BBA Book Fair Free Gift Pack
Sign Up Now!

13 Easy STEM Experiments Using Household Materials

Briefly speaking, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They are concepts that are relevant in our everyday lives, from building houses to cooking!

Ranging from Chemistry and Biology to Engineering and Mathematics, here are 13 interesting STEM experiments kids can try out.

What is a STEM Experiment?

STEM experiments for kids are essentially activities that teach them how the world works. It could range from simple crafts made at home to complex experiments conducted at the lab.

The key to a good STEM experiment is that it teaches children real scientific principles in a fun, creative and hands-on approach.

Ref: USNews

13 STEM Experiments for kids to try out!

1. Cloud in a Jar

Cloud in a jar experiment
Image source

Snatch a cloud from the sky! This experiment teaches your child to create a real cloud – in a jar! All you need is warm water, matches, a glass jar, a flashlight and a balloon.

Children can learn about evaporation and explore the water cycle in our environment.

Steps:

  1. Pour warm water into the jar until it’s half full.
  2. Light a match and let the smoke enter the jar for a few seconds. Remove quickly afterwards. 
  3. Quickly cover the mouth of the jar with a half-cut balloon.

Cloud in a Jar experiment
Image source
  1. Gently push and balloon (make sure it doesn’t come off!). You are actively changing the air pressure inside the jar.
  2. Slowly watch as clouds form. Shine a flashlight at the jar to see it more clearly!

Category: Environmental Science

Key Concepts: Water cycles, States of matter

Estimated Duration: 20 minutes

Age Level: 4-5

Ref: giftofcuriosity

2. Sticky Note Number Match

Sticky Note Number Match

Bring maths to life! This simple activity challenges children to match numbers on the wall with its equivalent on a sticky note. All you need is some paper and sticky notes!

This activity challenges children to understand the meaning of numeric values while making the subject fun!

Steps:


  1. Write numbers 1-10 on a big piece of paper and stick it onto the wall
  2. On sticky notes, write the equivalents of 1-10 (e.g. 3+3 equates to 6, eight dots equates to 8)
  3. Have your child match the sticky notes with the numbers on the wall! This helps them to further their understanding of numerical values.

Category: Maths

Key Concepts: Numeric values

Estimated Duration: 20 minutes

Age Level: 3-4

Ref: rasmussen

3. Crystal Sun Catchers

Crystal sun catchers
Image source

Make your child go “woah”! This experiment teaches children how to make crystals only with simple household items! All you need is salt, a glass jar, a piece of string and some hot water!

Your child also can observe the process of crystallisation with their very own “crystal sun catcher”!

Steps:

  1. Mix a cup of salt and warm water in a 1:1 ratio. Note: The water should be around 80C and not boiling.
  2. Pour an appropriate amount of solution into the cap and place it in a well sunlit area.
  3. Crystallisation can take from a few hours to a few days! Patience is key to making beautiful crystals!
  4. When the crystals are fully wormed, pinch a hole in the cap and hang it up with a string.

Category: Science (Chemistry)

Key Concepts: Crystallisation

Estimated Duration: 1-2 days

Age level: 7-8

Ref: rasmussen

4. Building a Hand Crank Winch

DIY hand crank winch
Image source

A DIY winch! This STEM experiment is perfect for children who like to get crafty! All you need are recycled materials like long toilet rolls, string, a straw and a spool of any kind.

Experiments like this are great exposure for children to learn how simple machines (such as pulleys) influence our daily lives!

Read more: Top 3 Awesome TV Shows to Entertain Your Kids with STEAM

Steps:

  1. Tape the toilet rolls onto a flat surface. Use the straw to determine how far they are from each other
  2. Make 2 cuts on top of each toilet roll, make sure it’s big enough for the straw to fit and spin
  3. Attach the string onto the spool and put it in the middle of the straw. If you don’t have a spool, simply tape the rope onto the straw.
  4. Tape and secure the string onto the spool. Attach a basket or object at the end of the string and spin the straw to complete the winch!

Category: Engineering

Key Concepts: Pulley

Estimated Duration: 45 minutes

Age level: 9-11

Ref: rasmussen

5. Magnetic Slime

magnetic slime
Image source

How cool is a liquid magnetic slime? This STEM experiment adds a scientific twist to the slime kids everywhere all know and love. You would need white glue, liquid starch, iron oxide powder and a strong magnet to make this slime.

