Summertime science

Summertime is a perfect time to unleash your child's inner mad scientist!

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  • I remember my first microscope when I was small. I clipped pieces of everything in the house and made dozens of slides to look at. The tiny world I was experiencing instilled in me a love for science that has endured for more than 30 years.

  • Curiosity is a natural part of childhood, develop your child's curiosity with science in your own home. Every one of us has an inner mad scientist just waiting to be unleashed! This summer let your child's out with these fun activities for you and your children. Almost every activity is linked to a website with step by step instructions and sometimes easy to follow pictures. The video gives a great experiment sure to give your family hours of fun!

  • Remember safety! Goggles and gloves can be half the fun. Experiment and record your experiences as all real scientists do. Create your own backyard home movie for an end of summer popcorn party. Let the experiments begin!

  • Hot air balloons. Kids love to see things grow or shrink. This experiment will put balloons on bottles of different sizes, then change the temperature in the bottles by using hot water and a freezer. The results are almost instant.

  • Color Show. Food coloring, whole milk and dish soap are all you need to make this wonderful color explosion. The directions are fairly simple and the result is quite spectacular. The combination of liquids makes the drops of food coloring explode into amazing shapes and designs. The catalyst behind this is the dish soap, it breaks down the fats in the milk, scattering the color in the process.

  • Homemade Hovercraft. This aircraft can be hours of fun for your kids — and husbands! You'll need a large balloon, and old CD or DVD, a pop top bottle lid and some glue. Follow the instructions given on the website to build your craft. You could even let your kids paint or color the CDs and balloons. Be sure to use the explanation at the bottom to help your child understand how friction is behind all this fun!

  • Lava Lamps. Yes lava lamps are back in! This fun and simple experiment turns a 2 liter bottle into a homemade lava lamp! You'll need oil, water, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer and a flashlight. Follow the simple instructions to introduce your kids into your childhood, and intermolecular polarity!

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  • Old fashioned volcanos

  • All this requires is a water bottle or cup, some dirt or sand, vinegar and baking soda. Give your child a cup and have them build a volcano around it in the dirt or sand. Fill the cup with vinegar and when he is done with his volcano drop in the baking soda and watch it explode. You could add food coloring to the vinegar for a fun lava effect. You can do this in your sandbox for easy cleanup.

  • Funology

  • is a fabulous website for moms everywhere. There are tons of experiments divided into science subjects like chemistry, biology or weather. Each experiment has multiple photos and detailed directions. Some of the experiments include making fossils, homemade greenhouses and creating fog.

  • Science Kids

  • has many experiments for your kids to enjoy. A few include finding your dominant side, making bath salts, dry ice bubbles or vinegar volcanos. All experiments have detailed instructions, and will be hours of fun.

  • Science is Fun

  • Is a great website for ideas on home experiments. You probably have all you need for these experiments already. The site explains the science behind everything from dyes used in candies, to oil and soap bubbles, to bending water. If you want your child to understand the science behind the experiment this is a great site.

  • Get the kids involved in the process. Science doesn't need to be all math and memorization. Open your child's mind to endless possibilities while teaching him to love science. When you nurture a child's curiosity it can grow into a belief that anything is possible.

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Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.

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