Does the Dad in your life really need another tie? A growing number of people are choosing to give experiences over things as gifts. Here are some super fun Father’s Day science experiments (for any day of the year) that young kids can share with the Dads in their lives!
Make Your Own Rocket
Everyone thinks rockets are cool right? This isn’t limited to just Dads, but what better way to spend a day than making your own rockets together? All you need are things you likely have in your kitchen to build your own rocket and have a contest between family members to see whose flies the highest!
Is your family full of creative folks? Have a contest for the best decorations, too!
What You’ll Need
- Baking Soda
- 2-L Plastic Bottle
- 3 Sticks/Pencils/Skewers
- Paper Towel
1: Decorate your rockets. This can take as long as you want. Use glitter glue, have your child name the rocket and create a logo, etc. Want to get flying faster? Skip the decorating and get to the launching! Either way, you cannot skip Step 2!
2: Tape the sticks/pencils/skewers equal distances apart so that the 2-L bottle is slightly off the ground with the opening aimed at the ground. They need to be even so the rocket doesn’t tip over. Be sure to use enough tape and secure them well
3: Fill the 2-L bottle with an inch or two of vinegar. This is the part that you’ll have to play with the ratios (also known as stoichiometry for chem nerds).
4: In a bowl, combine baking soda and water so you have a paste. Take that paste and roll it in a piece of paper towel so that it can be dropped into the bottle mouth quickly without crumbling. Don’t do this yet, though! The reaction begins the moment the baking soda hits the vinegar.
5: Go out to a flat surface. And I mean flat. We tried to do this in the grass and it was a mess. The rocket tipped over and launched sideways. It never went straight up. So, use your driveway or patio. Quickly — and I do mean QUICKLY — add the baking soda paste/paper towel into the bottle, put the cork in, flip it, and stand back. Remember that the opening of the bottle needs to be face down for it to launch.
When baking soda (a solid) and vinegar (a liquid) mixed together, bubbles form. Those bubbles are carbon dioxide gas and it fills the space of the bottle until it pushes out the cork. The gas and cork are pushed out, launching the “rocket” up in the air. The other product formed from this reaction is water!
Make Rainbow Crayon Art
What You’ll Need
- Crayons with the Wrappers Removed
- Hot Glue Gun
1: Make the color pattern you want your crayons to have at the top of the canvas. Does your Dad love shades of blue? Or maybe he’s into rainbows? Every person in your family can make their own unique art, which is the beauty of this project.
2: You must have an adult for this step. Use a hot glue gun to secure each paperless crayon to the canvas. Try to line the bottom of the crayon with the top of the canvas so that it is flush.
3: Place the canvas on an easel at an angle or prop it upright at an angle with books that you don’t mind getting messy. Place a drop cloth or plastic table cloth under this whole set-up.
4: Use a hairdryer to melt the crayons. As they melt, they will drip down and make splatter patterns. You can take breaks to watch where the drips will go.
5: Let it dry and hang it!
Every substance has a unique melting point. This is the temperature that it takes to turn its solid form into a liquid. You are heating the solid wax to create liquid wax that drips down the canvas. As the liquid wax cools, it reaches its unique freezing point and becomes a solid again. Hello, science!
As you do these activities, remember to have fun together. Yes, this is a learning experience, but it is also a time to enjoy each other! Just ask your child questions along the way about whether the substances are solids, liquids or gases. Ask them whether the changes were chemical changes or physical changes.
(Rocket is a chemical change that results in new products; crayon art is a physical change that is still wax!)
Want More Science Fun?
Check out Let’s Learn About Science on Parentology for more experiments from Dr. Stephanie Ryan. And make sure to read her bio below and follow her on social media!
About the Author
Stephanie Ryan has a strong background in chemistry and biology and enjoys applying her background to develop superior educational products. She is also interested in how mathematics and science intertwine. Stephanie has experience in curriculum development, assessment, and training staff how to use technology and software. She has also taught science in formal and informal settings from K-16, and developed curricula for After School Matters programs in Chicago, Illinois.
To learn more about Stephanie, visit Let’s Learn About Science and Ryan Education Consulting. You can also follow her on Instagram to find more fun home science experiments for preschoolers and older kids.