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!
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.