients and looks fabulous…you could even display it in your window! You can find all the instructions here.


Make a rainbow with Skittles

Grab a bag of Skittles (Smarties work too) and make some beautiful patterns. Instructions for this one are here.



Colourful cabbages

If you cook a red cabbage, keep the cooking water as it is a pH indicator. That means that it changes colour to show us if things are acids or alkalis. Check out how to do this colourful chemistry experiment here.


Find out about rainbows

White light is actually made up of all the different colours of the rainbow, we just have to split the light up to see them! If light travels through different things it bends, this is called refraction. If the angles are just right, we get dispersion…this is the splitting up of the colours. You can try this out by shining a torch through a glass of water onto some white paper. Try moving the torch to different anglers and you might see rainbow colours. Raindrops in the air act in a similar way and you can make a real rainbow in your garden by spraying water on a sunny day.

The Met Office has some interesting stuff about unusual rainbows…have you ever seen a double rainbow? Or a fogbow?

Check out more science experiments to try at home on our Home Education page and don’t forget to share your experiments on the Fab Science Facebook group!


You don’t need to visit a science centre or have your own lab to do lots of experimenting at home. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just use things that you have around the home. Here are our top tips for your home science kit…

See what you already have

Now is the time to do an inventory of random Christmas presents that got stuck in the back of a cupboard. Do you have any science kits gathering dust? Do you have any that have been ‘done’ but still have kit that could be used again? Is there a microscope or telescope just itching to be used? Many other toys can be useful for STEM projects: toy cars, construction toys (Lego, K’Nex, Magnetix etc), anything with magnets, marble runs, playdough, craft kits…let me know if you think of any more!

Stop recycling!

Every primary school has a stash of ‘junk’ for crafts and STEM projects. If we’re doing STEM at home, it’s probably the first thing that we need to build up! Kitchen roll tubes, egg boxes, plastic bottles, yoghurt pots, jars, cardboard, packing materials (bubble wrap, pellets etc), cereal boxes, margarine tubs…in fact almost anything as long as its clean and doesn’t have any sharp edges. This is not just for primary kids! Teenagers and even adults love to build things if they have enough time. Time is something that we are usually so short of but now have in abundance, let’s use it! Set a family ‘junk box challenge’ and see where it takes you. You are allowed to recycle it afterwards though…if the kids will let you!

Some useful things to start gathering together

  • Goggles – any type. From a science kit, DIY ones, swimming goggles, snorkelling mask, Nerf goggles…if they stop things splashing into your eyes, they’re all good.
  • Containers – you don’t need test tubes or special equipment; plastic cups, yoghurt pots and old beakers are perfect.
  • Old spoons – big ones and little ones.
  • A tray to catch spillages and something to protect the table if doing chemistry indoors.
  • Elastic bands, scissors, clips, string, sticky tape, glue, Blu Tack, balloons, marbles, zip lock bags.
  • Vinegar and baking soda.
  • Scrap paper and assorted junk.
  • Funnels – you can make your own by cutting the top off a plastic bottle (and use the bottom half as a beaker). Just make sure there are no sharp edges.

Our favourite science buys

There is so much you can do with just what you have around your home. However, if you plan to buy any kit or resources to support your child’s science learning, you can find our top picks here.

Virtuali-tee by Curiscope

Whizz Pop Bang - our favourite magazineNatural History Museum pocket microscope






Follow us on Facebook for regular updates and ideas for home science or join our Facebook group to share your own! You can find lots of ideas on our home school support page.


Being outdoors is always fun but there is also plenty of learning to be done! Look closely and you can find a whole lot of nature in your own garden, the park or out in the countryside. Here are some links to activities and spotter sheets to help.

Egg box scavenger hunt

Set your child a challenge to find the most interesting things that they can while outside…but they’re only allowed six things. Take an egg box along, they can fill the sections with anything they like as long as it’s interesting! If they fill it and find something else, they have to choose one thing to lose. Trickier than it sounds. They can tell you about their finds and why they chose them. For older children, you may want to challenge them to make links between the items. There can be some quite tenuous links but it’s good fun and gets them thinking!

Going on a bug hunt

There is a whole world of mini-beasts to be found in the garden or the woods. Try turning over a few stones or logs and see what you can find. You might find a magnifying glass is useful if you have one. You can use an empty tub to collect bugs to look at, make sure you use a brush or feather to gently push them into the container so that you don’t harm them. You should return them back to where you found them afterwards. If you’re feeling like a bit of DIY you could even make a pooter, which is like a mini vacuum cleaner to gently suck up tiny creatures so that you can have a good luck. You can find instructions to make a pooter on Discover Wildlife.

The Woodland Trust

This is a fantastic charity which aims to protect our woodland and educate children (and grown-ups!) on the importance of trees. They have published a blog specifically for activities to do in the garden if you are self isolating. Check out their top ten here. They have a huge range of spotter sheets and activities for schools on and they have made them all available for free to anyone who needs them while home schooling.

Garden conservation activities from the RSPB

The RSPB has all sorts of activities on their website. From cafes for hedgehogs to hotels for bugs, even the smallest garden or balcony has room for a bee B&B!


We would love to see your learning adventures! You can share on the Fab Science Facebook group.