Making the most of your time with experiments and projects – Inspiration for the whole family

Liquids that don’t mix and electrostatics – two exciting topics for small experiments at home.

One of the goals of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute is to inspire children and young people to engage with science. One way we promote this is by inviting school classes to visit the institute, or taking part in major events like tunBasel. Many of these events have now been canceled, however.

To make up for this, we have begun collecting suggestions for projects and experiments that we have tried out ourselves with (or without) our own children on a specially created website.

The idea is for kids to become researchers themselves, observing phenomena, asking questions of their own, and hopefully finding some answers. The ingredients you need can mostly be found around the home, or can be easily acquired the next time you go shopping.

Experiments involving ice are always exciting – especially when temperatures are rising.

The short videos, lasting 2 to 4 minutes, and simple instructions and explanations are designed to make science fun. There are experiments with immiscible liquid and instructions for a homemade magnetic race track that will teach even the youngest among us about magnetism. There is a video on static electricity explaining why your hair stands on end in winter when you take off a woolly hat. Other clips show how even an ice cube melting in a glass of water can be highly instructive. Yet another shows you how to use red cabbage juice as a pH indicator. And if you didn’t know already, after watching this video the German speakers among you will finally understand why Rotkohl is also known as Blaukraut!

There are also several experiments involving eggs – which were a perfect marriage between science and art for the Easter season. And for Mother’s Day, there are suggestions for experiments that lead to a small gift or a “magic Mother’s Day show”.

New experiments are added to the website on a weekly basis.

We will keep on expanding the collection, and are in the process of adding English subtitles, as well as instructions and explanations in German and English, to all of the videos. We would love to see your own research results, and hear about your personal favorite experiments. We have already received some brilliant videos, and can’t wait to see more! So send us photos and videos of your experiments, and share this information with friends who might like to join in the fun.

Every two weeks, the names of everyone who sent us videos and images will be entered into a draw to win a shopping voucher worth 50 Swiss francs. Once this has all passed and everyone is back at work, school or kindergarten, there will be a draw to win an iPad. The first two draws are already over. Now we look forward to hearing from you and seeing which experiments you chose!

All videos, explanations und instructions as well as submitted videos and images can be found here.