Your child can learn of the properties of magnetism with this unique activity.

 

Steps:


  1. Mix ¼ cup of white glue with 2 tablespoons of iron oxide powder.
  2. Mix in ⅛ cup of liquid starch. If you added too much liquid starch, rinse the slime with cold water for a few seconds.
  3. Use your hands and knead until it becomes a slimy texture.
  4. Your child can experiment with the slime using a magnet!

Category: Science (Physics)

Key Concepts: Magnetism, Fluid

Estimated Duration: 30 minutes

Age level: 9-11

Ref: rasmussen

6. Build-a-Bridge

Is your child fascinated by bridges? This STEM activity challenges children to use different weight-bearing materials to create a bridge. All you need is some household items such as spaghetti, marshmallows, toothpicks, chopsticks etc.

This activity challenges children to think like an engineer and solve problems with limited resources!

Steps:


  1. Let your child use different household materials to build a bridge between two gaps! Encourage them to think creatively.
  2. Now, use a toy car or something else to test the bridge’s strength. Challenge your child to build a long and strong bridge!

Category: Physics & Engineering

Key Concepts: Structure

Estimated Duration: 60-90 minutes

Age level: 10-11

Ref: USNews

7. Build a Balloon Car

Enough about electric cars, how about air-power cars? This STEM activity challenges children to use recycled materials and the power of air pressure to create a moving “balloon car”! All you need is some used plastic bottles, some skewers, a plastic straw and a balloon!

Your child can learn about the properties of air pressure while racing others and their cars!

Read more: Authoritative and popular science magazines for kids & adults

Steps:


  1. Cut two straws, it’s length slightly longer than the width of the bottle.
  2. Tape the straws onto the bottom of the bottle. Make sure they are parallel to each other.
  3. Poke a hole at the centre of the bottlecaps. This will be the wheels of the car.
  4. Insert the skewers into the straws. This will be the axis for the wheels.
  5. Secure the bottle caps on both ends of the skewers and make sure they can spin. 

Image source

     6. Use a rubber band and secure it onto the short end of the straw.

      7. Cut a hole at the roof of the bottle, and insert the straw as shown below.

Image source

      8. Cut a hole at the roof of the bottle, and insert the straw as shown below.

      9. Inflate the balloon through the straw and pinch the straw afterwards to make sure no air escapes. When you let go, the car will travel — this is a result of Newton’s law of action and reaction

Category: Science (Physics) & Engineering

Key Concepts: Newton’s laws of motion, kinetic energy, potential energy

Activity time: 20-30 minutes

Age Level: 5-8

Ref: Science Buddies

8. Build a Paper Rocket

Image source

3! 2! 1! Blastoff!

This STEM activity introduces concepts of aerodynamics to children through craft. The main things you’ll need is card paper, straws and an open area to give the rocket a try.

Children could even race and compare whose rocket flew the farthest with different materials!

Category: Science(Physics) & Engineering

Key concepts: Physics, Aerodynamics, Flight, Stability

Activity time: 30 minutes

Age level: 5-8

Ref: Science Buddies

9. Light-up Postcard

A postcard you won’t forget! This STEM activity combines arts and circuits to create a one-of-a-kind light-up postcard. You would mainly need some LEDs, a coin battery, copper tape, card paper and anything else to decorate!

Children can express their creativity while learning about electricity and circuits!

Steps:

  1. Let your child creatively design their postcard
  2. Place the LED anywhere on the postcard and poke the legs through the paper. The longer leg is positive, the shorter leg is negative.

Image source

  

      3. With copper tape and a coin battery, create the circuit below on the back of the card. 

Image source

     4. Fold the copper tape onto the coin battery to complete the circuit. This is the postcard’s switch.

Category: Engineering (Electricity)

Key concepts: Circuit, Electricity, Conductor, Insulator, Battery, LED

Activity Duration: 35 minutes

Age level: 6-9

Ref: Science Buddies

10. “CandyNA” – Make A Candy DNA Model

What’s sweeter than candy and science? Adds a tasty twist to DNA – the genetic blueprints of all lifeforms with this STEM activity. All you need is your child’s favorite candies and some toothpicks.

