Science Projects for Kids: States of Matter

Change liquid to solid with sugar crystals.
Change liquid to solid with sugar crystals.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Trying to comprehend the science of matter may seem complicated, but Science Projects for Kids: States of Matter makes understanding it easy and interesting. Explore transitions between solid and liquid by making ice pops and rock candy.

See what happens to soda pop gas in a balloon, and make a cloud in a bottle. Learn about the concept of surface tension by blowing soap bubbles, stretching the surface of water, and cutting and connecting water drops.

You'll be surprised at how much you can learn about states of matter with these simple experiments. Gather a few materials from around the house, round up the kids, and have some science fun.

Follow the links below to get started with science projects for kids that explain the states of matter:

Solid to Liquid to Solid

One of the easiest ways to understand how states of matter change is to make yummy ice pops.

Sugar Crystals on a String

Enjoy the sweet rewards of this evaporation test.

Homemade Water Purifier

Create a very simple water purification system.

Soda Pop in a Balloon

Before drinking that soda, see what happens when the gas leaves the bottle.

Cloud in a Bottle

Create your very own piece of the sky with this project.

Soap Bubble Shapes

Have fun blowing bubbles while learning about surface tension.

Water Surface Stretch

See how far you can stretch the surface of water.

Cut and Connect Water Drops

Try your luck at splicing and reconnecting water.

Go to the next page to explore changes in states of matter -- and make something good to eat.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Solid to Liquid to Solid

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Change liquid to solid by making ice pops.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Change liquid to solid by making ice pops.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Watch the transition from solid to liquid to solid in this science project for kids on states of matter -- and make something good to eat. Solids can change into liquids, and liquids can change into solids. Make ice pops with orange juice, and you can see both transformations.

What You'll Need:

  • Can of frozen orange juice
  • Pitcher
  • Large spoon
  • Water
  • Paper cups
  • Wooden craft sticks

Step 1: Open a can of frozen orange juice, and spoon it into a large pitcher. Touch the frozen juice to feel that it is both solid and cold.

Step 2: Add water according to the package directions to make orange juice.

Step 3: Fill several paper cups about 2/3 of the way with orange juice.

Step 4: Put a craft stick into the liquid in each paper cup.

Step 5: Being careful not to spill, put the cups of juice into the freezer.

Step 6: Check them after two hours. Can you gently pull out the craft stick, or has the liquid orange juice frozen solid around the stick?

Step 7: Once the orange juice has frozen, peel off the paper cups. You and your friends can enjoy a frozen treat!

See the next page to learn how to conduct a science experiment that always has sweet results.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Sugar Crystals on a String

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Change liquid to solid with sugar crystals.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Change liquid to solid with sugar crystals.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Sugar crystals on a string can be fun to watch grow and delicious to eat. When liquids evaporate into gases, they can leave material behind. That material can be very tasty, as shown by this science project for kids on states of matter. But note that this project requires adult supervision!

What You'll Need:

  • Pan
  • Water
  • Stove
  • Sugar
  • Measuring spoon
  • String
  • Pencil
  • Glass
  • Scissors
  • Button

Step 1: Bring a small pan of water to a boil on the stove, and turn off the heat.

Step 2: Add one tablespoon of sugar, and stir until it dissolves.

Step 3: Continue adding sugar, one tablespoon at a time, letting each tablespoonful dissolve completely before adding the next. When no more sugar will dissolve in the water, allow the saturated solution to cool.

Step 4: Tie a string to the middle of a pencil, and set the pencil across the rim of a glass. Cut the string so that it just touches the bottom of the glass. Tie a button onto the bottom of the string.

Step 5: Pour the cooled sugar water into the glass. Rest the pencil across the rim of the glass so that the string and button are in the solution.

Step 6: Allow the glass to sit in a warm place without being disturbed for several days so that the water evaporates. As the water evaporates, it will leave sugar crystals on the string. You've just made rock candy.

Go to the next page to learn how you can make a simple water purification system.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Homemade Water Purifier

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Creating a homemade water purifier is easy.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Creating a homemade water purifier is easy.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try this homemade water purifier to see how suspended matter can be filtered from water. You may be surprised by how this science project for kids on states of matter works.

What You'll Need:

  • Eight-inch-tall cardboard box
  • Two bowls
  • Water
  • Dirt
  • Wool yarn

Step 1: Set an eight-inch-tall cardboard box on a table. Set a bowl of clean water on top of the box.

Step 2: Gently drop a small handful of dirt into the water. Much of the dirt will remain suspended in the water, and the water in the bowl will be discolored.

Step 3: Set an empty bowl on the table right next to the cardboard box.

Step 4: Twist together several one-foot strands of wool yarn to make a rope.

Step 5: Put one end of this rope, or wick, into the bottom of the bowl of dirty water. Place the other end of the wick in the empty bowl. After a while, drops of clear water will drip off of the free end of the wick into the empty bowl.

What Happened?

