This simple screen-free ‘Science Lab’ will buy you a few hours to yourself this week. Really.

This simple screen-free ‘Science Lab’ will buy you a few hours to yourself this week. Really.

VF loves doing “real science” – which is essentially water play + dramatic play.

When we were on the road, I picked up a science kit like this from a local book and school supply store in to add some simple experimentation to our homeschool curriculum. I brought out the kit recently and started adding small supplies to it. 

Materials to gather: 

  • measuring spoons, syringes, cups – like the ones that come with all the bottles of children’s meds you’ve ever bought. You could also order a kit like this.
  • interesting vessels – I use glass vinegar bottles, oil bottles, ice cube tray, etc.
  • a box to contain materials

I keep this “Science Lab” box in a place where VF can access easily.

When you’re ready to set up, grab these:

  • a towel or rag to protect your table when ready to play
  • food coloring when ready to play – I don’t keep this in the box!


1. Lay towel down to protect work surface. We’ve done this on the dinner table (concrete surface! I wouldn’t do this on wood) and on a seat on our back porch. A child-size table would be ideal, but work with what you got. Set the kid up in eyesight if you’re using glass or syringes (so you can see if they wonder what happens if they shoot it up their nose – that hasn’t happened yet for me but I’m imagining it will and I’ll stop it quick).

2. Take out some of the cool stuff. That might be enough to get your kid going. 

3. Pick a few vessels to hold water. Add drops of food coloring.

4. Let your kid explore. No agenda. See what she comes up with. 

5. The first time you bring out these materials, you might start exploring them yourself – take 5 min to create green with yellow and blue. Stick a paper towel or coffee filter in there to watch the color ‘crawl’ up as it gets absorbed. 

6. Back away. Seriously. Let him play.

7. Extension – Every once in a while you might introduce a simple kitchen experiment. We combine baking soda and vinegar. This is a great list. ALWAYS SUPERVISE.

All three kids got into this ‘poison’ creation station yesterday. Totally self-directed! I noticed that they were tasting it – I didn’t stop them because it’s just water and food coloring.

Want more idea simple ideas to engage (and distract) your kids? Sign up for my FREE Friday email and get immediate access to my archives.

This post contains an Amazon link – as an Affiliate, I get a portion of your purchase when you click on the link and buy something (anything, not just the science kit). Thanks for your support! That said, you can also find these kits at your local book or school supply store.

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