This activity teaches a valuable lesson about biology while also satisfying your child’s sweet tooth.

Steps:

  1. Use toothpicks to create mini candy skewers. 
  2. Attach a gummy worm (or other long candy) to both sides of the skewers. 
  3. Twist the model until it resembles the double helix.

The candies represents the four nucleotide that make up our DNA!

Category: Science (Biology)

Key concepts: Genetics

Activity Duration: 30 minutes

Age Level: 6-9

Ref: Science Buddies

11. Rainbow in a Jar

You’ve heard of “cloud in a jar” – get ready for “rainbow in a jar”! This STEM experiment challenges children to use concepts of density and viscosity to create the perfect rainbow. All you need is liquids with different viscosities (e.g water, oil, glycerin), food colouring and a glass jar!

Children will have the opportunity to experiment with different liquids until they perfect their own “rainbow in a jar”

Read more: How to choose STEM toys for kids? Top 10 toys we recommend to parents

Steps:


  1. Prepare 7 liquids with different viscosities
  2. Add food colouring to the liquids in the order of the rainbow. For example, add purple to the thickest liquid, blue to the 2nd thickets, green to the 3rd thickets etc.
  3. Let your child pour the liquids into a jar in any order. Observe as the liquids rise and fall, eventually forming a rainbow!

Category: Science (Chemistry)

Key Concepts: Solubility, Density

Activity duration: 20 minutes

Age level: 3-5

Ref: 3M

12. Inflation Station

Balloon being inflated by carbon dioxide

There’s more than one way to blow a balloon! Have your child test out an acid-base reaction with this STEM experiment! All you need is some baking soda, citric acid (from vitamin C tablets), a bottle and a balloon.

Let your child hypothesise the results and learn the principle behind the chemical reaction!

Steps:

  1. Pour 1 cup of vinegar or a citric acid solution into the bottle
  2. Add ¼ cup of baking soda and instantly fit a balloon onto the mouth of the bottle
  3. Observe as the balloon inflates! This is caused by an acid-base reaction, which releases carbon dioxide.

Category: Science (Chemistry & Physics)

Key Concepts: Gases, Acid & Bases

Activity duration: 25 minutes

Age level: 4-6

Ref: 3M

13. Walking Water

More experiments on Big Bang Lab!

Science can be colourful! This STEM experiment explains the concept of surface tension to children with pops of colour! All you need is a few plastic cups, food colouring and tissues.

Your child can observe the water travelling between cups while watching the colours mix into a rainbow!


Steps: 


  1. Pour six cups of water, each at ¼ full
  2. Add red, yellow and blue food colouring as below
  3. Fold the tissues and dip the ends into the cups
  4. Observe as the colours travel from one cup to another!

Image source: Big Bang Lab

Category: Science (Physics)

Key Concepts: Gravity, Surface tension, Molecules

Activity duration: 30 minutes

Age level: 3-5

Ref: 3M

Big Bang STEAM – Explore STEM while having fun!

Big Bang STEAM is a hybrid-learning platform that turns abstract science concepts into interactive bite-sized and adventure-based lessons for children. Based on Big Bang Academy’s widely accredited curriculum, you and your child can explore a wide range of science topics from the comfort of your home.

We value hands-on learning, that is why every lesson on comes with an experiment kit. Children will get a chance to directly interact with the concepts they’ve learnt through hands-on experiments (e.g electricity and conductivity is paired with a circuitry experiment).

With the Big Bang STEAM subscription, you'll gain access to

  • 500+ interactive science adventures
  • Receive 2 experiment kits EVERY MONTH
  • Receive science workbooks and vocabulary books EVERY MONTH

Designed by educators and researchers, rest assured you'll be learning from the best of the best!

Try it out at 55% off! Sign up and discover the joys of learning STEAM now!

Related articles:
1. Top 3 Awesome TV Shows to Entertain Your Kids with STEAM
2. Authoritative and popular science magazines for kids & adults
3. How to choose STEM toys for kids? Top 10 toys we recommend to parents

Learn STEAM, the new way!

Comprehensive Science + Arts + English self-learning curriculumfor kids aged 5-8.

Learn More

Written By

Maison Li

Maison is a content writer at Big Bang Academy. An avid proponent of educational innovations, Maison strives to showcase the latest science learning solutions to the world.