Christmas is no way near as fun if you’re not adding a sparkle of science into the plans!
There are tons of awesome festive experiments to try out over the holidays, here are a few of our favourite DIY Christmas experiments that will keep everybody entertained, educated, and excited this festive season.
Everybody’s got their fingers crossed for a White Christmas. But what do you do when Christmas day arrives and there’s no snow outside? You make your own!
Salt, water, and ice are all you need to make your own frost this Christmas.
Kids will be amazed watching frost form before their very eyes. And it doesn’t get any simpler than this.
Minimal mess, and maximum frost. You can explain all about the freezing point of water and the role that salt plays.
We’ll all enjoy nibbling on some gingerbread this December, but who’s brave enough to use it as a delicious brick-and-mortar instead?
Set up a challenge and see who can put their knowledge of physics to the test by seeing who wins this adventurous challenge.
Who can build the biggest gingerbread emporium?
Draw out sketches and designs on paper before putting the plan to action.
Leave it to harden and settle overnight before using a weight test the next day, or a man-made earthquake to see if the structure holds.
The winner takes the glory, but everybody gets to eat their gingerbread crumble regardless.
Next up are Christmas catapults! Everybody loves a harmless green-and-red weapon, but how easy are they to build? And who can project their missile the furthest?
You can choose to keep the science simple, or you can teach them a little bit about the laws of dynamics, levels, and stored energy. Either way, make sure that everybody uses the same materials to design, construct, and test their homemade appliance. Rubber bands and ice lolly sticks normally do the trick.
Then it’s competition time!
Load your slingshot with a marshmallow cannonball and fire!
Measure out your distances and let the judges declare which experiment was the most successful.
Speaking of marshmallows, this is another Christmas experiment that the youngest children, in particular, will love. Similar to the gingerbread experiment, grab your decorative sweeties, icing sugar, a splash of water, and see who can build the biggest snowman.
Once your work of art’s been sculpted, use pens and markers to give it a big festive smile. Or, if they’re still looking for more, keep hold of the marshmallows for some hot chocolate science.
Make three identical hot chocolate mixtures and microwave them for different times (let them choose which).
Once you’re good to go, get the timer and dunk your marshmallows into the chocolatey concoction.
Whose marshmallow(s) melted the quickest? Did it make a difference when they sunk? And when science lesson is over, everybody can enjoy their gooey hot chocolate goodness.
Your final Christmas experiment is a messy one! But we’re taking a closer look at the chemistry and how explosive simple combinations can prove to be.
Empty out some Christmas baubles and fill them with glitter and a tablespoon of baking soda. Try and keep them secure in a holder because, like we said, erupting ornaments can make quite a mess.
Then choose your favourite colour of food dye! Red and green will keep the experiment festive.
Next up, mix the food dye in a big bag with vinegar. Have you explained how chemical reactions work? They don’t believe you? Good! Funnel the coloured vinegar into the baubles and watch their eyes light up.
Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to repeat the experiment – just to make sure they really understood it.
In this festive video, Paul Cook will demonstrate pressure in a flask with a lovely willing volunteer, a marshmallow snowman!