A science fair (Photo by Kate Ter Haar)

It is amazing how much you can do and learn right from the comfort of your home when it comes to creating science fair projects and doing cool experiments in your kitchen or backyard. Most kids in school enjoy these kinds of projects because they are different and fun compared to their usual homework assignments. There are lots of different ways to conduct these experiments to learn a little bit about how the laws of science and nature work. The following projects are some of the most popular ones that are easy and inexpensive to do at home. These experiments were compiled from Listverse.com, ScienceBob.com, and Sinasohn.com:

1. A Homemade Volcano

The so-called “homemade volcano” is a cool experiment involving some common liquids found around the house. The items you will need to conduct this experiment include:

– A funnel
– A small 500-mL soda bottle
– 2 measuring cups
– A cup of baking soda
– A cup of vinegar
– A teaspoon of liquid dish soap
– Food coloring and glitter (if you want to add to the visual effect)

Place the empty soda bottle in your kitchen sink. Put the funnel inside the top of the bottle. Carefully pour the baking soda in the funnel so that it falls into the bottle. Pour the dish soap and food coloring into one of the measuring cups, which should contain vinegar. Sprinkle some glitter on top of the baking soda in the measuring cup. Then pour the entire contents of the cup into the funnel. Your eyes will be amazed at the awesome volcanic eruption!

2. A Rainbow in a Glass

You don’t have to wait for a rain shower in order to see a beautiful rainbow. In fact, you can make one appear in your own kitchen. All you need to have are a few common household liquids and materials, and you’ll be looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow before you know it.

Simply combine each of these items into a clear glass. Remember to put them in one at a time and slowly to get the full effect:

– A 12-oz. glass or a clear plastic cup
– 2 separate mixing cups
– Food coloring
– 1/4 cup of dark corn syrup (honey can be used as well)
– 1/4 cup of dish soap
– 1/4 cup of water
– 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
– 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol

3. A Rocket Film Canister

You can’t say “lift off” fast enough when you make your own little rocket. To do this, you will need the following items:

– An empty 35-mm plastic film canister with a lid
– A fizzing antacid tablet (i.e. Alka-Seltzer)
– Water
– Safety goggles

Put on your safety goggles and find a spot outside to set up your experiment. Split your antacid tablet in two. Take the lid off the film canister and put about a teaspoon of water into it. Then there are two steps that must be completed quickly. Place one of the halves of the antacid tablet into the canister and snap the lid back on tightly. Place the canister on the ground so that the lid is touching it. Step back several feet. After about 10 seconds, you will hear a loud “pop” sound, and the film canister will launch upward into the air like a rocket!

4. Chicken Sounds from a Cup

There are many experiments you can do that produce unique sounds. Generally, these are based on changes in air pressure. One cool experiment is called “Chicken Sounds from a Cup.” To conduct this one, you will need the following items:

– A plastic cup
– A string of yarn or cotton
– A paper clip
– Some paper towels
– A nail
– A pair of scissors
– Water

Cut one piece of yarn that is roughly 20 inches in length. Take the nail and use it to put a hole in center of the cup’s bottom. Tie one end of the piece of yarn to the center of the paper clip. Take the other end of the piece of yarn and pull it through the hole in the bottom of the cup. Tear off a piece of paper towel that is roughly the size and shape of a $1 bill. Fold it over once and then dampen it in the water. Take the cup in one hand and wrap the wet paper towel around the yarn near the cup. Squeeze the string of yarn and pull down in quick intervals so that the paper towel slides along the string. You will then hear the sound of a chicken!

5. Homemade Flashlight

You probably didn’t think you could actually create a homemade flashlight from basic materials around the house. Well, think again. By using the following items and taking these steps, you will have your own personal light source:

– A cardboard tube from a paper towel roll
– A flashlight bulb
– Aluminum Foil
– Masking tape
– A piece of cardboard
– 2 D batteries

Cut two circles out of the cardboard. Cut a slit in the center of one circle and poke a hole in the other circle. Fold two pieces of aluminum foil about 5 times until there are two long strips of foil that are about one foot by one-half inch in size. Cut the paper towel roll so it is slightly longer than the length of the two D batteries when put together.

Place an aluminum strip about 3 inches into the cardboard circle that has the slit in it. Then fold the short end of the strip to make a small square bump. Put the flashlight bulb inside the hole in the other cardboard circle. Then wrap one end of the other strip around the metal side of the base of the flashlight bulb. Put the two batteries in the paper towel tube.

Put the two cardboard circles on either end of the tube to hold the batteries inside it. Use the masking tape and tape up the circles in place on either end of the tube. Tape the aluminum strips along either side of the tube.

You can now turn on the flashlight by pressing the two strips together. To turn it off, simply fold back one of the strips so that they aren’t touching. Wallah! You now have your own homemade flashlight!