British Science Week – fun science activities you can do at home

STEM-based education teaches children more than science and mathematics. It focuses on hands-on learning to help develop a variety of skills including creativity, technology literacy and social and communication skills. It also helps children develop critical thinking, decision making and acceptance of failure.

You can get your kids involved with loads of cool experiments at home – here’s just a few to get their inquisitive minds going.


Homemade slime

Making homemade slime is easy and fun. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, there’s no limit to the ideas you can come up with together. This recipe from BBC Good Food is made from ingredients you can find around the house.

You can make plain colours in either pastel or bright tones, add glitter for a sparkle effect, or mix colours for unicorn, rainbow or other multi-tone variations.


  • 100ml PVA white glue
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • gel food colouring
  • 1 tsp contact lens cleaning solution
  • glitter (optional)


  1. Squeeze the glue into a mixing bowl (look for a bottle in a 100ml size if possible so you won’t have to measure it out). Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well.
  2. Add a drop or two of your chosen gel food colouring. Less colouring gives a pastel colour; the more you add, the brighter the colour. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Add the contact lens solution and mix. The slime will begin to form, going stringy before coming away clean from the bowl into a ball.
  4. Once it has formed, take it out and knead it with your hands. It will be sticky at first but after about 30 seconds you’ll have a smooth and pliable ball. Add glitter at this point, if desired, and work in with your hands. Store in a pot with a lid.


Make a sundial

Making a homemade sundial is really easy. You just need a dowel or a good stick, a paper plate, and a marker. Mark the position of the dowel's shadow every hour and the next day, see if your sundial tells accurate time while playing outside (providing it’s sunny!).


Self-inflating balloon

A twist on a vinegar-and-baking-soda experiment. If you put baking soda in an empty bottle and vinegar in a balloon, when you attach the balloon over the mouth of the bottle and let the vinegar pour in, the resulting gas will be enough to inflate the balloon on its own. It’s also a little less messy than creating a volcano!


Fizzy lava lamp

This recipe from CBeebies’ The Let's Go Club! It will show children the different properties of liquids and how they interact with each other.


  • An empty jar
  • Sunflower oil
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • A torch


  • Open the jar and pour the sunflower oil into the jar to about halfway
  • Add some drops of food colouring into the oil
  • Top it up with water
  • Switch on your torch and put it behind the jar
  • Put in a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda and put the lid back on
  • Watch your lava lamp fizz!

You can also try this with different colours and in different types of containers. Just make sure to put the lid on so that the liquid doesn't spill out.



Chromatography is a technique used to separate mixtures. Chromatography can separate colours in order to see what colours make up that specific colour just by using marker pens, water and filter paper. The different colour ink particles travel at different speeds through the filter paper allowing you to see the constituent colours of the pen ink.

What you need:

  • Glass jar
  • Glass rod
  • Filter paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper clip
  • Marker pens
  • Pencil
  • Water


  1. Cut the filter paper into a strip long enough to touch the bottom and top of the glass jar
  2. With a pencil draw a horizontal line 2-3 cm from the bottom of the filter paper
  3. Using your marker, draw a dot under the line you have just drawn
  4. Pour 1cm of your water into the jar glass
  5. Hang the paper into the jar (ensuring that the water is below the marker dot)
  6. Place your rod over the top of the glass jar and wrap the remaining paper around it and secure it under the rod with a paper clip
  7. When the water has reached the top of the paper, take it out of the jar and allow it to dry

These activities are perfect to do at the weekend while school uniform is safely in the washing machine. Some can get a little messy so make sure you put plenty of newspaper down and get the kids to wear an apron!