DIY Science

Thank you for taking part in our science club! We hope your child enjoyed the sessions and are inspired to try some science at home! Below are some simple Chemistry Experiments that can be completed in the kitchen!

Welcome to the Chem-mystery laboratory!

Chemistry is a very important science, because everything in the universe is made of chemical substances. You, the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat are all chemical substances. All chemicals are made from the many elements you can find in the periodic table. There’s over 100 of them! Interestingly, you are a very complicated mixture of chemicals, but 98% of you is made from just 6 of these elements – hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. A mixture of many other elements, such as iron in your blood and sodium in your cells, make up the remaining 2% of you!

Although some chemical reactions may seem like magic, chemistry is not for conjuring tricks, but is a tool for unlocking some of Nature’s secrets. When you are carrying out chemical experiments you are studying how different chemical substances behave. There are many chemicals in our homes that we use for different purposes. Can you name some?

Each chemical substance will react differently when combined with other chemical substances. Some chemical reactions we do all the time, such as cooking, and result in a safe product. Other chemical reactions can be dangerous. So you always need to make sure you know how to use chemicals safely. And remember that it is only by careful experimentation and observation that the best results are obtained. Who knows, perhaps one day your study of chemistry will result in some important new discovery.

Before you start experimenting, please do follow our safety precautions. You must have heard of accidents happening in laboratories, and you don’t want one in yours!


  • Read and follow these instructions, the safety rules and the first aid information and keep them for reference.
  • The incorrect use of chemicals can cause injury and damage to health.
  • Because children’s abilities may vary so much, even within age groups, supervising adults should exercise discretion as to which experiments are suitable and safe for them. The instructions should enable supervisors to assess any experiment to establish its suitability for a particular child.
  • The supervising adult should discuss the warnings and safety information with the child or children before commencing the experiment. Particular attention should be paid to the safe handling of acids and alkalis.
  • The area surrounding the experiment should be kept clear of any obstructions and away from the storage of food. It should be well lit and ventilated and close to a water supply.
  • WARNING – accidental spillage of some chemicals may cause staining of absorbent surfaces, i.e, clothing, carpets and furniture. It’s a good idea to protect yourself by wearing an apron and surfaces with plastic sheeting or newspaper.


  • Do read instructions before use, follow them and keep them for reference.
  • Do keep young children, animals and those not wearing eye protection away from the experimental area.
  • Do always wear eye protection.
  • Do store chemicals out of reach of young children.
  • Do clean all equipment after use.
  • Do wash hands after carrying out experiments.
  • Don’t fail to treat acids and alkalis with special care. Both can quickly injure the eyes so always wear goggles when handling them.


Although most chemicals found within the home can be mixed together safely, you should NOT mix them together unless instructions in the experiment direct you to do so. This can be very dangerous and accidents have occurred by mixing certain household cleansing agents with chemicals. Don’t smell or taste any chemical. Most are poisonous or injurious in some way.


  • In the case of eye contact: wash out eye with plenty of water, holding eye open if necessary. Seek medical advice.
  • If swallowed: wash out mouth with water, drink some fresh water. Do not induce vomiting, seek immediate medical advice.
  • In case of inhalation: remove person to fresh air.
  • In case of skin contact and chemical burns: wash affected area with plenty of water for at least 5 minutes and seek medical advice.
  • In case of doubt seek medical advice without delay and take the chemical in the container with you.
  • In case of injury always seek medical advice.

This guide is designed to start you off on an adventure into the world of chemistry with simple kitchen science experiments. We have supplied you with some things to get you started but you may need to locate a few more common household items listed on the next page.

Please note we do not accept any responsibility and are not liable for experiments completed in your own home - so please take extra care!


Experiment 1: Make your own bath bombs!


  • Goggles
  • A bowl
  • 300g Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150g Citric Acid
  • 10ml Oils (coconut or almond etc.)
  • Food colouring
  • A mold - silicone cupcake molds work really well!
  • Optional Fragrance (food flavourings, perfume, body oils etc)


  • Wearing goggles, stir the bicarbonate of soda and the citric acid together until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add a the 10ml of the oil of your choice and a few squirts of your favourite fragrance.
  • Add your food colouring (if desired) just add a couple of drops at a time and mix thoroughly. It will ball up so make sure to squash the balls with the back of the spoon until all combined.
  • Press into a mold (really squash it in).
  • Leave to dry for a couple of hours or overnight and then pop out of molds.
  • When your ready for a bath, just drop the bomb into the water and watch it start fizzing!



The Science Bit!

