Bacteria Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Bacteria are everywhere, even if you can't see them with your own eyes. Do you want to find out how they function and where you can see them? Check out some of these experiments!

Newspaper Bacteria

All you need for this one are some cotton balls, a Petri dish full of agar (which you can find in a natural health food store) and some old newspaper to dispose of your experiment later. With your cotton in hand, take a swab of somewhere in your house - maybe the bathroom mirror, or the door handle to your home's entrance. Very lightly rub the swab across the agar, and leave it to sit in an area that is warm for a couple of days.

You can record your observations over those two days, and then perform the same experiment by swabbing under your fingernails. Did you notice the progression of the bacteria and how they grew as you left them in the warm climate for a while?

You can check out more about bacteria and cyanobacteria as you finish up your journal entries. Be sure to wrap your used dishes in paper when you throw them away!

Osmosis with Eggs

This one might smell a bit. Fill a glass with vinegar and drop several raw, uncracked eggs inside. After two days, carefully remove the eggs and rinse off the vinegar. We say carefully because, as you'll notice, the shell is now gone! Thanks to the acidic content of the vinegar reacting with the egg's shell, you are watching the process of osmosis, resulting in the bubbles you see in the vinegar.

Now, you can put the eggs in different substances and see how much they weigh. Try using corn syrup and water as different solutions.


Want to watch enzyme absorption in action? After making two rings of Jell-O according to the packet's instructions, set both into glass bowls. Now, you can cut up some pineapple and drop a slice into one of the Jell-O rings. The enzymes in the pineapple will break down the gelatin. Now you see why you're never supposed to use pineapple or kiwi.

More Experiments and Info

Did you enjoy these ideas? has even more experimental ideas for you. You can check out our videos on growing bacteria in labs as well as using mold to make cheese. If you really enjoy science, you can also go through our Middle School Life Science course, full of similar videos and quizzes to what you have already watched here.

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