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It’s no secret that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experiments have great potential as learning tools – they encourage children to take a hands-on approach to problems in real-life scenarios, hones their problem-solving skills and keeps them curious.

Whilst doing these together with your children at home, ask them questions and encourage them to think about other alternatives and options. Here is a list of exciting, inquiry-based STEM experiments for you and your child to springboard from.

Keep in mind that these experiments are recommended to be carried out with adult supervision.

1. Milk Plastic

Ever heard of making plastic from milk? Also known as casein plastic, this fun chemistry project utilises chemical reactions to create Casein plastic, which can be moulded and shaped into toys, beads, jewellery and more.

You’ll need:
• Stove / microwave to warm the milk
• Milk with lower fat content
• White vinegar or lemon juice
• Kitchen utensils: bowl, spoon, strainer, paper towel, moulds for shaping (e.g. jelly molds)

Measure out 1 cup of milk and warm it until it just starts steaming. Remove from the heat and add 4 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice and stir gently for about 1 minute. After this step, you’ll notice that the milk immediately begins to curdle.

Use the strainer and some paper towels to help drain as much liquid as possible from the mixture. Once dry enough, the curds can now be squished into the moulds. Remove after 24 hours and leave to dry (this takes another two days). Once dry, let your kids go wild and decorate the final products.

Watch this video tutorial for help.

2. Elephant Toothpaste

This experiment is a favourite. Kids love to watch foam explode from a bottle. Doing it with food colouring makes it visually interesting for young scientists.

You’ll need:
• Tall clear bottle
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Dish soap
• A few drops of food colouring
• 1 tablespoon of Yeast mixed with warm water

Add about 20ml of dish soap and about 150ml of hydrogen peroxide into the tall clear bottle. Add a few drops of food colouring into the bottle. When you’re ready, pour in the yeast mixed with warm water into the tall bottle. The reaction will be fast with coloured foam coming out of the bottle. You can scale down the amount of foam by using less ingredients.

Caution the foam will be hot due to the chemical reaction. Watch this video tutorial for help.

3. LEGO Bedroom Models

Teach your child about ratio, area and perimeter -- armed with a measuring tape and graphing paper, send your kid on a mission to find out the measurements of things in their room (e.g. area and perimeter of his bedroom, bed, study desk, shelves, etc.). Guide them in sketching a scaled-down blueprint of their bedroom – 1 square represents 20cm.

Finally, watch them get creative with replicating a model of their bedroom with the LEGOs! Give them small empty matchboxes, scraps of cloths and paint to let them create mini furniture in their bedroom instead of buying a doll house.

4.Lemon Batteries

Wow your kids with the basics of electricity and circuit building with this simple, low-voltage experiment without using any batteries.

You’ll need:
• At least 4 lemons
• Copper plates (or exposed wires from Christmas lighting)
• Zinc plates (or nails)
• Alligator clips with wires (2 per cell)
• LED Light bulbs
• Knife (if you don’t already have one)

Start by rolling the lemons to release the juices inside. Start with one lemon and make a small cut through the peel on either end – position them far enough so that the electrodes don’t touch. Then insert a copper plate on one side and a zinc plate on the other side.

Increase the number of cells (lemons) in the battery by repeating the steps above, then connect them and the lightbulb using the alligator clips (zinc plate on first lemon to copper plate on second lemon and so on). Complete the circuit and watch everything light up. Don’t forget to explain the science and engineering behind this cool food experiment!

Watch this video tutorial for help.

5. Egg Drop Challenge

Turn this classic experiment into a competition between siblings with prizes to be won!

The objective of this challenge is simple – create a container that will protect an egg from breaking after a high fall. Any materials around the house can be used for this egg drop challenge – there are no limits! Challenge successful kids by dropping their eggs from increasing heights and encouraging them to improve their design.

Watch this video tutorial for help.

6. Stop-motion Animation Videos

Here’s something a little more creative. Inspire them to emulate their favourite YouTubers by creating their own stop-motion videos!

All you need is a clean backdrop with good lighting (a window works fine), a few household objects that they might want to film with, a recording device and a stop-motion app (try Stop Motion Studio by Cateater on iPhone). Watch your kids get their creative juices flowing as they play around with movie-making, problem-solving and their imagination.

Check out this Mom’s blog for some ideas.

7. Binary Bracelets

Give your kids a head start on the coding curriculum rolling out in 2020. Introduce young kids to computer brains by using beads to make their own necklaces or bracelets spelt out in binary coding.

You will need three colours to represent “1”, “0”, and the spaces. You can easily source for a binary decoder key online. Referencing the key, get kids to spell out their name in binary code to form a bracelet or necklace!

You can also encourage older kids to use binary code to write secret messages to their siblings or yourself.