Water covers nearly 3/4 of the Earth’s surface and is essential to all living organisms. Our bodies also contain almost 70% water, and water is the first environment humans encounter in the womb. The wonders that water brings are countless, so let’s experience 14 experiments with water to strengthen family bonds with our beloved children. Join Ocany on this exploration journey and hop aboard now!
Reverse arrow experiment
Reversing the direction of the arrow is one of the simplest water experiments that parents can guide their children to perform. The phenomenon observed is that the arrows appear to be reversed when looking through a glass of water.
- A sheet of paper with 2-3 arrows drawn in the same direction
- A tall glass of water
- Place the glass of water in front of the paper with the arrows.
- Fill the glass of water and observe.
When light travels from one medium to another, it undergoes refraction. The change in direction of light when it passes through a boundary between two media is called light refraction. In this experiment, the glass containing water acts as a lens. When light passes through it, it converges at a point and then diverges. The point where the light rays converge is called the focal point, and outside of it, the image will be inverted by the refracted rays.
As a kind of illusion, children will be surprised to see the arrows reversed right in front of their eyes. Besides creating joy for the children, parents can also teach them knowledge about water and explain why the arrows are reversed.
Piercing an unbroken water bag
People usually assume that when a sharp object is pierced into a plastic bag filled with water, the bag will break and the water will spill out. This magic trick has a small “trick” to make children curious.
A ziplock bag filled with water and tightly sealed Several nails, needles, or sharp pencils with enough length to puncture the bag
Hold the ziplock bag firmly in one hand Use the other hand to puncture the bag decisively with the sharp object
As a result, the bag does not leak or spill water outside. Note that you need to perform the puncturing action decisively within a short time.
- Ziplock bags have the characteristic of high flexibility, thanks to the PE material.
- When a sharp object punctures the bag, the polyethylene molecules are broken and will move and tighten around the object.
- That is the principle that prevents water from leaking out of the bag.
Bending Light Experiment
This unique water experiment will create a special stream of light. Regular light travels in a straight line, but in this experiment, you will see light from a laser being bent and curving along with the flow of water through a drilled hole. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Your child will surely be fascinated by witnessing this phenomenon.
- A bowl of water
- A few broken toothpicks
- Place the broken toothpicks into the bowl of water.
- Wait for a few minutes and watch as the toothpicks automatically connect with each other to form a star shape.
This phenomenon is due to the surface tension of the water. The water molecules on the surface of the water are more strongly attracted to each other than to the air molecules above, causing the water surface to behave like an elastic film. When the toothpicks are placed into the water, they disrupt the surface tension, causing the water to pull the toothpicks together. The toothpicks then automatically connect with each other, forming a star shape due to the balanced tension forces between the toothpicks and the water surface.
Broken Toothpick Star
With a clever experiment using water, you can create a fascinating phenomenon that will amaze children. Even though the toothpicks are broken, they will automatically connect to each other to form a five-pointed star shape. How surprising!
A candle A plate Water
Fill the plate with water Light the candle and hold it over the plate, making sure the flame is just above the water but not touching it Observe as the flame causes the water to rise up into the candle
This experiment demonstrates the concept of air pressure. When the flame heats the air above it, the air expands and becomes less dense. The cooler and denser air from outside the candle rushes in to fill the space, causing a decrease in air pressure inside the candle. This decrease in pressure allows the water to be pushed up into the candle to replace the air that was heated and expanded.
Burning Candle Experiment to Move Water Up a Glass Tube
This is definitely a unique and fascinating water experiment that parents can do with their children at home. It’s easy to perform and is safe for children. Plus, you can teach your child about the concept of air pressure.
- A glass tube (about 20 cm long and 1 cm in diameter)
- A candle
- A lighter or matches
- Fill the glass tube with water until it is almost full.
- Light the candle and wait until the flame is stable.
- Hold the glass tube horizontally and place one end of it above the flame of the candle, but not touching it.
- Observe what happens to the water in the tube.
As the flame burns, it heats up the air in the tube. Hot air expands, so the air inside the tube becomes less dense than the air outside the tube. This creates a lower air pressure inside the tube than outside the tube. The higher air pressure outside the tube then pushes the water up into the tube to balance the pressure. This phenomenon is called atmospheric pressure or air pressure.
Dropping water on a coin
This is a simple physical phenomenon that we often encounter in daily life. You can try it with your child and challenge them to answer based on their personal thinking, which will stimulate their imagination and reasoning skills.
One coin One small tube of water
Place the coin on a stable surface Drop water onto the surface of the coin Observe the phenomenon: the water rises quite high on the surface of the coin before spilling out, rather than spilling immediately.
In this water experiment, we rely on the characteristic of water’s surface tension to explain the phenomenon. When molecules concentrate on the surface of a liquid, they bond and form a thin layer, or a membrane.
This membrane is stronger than the liquid inside, causing it to become a solid. However, if the water pressure within the membrane is too high, the membrane will break and water will spill out of the surface of the coin.
Dancing grapes in soda bottle
This experiment with water and grapes can help parents explain to their children about the physical properties of water, as well as the tendency of objects to move when they are in a liquid.
- Clear soda (such as Sprite or 7UP)
- Pour the clear soda into a clear glass until it is about 3/4 full.
- Drop a few raisins into the glass of soda.
- Observe the raisins “dance” up and down in the soda.
This experiment demonstrates the concept of buoyancy, which is the ability of an object to float in a fluid. The raisins are denser than the soda, so they initially sink to the bottom of the glass. As bubbles of carbon dioxide in the soda attach to the surface of the raisins, they become less dense and float to the surface. When the bubbles pop at the surface, the raisins lose the extra buoyancy and sink back down. This process repeats, causing the raisins to appear to “dance” up and down in the soda.
