Easy Backyard Science Experiments for Kids

With more kids learning from home, parents and guardians need more ideas for fun, educational activities, such as easy science experiments for kids to enjoy. Whether you are homeschooling and need school activities or just need purposeful ways to keep your kids busy, try these three backyard science experiments to make learning fun.

Science Experiments for Kids

1. Make a sand volcano.

Using baking soda and vinegar to make volcanic-like eruptions is an old-school science project most of us probably did as kids. It is simple, requires just a handful of supplies, and creates a fizzing chemical reaction that your kids are sure to love.

What you need:

  • A sandbox or sand in a plastic storage container or similar container
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • A small bucket or large cup
  • Food coloring (optional)

What you do:

  1. Build a sand volcano around the bucket or cup. The bucket or cup should be right side up so that you can add the baking soda and vinegar to create the reaction.
  2. Add one cup of baking soda to the cup that is inside the volcano.
  3. If you have food coloring on hand, add a few drops to the baking soda for a colorful explosion.
  4. To create the volcanic eruption, slowly pour the vinegar over the baking soda.

This backyard science experiment can help you teach your kids about chemical reactions. It might also create a memory that will help them later in life when they need to clean their drains.

Science Experiments for Kids backyard

2. Make a sundial.

This is one of the easy science experiments for kids on this list that you can do with things you can find around the house or in your backyard. The only thing you might not have is sand, but you need such a small amount that you can order this online, purchase it locally, or use any alternative substance that can hold your stick in place, such as pea gravel.

What you need:

  • A clock (any functioning clock, including a watch or your mobile phone)
  • Small rocks
  • A straight stick between one and two feet in length
  • Sidewalk chalk (if making your sundial on a solid surface, such as bricks, concrete, or paving stones)
  • A small bowl, candle holder, or bucket
  • Sand
  • Level

What you do:

  1. Gather your materials.
  2. Choose a spot in your backyard that receives full sun throughout the day.
  3. Set up your stick by placing it in the sand in the small bowl, candle holder, or bucket.
  4. Use the level to make sure your stick is standing straight. If you cannot find a straight stick, you can also use a skewer, chopstick, or dowel.
  5. Start early in the morning to look at your clock at each hour, and then place a rock where the shadow from your stick ends on the ground. Do this for each hour while the sun is out.
  6. Use the sidewalk chalk to mark the hour at the rock. You can also use the chalk to trace the line of the shadow to create the hours on your sundial.

Now that you have created your sundial, you can use it to teach your kids to tell time using the position of the sun and about how the sun appears to move through the sky as the earth rotates.

Science Experiments for Kids at home

3. Make a solar oven.

This backyard science project is a bit more involved, and you will probably need to help your kids with this one a bit more than the others. However, it will be well worth it in the end when you and your kids will be enjoying something tasty from your homemade oven.

What you need:

  • Pizza box (or a shallow cardboard box)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Packing tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Something to cook (s’mores or grilled cheese sandwiches are easy, and your kids are sure to love them)

What you do:

  1. Use the ruler and pencil to measure one inch in from the front and sides of the top of the pizza box.
  2. Use the scissors to cut along the line you drew one inch in from the edges. Cut along this line on the front and sides of the box but leave the cardboard attached at the back of the top of the box.
  3. Bend the flap you cut to reveal the opening you cut in the top of the box.
  4. Use the scissors to cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit the flap you cut in the cardboard. Cut additional pieces of aluminum foil large enough to cover the inside of the bottom of the pizza box.
  5. Cover the inside of the bottom of the box and the inside of the flap with foil.
  6. Use the tape and plastic wrap to cover the opening in the top of the box that you created by cutting the flap.
  7. Place the piece of black construction paper on top of the foil in the bottom of the box. Use tape to keep it in place. This will be where you place what you want to cook.
  8. Place the food you are cooking on the black construction paper. If you are cooking s’mores, assemble the graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows, and then place them on the construction paper. If you are making grilled cheese sandwiches, assemble the bread and cheese and place them on the construction paper.
  9. Position your pizza box oven so that the aluminum-covered flap is facing the sun. The goal is for the aluminum on the flap to reflect the sun while the plastic wrap traps the heat inside the box, so you may need to use a dowel or chopstick to keep your flap open at a good angle.