You don’t necessarily have to buy anything to begin science at home. We have lots of fun science activities that you can do for free (or almost free) – here’s a bunch of ideas that use just common household items you probably already have at home.
But if you are keen to start stocking up on some general science ingredients for your home science lab, I’ve listed below some of our most commonly used items, paired with a few activity suggestions so you can start playing right away.
Or if you are looking for a science-oriented gift idea, then check out our product reviews and recommendations here.
Home Science Lab supply Recommendations
Here are some of the science ingredients and supplies that we use in our activities. I’ve listed where you should be able to easily buy them in your local stores. I’ve also included some US and UK affiliate* links where I could find them, in case you’d prefer to buy them online.
- Baking soda (US link or UK link) — Baking soda (also called bicarbonate of soda, bicarb, bread soda or cooking soda) is usually in the baking aisle of your grocery store. We’ve used it to make: fizzy sherbet, homemade violet crumble, an erupting volcano, Anzac biscuits, and a castle in the clouds.
- Black light (US link or UK link) — A black light emits long wave ultraviolet (UV-A) light for studying fluorescence – some amazing thing glow in the dark under a black light! Black lights are tricky to find in stores, but there’s loads online, from under $20. We have a couple, and have used them with our glowing slime, glowing ice and glowing water beads.
- Borax (US link) — Borax (also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate) is usually in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, and in addition to be a laundry substitute, also makes some really pretty crystals, which is a cool science project for older kids. So far we’ve made crystal flowers, crystal candy canes, and crystal hearts.
- Pipettes (US link or UK link) — Pipettes are inexpensive, are great for measuring out exact quantities, or just for transferring liquids in a precise manner. Plus they work on little kids fine motor skills. We’ve just bought some ourselves.
- Safety glasses (US link or UK link) — Safety glasses or goggles are designed to protect kids’ eyes from projectiles (like DIY rockets), splashes (when making things that bubble and fizz for example), and from kids accidentally rubbing their eyes while using potentially damaging materials (like Borax). They’re also cool for dressing up like ‘real’ scientists! We have these ones which we altered slightly.
- Tonic Water (US link or UK link) — Tonic is a classic mixer that you can find in the drinks aisle of your grocery store. It also happens to contain quinine, which is highly fluorescent! Use it to make things glow under a black light. So far we’ve made glowing ice and glowing water beads.
- Vinegar (US link or UK link) — Vinegar is an affordable and easily accessible mild acid. We’ve used it to: dissolve the eggshell off an egg, make homemade curds and whey, make an erupting volcano, and make foamy clouds for castle imaginative play.
That’s all for now – I’ll add more suggestions as we try them!
Have you got any home science supply recommendations for us?