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It’s time to pull out the big guns, now – with science.
Here’s how to get very, very messy (and have a lot of fun) using ingredients you can find at home or in the supermarket.
1. Watch a volcano erupt
What you need: Bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, washing up liquid, a plastic bottle and Play-Doh.
How to do it: Shape Play-Doh around the bottle to create the outside of a volcano. Put some bicarb of soda into the bottle, pour in the vinegar and a squirt of washing up liquid, stand back and watch it erupt.
2. Get really slimy
What you need: PVA glue, bicarbonate of soda, contact lens solution, and food colouring. Baby oil is optional.
How to do it: Put glue, bicarb of soda and any colouring into a bowl. Slowly add the contact lens solution in small doses until it comes together to the right consistency. A splash of baby oil will stop it sticking to your hands!
There are plenty of slime tutorials on YouTube if you’re looking for more detailed instructions.
3. Make magic mud
What you need: Potatoes and tonic water.
How to do it: Chop potatoes into tiny bits, pour hot water over them to cover them completely and stir. Strain the potato water into a bowl and leave for 10 minutes until a residue remains at the bottom. Pour the residue into a container and add fresh water. Shake and leave for 10 minutes until it separates.
Pour away the water, but not the residue. Leave for a day until it becomes powder. Add small amounts of tonic water to the powder until it can be handled like oozy mud. Under black light, it’s fluorescent! Top tip: if you don’t want to use potatoes, you can use cornstarch.
Watch a short, three-minute video on how to make it on YouTube.
4. Create an instant slushie
What you need: A bottle of 500ml room-temperature soda (e.g. Coca Cola).
How to do it: Shake your bottle of soda strongly. Then put in the freezer for 3 hours 15 minutes – some freezers may be slightly different, so it could be trial and error (but hey, it’s all part of the fun, right?).
Release the pressure slowly, tighten the cap and turn it upside down. In 3 seconds the whole bottle will be transformed to an icy soda slush. Pour slowly into a frosty bowl. Or, pour it into a clean bowl and add one flake of ice until it changes to slush.
Find out how it all works in the video below.
5. Make a cloud
What you need: An empty plastic water bottle, cap on.
How to do it: Twist the plastic water bottle so it compresses the air and pushes the molecules together. Keep it twisted, and then open the cap – it releases the pressure and creates an instant cloud. Watch how it’s done on YouTube.
6. Build a breakfast machine
What you need: A box of cereal, a ruler, some pegs, a couple of books, a potato masher, string, tape, a padlock or bolt, a spatula, a small ball, some dominoes, an empty tin, a fork, a spoon, and a bottle cap. Perhaps it’ll be a bit of a scavenger hunt with our kids to find everything!
How to do it: Clip pegs to a ruler to make a ramp. Tape the potato masher to the table and tie string to the handle. Add a weight to the end of the string and prop it up with a spatula. And set a ball rolling down your ramp to practise pulling it over. If we’re honest, these steps are probably much easier to follow visually, so watch this YouTube tutorial.
My daughter made her own machine last year for Mother’s Day – you can watch the finished product on YouTube.
We’d love to see your experiments! Send in photos or other ways you’re home-schooling your kids to firstname.lastname@example.org.