Water boiling up in the microwave
Why does this happen? This will surely be the question of children when watching this experiment with water. As the experiment involves hot water, parents should maintain a safe distance when conducting it with their children.
A glass of water A microwave A spoon
- Put the glass of water in the microwave and heat it for a period of time.
- Then, put a spoon into the glass of water.
- Observe the phenomenon:
- The water in the glass boils and spills out.
When heating water in a microwave, it can lead to the phenomenon of superheating. When an object is placed in the glass of water, it provides a site for gas bubbles to form as the water heats up. This can keep the liquid at the boiling point without boiling. This experiment is quite interesting but also potentially dangerous, so parents should carefully consider before performing it.
Vegetable oil and colored water
This is one of the experiments with water that is very practical in everyday life. This experiment will show the different properties of water and vegetable oil. Parents, please explain this simply for your children to understand!
A small amount of vegetable oil A cup of water A few drops of food coloring
Pour water into a clear glass Add a few drops of food coloring into the water Pour a small amount of vegetable oil into the glass
Observation: The oil floats on top of the water and does not mix with it. The food coloring only mixes with the water, creating a colorful layer on the bottom.
This experiment demonstrates the differences in density between water and vegetable oil. Oil has a lower density than water, which causes it to float on top. Additionally, oil and water do not mix because they have different molecular structures. The food coloring is water-soluble, so it only mixes with the water layer and not with the oil layer.
Instant freezing of water
Here’s another interesting experiment with water that parents can use to impress their little ones. This experiment is quite safe, so parents can rest assured!
Freezing Water Instantly
Here’s another fun water experiment that parents can show their kids. This experiment is quite safe, so parents can rest assured!
- A plate
- Ice cubes
- A bottle of cold purified water
- Place the ice cubes on the plate
- Pour the cold purified water from the bottle onto the plate
- Observation: The stream of water that comes out of the bottle will freeze instantly upon contact with the plate.
Another experiment with similar results that parents can try:
- A coin
- A glass of cold purified water
- Take the glass of cold purified water from the fridge, being careful not to shake or disturb the water in the glass.
- Put the coin into the water
- Observation: The purified water in the glass will instantly freeze.
Explanation: Even at temperatures below 0°C, purified water does not freeze unless it is disturbed. This phenomenon is called “supercooled water”. In order for purified water to freeze, it requires the support of foreign particles, such as nucleation, which are present in the form of microscopic particles like dust or air.
Therefore, when you pour purified water onto a surface or put a coin into a glass of purified water that is cold enough, the water will experience an instant freezing phenomenon.
Floating Egg and Sinking Egg
Surely this is one of the water experiments that everyone has encountered when sitting in school. So why don’t you try performing it in front of your beloved child and explaining why this phenomenon happens.
- Prepare two glasses of water.
- Put one egg in each glass.
- Observe the egg in each glass.
- One egg sinks to the bottom while the other floats to the top.
- The reason for this phenomenon is due to the difference in density between the egg and the water. The egg that sinks has a higher density than the water, while the floating egg has a lower density. The difference in density is caused by the different amounts of salt in the water. The more salt in the water, the higher the density, making the egg float. Conversely, if there is less salt in the water, the egg will sink.
Dragon fountain in a bottle of water
In this water experiment, you can create a dragon fountain in a bottle of water. It sounds really exciting, doesn’t it? The method is not difficult at all, so let’s do this fun science experiment with your child!
Water Tall glass jar with a lid Dish soap Hair dye Sequins or glitter
Fill the jar 3/4 full with water and add a few drops of dish soap After waiting a few seconds, add some hair dye and sequins to the jar Close the lid and swirl the jar in a corkscrew motion Observation: When the water in the jar moves in a spiral motion, it creates a beautiful miniature rainbow fountain.
Due to the centrifugal force, when the water moves quickly in a whirlpool motion, it creates a fountain.
Magical Rainbow Water Jar
Not only are these unique water experiments, playing with children through these experiments also stimulates their curiosity about science.
- A head of white or green cabbage
- 5 clear cups
- Water Food coloring in different colors (red, blue, yellow, green)
- Fill each cup with water about halfway.
- Add a different color of food coloring to each cup.
- You can mix colors to create new colors.
- Cut the cabbage into small pieces and add them to each cup.
- Let the cabbage sit in the colored water for a few hours.
- Remove the cabbage from the cups and lay them out to dry.
Observe the colors on the cabbage leaves.
The cabbage leaves will have taken on the color of the water they were soaked in. You will have a beautiful array of colored cabbage leaves!
- One water bottle
- 4 cups of water
- 1 spoon
- 1 cabbage
- Food coloring
- Pour water into 4 cups
- Add a few drops of food coloring into each cup, each cup with a different color Stir well to dissolve the food coloring in water Separate cabbage leaves Place each leaf into a cup of colored water and observe the phenomenon Observation: Cabbage leaves change color according to the color of the water in the cup
Similar to the starburst experiment, the structure of cabbage contains small capillary tubes. The capillary system in cabbage leaves absorbs liquid from the bottom up, the smaller the diameter of the capillary tube, the stronger the suction force, causing the water with food coloring to rise and change the color of the cabbage leaves.
These are fun water experiments that Ocany wants to share with you. Especially for parents with young children who are in the brain development stage. Fun and educational science experiments will stimulate curiosity and create joy for children when approaching scientific knowledge.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.