The material in your rope absorbs water and draws it from the bowl. It leaves the dirt behind, however, so the water that drips into the second bowl is clean.

What happens when the gas in soda pop escapes into a balloon? See the next page to find out.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Soda Pop in a Balloon

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Soda pop in a balloon.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Soda pop in a balloon.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Gases can dissolve in a liquid, as this example of soda pop in a balloon shows. But they won't stay there if you release the pressure that holds them. Try this science project for kids on states of matter, and see what happens.

What You'll Need:

  • Bottle of soda pop
  • Balloon
  • Watch

Step 1: Open a bottle of soda pop, and set it on a table.

Step 2: Immediately slip the end of a balloon over the neck of the bottle. Pull the balloon's end well down over the bottle so that it fits tightly.

Step 3: Check on the balloon about every 10 minutes for any changes.

What Happened?

Soda pop is carbonated. This means that carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved in the liquid under high pressure.

Opening the bottle releases the pressure, and the carbon dioxide gas begins to escape from the liquid. The balloon trapped the carbon dioxide gas as it left the bottle, and then the gas inflated the balloon.

Tired of the weather outside? Go to the next page, and learn how you can make a little weather of your own.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Cloud in a Bottle

Make a little weather of your own with a cloud in a bottle. Clouds form when warm, particle-rich air meets cool, moist air. This science project for kids on states of matter can help you understand just how the process works.

What You'll Need:

  • Table
  • Candle
  • Match
  • Clear glass two-liter bottle

Step 1: On a cool day with little or no wind, head for your backyard and find a table.

Step 2: Have a child light a candle, with help from an adult.

Step 3: Turn the two-liter glass bottle upside down, and hold the candle inside the mouth of the jar for about 10 seconds. Don't use a plastic jar. The mouth of a plastic jug could melt.

Step 4: Once the bottle's mouth has cooled a little, form a seal around the bottle with your mouth and blow. Once you pull your mouth away, you should see a cloud form inside the bottle -- just like in the skies above your home.

Learn about surface tension on the next page, and have fun blowing bubbles of different shapes and sizes.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Soap Bubble Shapes

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Try blowing soap bubble shapes.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Try blowing soap bubble shapes.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Who knew something as fun and as simple as blowing soap bubble shapes could also be an easy science project for kids on states of matter? See what shapes and sizes of bubbles your kids can blow while they learn about surface tension.

What You'll Need:

  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Measuring cup and spoon
  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Large container
  • Dishpan
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic soda pop ring
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Wooden sticks

Step 1: Add 1/2 cup of dish-washing liquid and two teaspoons of glycerin to 1/2 gallon of water in a large container.

Step 2: Mix the materials together, and let them sit overnight.

Step 3: The next day, pour the mixture into a plastic dishpan outdoors.

Step 4: Shape pipe cleaners into circles of different sizes.

Step 5: Cut a circle of plastic from a soda pop ring, and staple it to a wooden stick.

Step 6: Dip these devices into the bubble solution, and gently blow through the circles to make bubbles. Circles of different sizes will make bubbles of different sizes.

Can you stretch the surface of water? Go to the next page for instructions, and give it a try!

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Stretch the Surface of Water

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              See how far you can stretch the surface of water.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. See how far you can stretch the surface of water.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

It may be hard to believe, but you can stretch the surface of water. See just how far you can stretch it in this science project for kids on states of matter.

What You'll Need:

  • Small plastic cup
  • Water
  • Eyedropper

Step 1: Fill a small plastic cup all the way to the top with water.

Step 2: Hold an eyedropper filled with water close to the surface of the water in the plastic cup, and gently release the water drop by drop.

How many drops can you add to the plastic cup after it is "full"? Can you see that the water level actually rises above the top of the cup? Water molecules attract one another strongly so that the water holds together.

Water drops are more elastic than you think. Go to the next page to find out how you can splice and reconnect them.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

Cut and Connect Water Drops

Cut and connect water drops.
Cut and connect water drops.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try to cut and connect water drops in this science project for kids on states of matter. You can split a water drop into smaller drops, and you can put small water drops together. Give it a try, and you'll learn more about the surface tension of liquids.

What You'll Need:

  • Food color
  • Glass
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Eyedropper
  • Waxed paper
  • Toothpick
  • Drinking straw

Step 1: Put a drop of food color into a glass of water; stir until all of the water is evenly colored.

Step 2: Using an eyedropper, gently put several drops of the colored water onto a sheet of waxed paper. Look at the circular shape of the drops.

Step 3: With a toothpick, try to cut a water drop in half. Can you do it?

Step 4: With a drinking straw, blow gently to try to put two water drops together. Can you do it?

What Happened?

The surface tension of water pulls the water molecules in a drop toward each other. The molecules in the outer layer are drawn in toward the center of the drop, giving the drop its round shape. The surface tension that holds the water in that shape affected how the water acted when you exerted force on it with the toothpick and the straw.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out:

ABOUT THE DESIGNERS

Cloud in a Bottle by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls