Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring Surface Tension

We always enjoy all types of science experiments for kids! Our latest science experiment is all about exploring the surface tension of water and other liquids. This simple experiment for kids really intrigued my 5 year old and inspired her to come up with all kinds of ideas!

Follow our Science for Kids Pinterest board!

 

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring Surface Tension~ Buggy and Buddy

Whenever I  present my kids with science experiments, my main goal is to inspire them to make predictions and critically think about the world around them.  Exploring the surface tension of water and other liquids really motivated Lucy to come up with her own predictions and ideas! (This post contains affiliate links.)

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring Surface Tension

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring the Surface Tension of Liquids

Materials for Exploring Surface Tension

Procedure

1. Use the eye dropper to place a few drops of water on some wax paper. Observe the drops closely. What do you notice?

Exploring the surface tension of water

 

2. Use another eye dropper to place some drops of cooking oil near the water drops. Compare the cooking oil to the water. How are they the same? How are they different?

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring the Surface Tension of Liquids~ Buggy and Buddy

 

3. Look closely at other liquids like rubbing alcohol on the wax paper. Compare and contrast all the liquids.

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring the Surface Tension of Water

 

4. Try poking the water drop with a clean toothpick. What happens?

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring the Surface Tension of Liquids~ Buggy and Buddy

 

5. Now poke the water drop with a  toothpick that has been dipped in dish soap. What happens? Why do you think this happened?

How soap affects the surface tension of water

 

After completing the previous steps, Lucy enjoyed trying out her own ideas. She tried placing drops of oil on top of water drops and tried mixing them together. Then she tried poking the different liquid drops with clean and soapy toothpicks. She was so intrigued!

Science Experiments for Kids: Exploring the Surface Tension of Water

What’s Going On?

The water drop on the wax paper looks kind of like there’s a skin around it. When you poke it with a clean toothpick, nothing happens, but, when you poke it with a soapy toothpick, the water spreads out.

Drops of water stick to each other. That’s why the surface of the water drops appear to have a skin-like layer on them.  This is called surface tension. Soap decreases the water’s surface tension causing it to spread out.

Want to Go Even Further?

Related activities to extend the learning for various ages.

  • Here’s another experiment having to do with the surface tension of water~ Paperclips in Water.
  • Try a similar experiment. See how many drops of water can sit on the surface of a penny using a dropper. Was it what you expected?
  • Observe how the drops of other liquids look on the wax paper.
  • Related Children’s Book: A Drop Of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder

 


 

Comments

  1. This is fabulously simple to set up but a very good experiment. We will definitely try one arvo after school this week. Thanks for the idea and clear explanation of how to do this. We love your regular blog posts in my household.

  2. This is so cool! What fun it is to explore water!

  3. We love exploring surface tension, and this is a funny and super easy way to explore it!
    Thanks! XOXO

  4. I love how this is so simple and yet so easy to see several science concepts! I can think of so many fun extensions too. I’m pinning it to my (CarlaINHouston) Kid’s Science board and re-sharing it on Facebook at PreschoolPowolPackets…thanks so much for sharing!!

  5. I found your post on Sugar Aunt’s Share it Saturday. What a great experiment! I’ve pinned it 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  6. So much in life centers on surface tension that we probably are not even aware of and this is a great start for young learners. Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

  7. This is a terrific experiment! I also want to say that you are a great photographer – I always enjoy looking at your pictures. Thanks for sharing this post with Afterschool!

  8. So simple and yet effective in learning. Kids will have fun, too. Great idea!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thats a great experiment !!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] you’re looking for a more academic activity, Buggy and Buddy shared some great ways to explore surface tension with your kids! Fun, easy science to enjoy at […]

  2. […] Exploring surface tension (not just for kids *grin*): http://buggyandbuddy.com/science-experiments-kids-exploring-surface-tension/ […]

  3. […] Surface Tension of Water and liquids varies, explore the properties of these liquids in this […]

Speak Your Mind