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Simple science to amaze your kids

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Mom, you’re so cool!

Wouldn’t it be great to be the coolest mom on the block? Take a step closer to super mom status by doing some simple science projects with your kids this summer.

If you’re dreading summer burnout, plan ahead by having some easy, kid-friendly science experiments ready to go. Most use ingredients and tools you probably already have on hand. Reinforce your child’s love of science or spark some curiosity. Either way, you’ll definitely earn some cool points with the kiddos.

Engage your kids in science

Science is a polarizing subject for kids and parents alike. It can be intimidating, confusing and, frankly, messy. Still, it’s an important part of a child’s education and offers parents the opportunity to connect with their kids and encourage curiosity. "Contrary to the belief of many, science is not boring facts or unpronounceable terms in a textbook," says Marci Goodwin of The Homeschool Scientist. "When parents give kids an opportunity to ask and explore and share in the process, they get excited about science and want to learn more. They no longer relegate science to the textbook."

Read about 5 Homeschooling myths debunked >>

Education never ends

If science was one of those subjects you feared or avoided in school, you may not be eager to jump into an experiment with your kids, but maybe you should reconsider. If you’re counting on your child’s teachers to explore all things scientific, you could be missing out on some major adventures (and quality time). Summer may be the perfect time to embrace the homeschooling movement (if only temporarily) and turn your kitchen into a classroom. "All kids need the opportunity to explore and investigate," says Goodwin. "Parents can provide these opportunities within safe guidelines and boundaries for their kids no matter where they are educated."

Find out how to make clouds: Science experiment for kids >>

Resources abound

Given all of the amazing resources available to help parents create easy experiments at home, there’s really no excuse not to try. "Find a good experiment book at your local library that uses household items," says Goodwin. "Then, don’t do it all yourself. Let your kids gather the necessary items and put the experiment together with you." If messes make you crazy, let it go. Thinking about all of the fun you had with your kids will make cleaning up a joy (or at least tolerable).

Read about science fair projects: Should parents help? >>

Get busy, scientists

Goodwin encourages all moms, even those who aren’t science-minded, to jump in with both feet this summer and at least try a few experiments with their kids. "Don’t be afraid," she says. "Start small and simple." Along those lines, she suggests the following easy experiments for newbies (follow the links for further details):

Dissolving

Does it dissolve? — "This is a great experiment to do with kids of all ages. It teaches what dissolving means, about making predictions and recording results."

Eggy fun

Physics with eggs — "This experiment is great to do outside in the backyard. The kids will love throwing the eggs!"

Foam-tastic

Elephant's toothpaste — "Make foam you can play with while learning about chemical reactions. This experiment is first on our summer experiment list."

Read more about kids and science:

10 Female scientist role models for your daughter 
Junior scientists and age-appropriate competition
Sunshine prints: Make art from the sun

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