Citric acid is a type of acid. Sodium bicarbonate is a type of alkali. When the acid and alkali dissolve in water a chemical reaction follows which releases carbon dioxide, producing bubbles in your bath! Our skin likes to stay hydrated, so bathing in natural oils is good to keep soft smooth skin and lock in the moisture!



Experiment 2: Make your own Edible Science Sherbet!


  • Goggles
  • A clean bowl
  • Spoons
  • 2 large tablespoons of icing sugar
  • ½ small teaspoon of citric acid
  • ¼ to ½ small teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate
  • Optional Flavouring (jelly crystals or powder)


  • Make sure all spoons and bowls are completely dry.
  • Wearing goggles, starting with icing sugar add the ingredients one at a time into the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • You can taste the flavour of each ingredient as it goes into the mixture to see how the flavour changes.
  • Keep the sherbet dry so that the reaction doesn’t begin before you eat it!


The Science Bit!


We can taste 3 main flavours; bitter, sweet and sour. Can you work out which ingredient adds which flavour? The fizzy sensation you get from sherbet is caused by a reaction between the citric acid and the sodium bicarbonate. With sherbet, the chemical reaction doesn’t begin until the dry ingredients become wet; as soon as they dissolve into the saliva in your mouth, the reaction begins and produces a gas called carbon dioxide! Carbon dioxide is the gas we breathe out and our body doesn’t like to hang onto it for long. If we eat sherbet or drink fizzy drinks too quickly we burp, getting rid of the carbon dioxide from our body!! “BUURRRP! Excuse me!”


Experiment 3: Is your ink really black?! - Chromatography

There are two ways you can do this experiment You can cut your paper into a rectangle and have horizontal lines of colour, or you can keep your filter paper round and make a pretty flower pattern!


  • Filter paper (coffee filter paper works well or kitchen towel)
  • A black felt tip pen
  • Water
  • Beaker
  • A pipe cleaner for the ‘flower’ experiment
  • Scissors for the ‘rectangle’ experiment

INSTRUCTIONS: Square filter paper experiment.

  • Cut your filter paper into rectangles.
  • Take your filter paper and place a line of pen about 2 cm from the bottom, if you’re using more than one pen make sure there is a gap between them, and they are all the same distance from the bottom of the paper.
  • Place your filter paper in to the water so that the end of the paper is just touching the water, you don’t want the paper too far into the water or the ink will go into the water!
  • Keep the paper there whilst the water soaks up the paper, and see what happens to the ink!

INSTRUCTIONS: Flower pattern filter paper experiment.

  • Place a small hole in the middle of your filter paper.
  • Draw a circle of dots about 1cm away from the centre
  • Place one end of the pipecleaner through the centre hole, and place the other end into a beaker of water.
  • Eventually the water will soak up the pipecleaner and onto the filter paper, making a pretty flower pattern. When this has happened, leave to dry and then you will have a pretty flower for you to keep.

Why does this happen?


So, is black ink really just black? No! There’s literally a rainbow of colour hiding in just one black dot! The burst of colour that you see on the filter paper proves that black is really a combination of colours. Chromatography is the science of separating mixtures. The black ink is actually made up of lots of different colours, and each different colour is a different chemical substance. As the water soaks through the paper the ink on the paper moves. Some substances will move far up the paper because they don’t stick to the paper very well. Others will not move far at all because they are very good at sticking to paper. We can’t use permanent ink in this test, because it has been developed to not dissolve in water, and therefore would not move up the paper. You could see what other colour inks are made of though!


Experiment 4: pH Testing—what colours will you find?

Remember strong acids and alkalis can cause harm. So wear your goggles and always make sure you have an adult to supervise you before you go investigating household items!


  • goggles
  • beaker
  • ph strips
  • Clear vinegar
  • laundry detergent mixed into a
  • solution with water
  • water


  • Wearing goggles, pour a little vinegar into the beaker.
  • Take a pH strip and dip one end into the liquid. Be sure to remove the strip quickly afterwards as it will start to colour the liquid.
  • Look at the pH strip. What colour did it turn?
  • Use the pH scale to work out which mixture is an acid, an alkaline and neutral.
  • Try the other liquids and see what colour they go.

Why does this happen?

The pH strips are coated in Universal Indicator. Indicators are substances that change colour when they are added to acidic or alkaline solutions.

Universal indicator is a mixture of several different chemical indicators and can show us exactly how strongly acidic or alkaline a solution is. This is measured using the pH scale. The pH scale runs from pH 0 to pH 14.

Universal indicator has many different colour changes, from red for strong acids to dark purple for strong alkalis. In the middle, neutral pH 7 is indicated by green.

You can prepare homemade indicators from red cabbage or beetroot juice - these will help you see if a solution is acidic or alkaline.

Colour In pH Scale:



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