Chemical Change Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Help kids understand the characteristics of chemical changes with these experiments. Get the instructions you need to conduct them and learn about additional educational resources you can use to enhance students' understanding of chemical change.

Easy Blow Balloons

Kids can discover an easy way to blow up balloons with this experiment that involves a chemical reaction between acids and bases. You'll need a balloon, an empty soft drink bottle, about 3 tbsp. of water, 1 tsp. of baking soda and some lemon juice for each student.

Have your students pour the water and baking soda into their bottle and then mix the solution with the straw until the baking soda is completely dissolved. After carefully but quickly adding the lemon juice, they should cover the bottle mouth with the balloon. (It might help to have students stretch the balloon a bit before beginning the experiment.) The balloon will inflate from the chemical changes inside the bottle!

The baking soda, which is a base, reacts with the acid in lemon juice to produce carbon dioxide, which fills the balloon. You can help your students identify the products and reactants in this experiment and discuss the signs of chemical change by including these lessons. Students can also learn how to define acids and bases.

Apple Changes

This experiment is a quick and easy way for kids to appreciate the chemical changes that happen all around them. All you'll need for this experiment are some apples and a knife.

Cut the apple into sections and have your students discuss what it looks like. Let the apple sit for ten minutes and then examine it again. There's been an observable chemical change while you were waiting, changing the color of the apple! Watch this oxidation video lesson with your students to help them understand the processes that caused the apple to turn brown and provide them with additional examples of this type of chemical change.

Fizzy Reaction Rates

This experiment allows kids to work in pairs. Each team of two will need three Alka-Seltzer tablets and a glass capable of holding around one cup of water. You can have students place masking tape on the glass to make sure each stage of the experiment uses the same amount of liquid.

For the first stage, have students fill their glass with hot tap water. One student will drop the Alka-Seltzer in the water and stir for the duration of the experiment, while the other student will use a clock or stopwatch to measure the time it takes for the tablet to completely dissolve. Make sure students record the results. For the second and third stages of the experiment, have students repeat this task using cold tap water and ice water.

They should find that the time it takes for the tablet to dissolve varies depending on the temperature of the water. To help students learn more about this outcome, watch this fun video lesson on the effects of temperature on chemical reaction rates.

Bleaching Out

Not all chemical changes create; some changes take things away. Help students understand this concept with this experiment. You'll need to gather these supplies: green food color, clear cups, water, toothpicks, bleach, medicine dropper.

Kids will add a drop of food color along with 1/2 c. of water to their cup. They should mix this with the toothpick before using the medicine dropper to add 30 drops of bleach to the water mixture. The green color will disappear, thanks to the chemical changes brought about by the bleach.

Have your students watch this lesson on irreversible chemical changes and encourage them to compare and contrast this experiment outcome to other types of reversible and irreversible chemical changes.

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