Skip to content

Science Experiments That Are 100% Worth The Mess

Make your backyard or sidewalk into a gloriously messy mad scientist's laboratory!

Margo Gothelf · 26 days ago

backyard science experiments

Getty

Typically, making a mess isn't exactly a good thing. But with these at-home science experiments, it's highly encouraged! From fizzing and explosions to gooey textures and slimy blobs, it's all here for you to mess around with. So roll up your sleeves, grab a pair of safety goggles, turn your lab coat into a smock, and get ready to get messy! 

Fizzy Sidewalk Chalk Paint

sidewalk-chalk-paints-paint-outside-2

Messy Little Monsters

Drawing with chalk on the sidewalk during the summer is a tradition as old as time. This year, change it up and learn how you can turn your chalk into fizzy paint with this simple experiment. Head on over to Messy Little Monsters to see how you can make homemade chalk paint in different colors, then bring the paint mixtures outside and channel your inner artist. After you've created your artistic masterpiece, it’s time to watch it fizz! Spray the chalk paint with vinegar and watch your artwork come alive.

Elephant Toothpaste

elephant-toothpaste

Teach Beside Me

Full disclosure: You won’t get to see a real-life elephant as part of this experiment. But you’ll understand why it's called elephant toothpaste by the time the experiment is over. Combine the ingredients as listed over on Teach Beside Me and watch the chemicals go to work. The chemical reaction will cause the liquids to foam and explode, sort of resembling a giant tube of toothpaste — kinda like the kind an elephant would brush its tusks with? Try this one out using different colors of food coloring in a few different jars and set them off at the same time to see which one will jump the highest!

Magic Milk

Simple-Magic-Milk-Science-Experiment-9

Living Life and Learning

Want to see your milk move like a kaleidoscope? All you need is a little dish soap, food coloring, and cotton swabs to make it twist and turn. The different substances react to form one-of-a-kind designs and abstract patterns, just like you would see out of a kaleidoscope. This simple trick involves a little bit of science, art, and magic. Check out the details and find out all of the science behind the fun patterns over on Living Life and Learning.

Rainbow Melting Ice

rainbow ice copy

The Artful Parent

This colorful melting ice experiment is the perfect activity for a hot summer day. The night before, fill up some different-sized containers with water and set them to freeze overnight. The next day, head outside and place the salt all over the ice and watch the chemical reaction come to life. As the salt starts to melt the water, add in the food coloring for a rainbow waterfall. It will quickly turn your block of ice into a colorful, melty mess. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar Fireworks

July-4th-STEM-Investigation

STEAM Powered Family

Taken on their own, baking soda and vinegar are pretty boring. But when the two substances come together, things get quite literally explosive! See for yourself with this bubbling firework experiment. Combine the two substances together with a little bit of glitter to create a personalized firework show. Save this one for the 4th of July for holiday-themed science hijinks. Get all of the details over on STEAM Powered Family

Erupting Lemon Volcano

erupting lemon volcano

Little Bins for Little Hands

Want to turn a lemon into a volcano? Little Bins For Little Hands will show you exactly how to do that with just some simple household items. So how do you get the big explosion? It’s all about the chemical reactions between the baking soda and a lemon. The baking soda creates carbon dioxide once it hits the lemon, causing a bubbling and messy reaction. See if other citrus fruits do the same thing and try out the same experiment with limes or grapefruits! 

Rainbow Pop and Mentos Experiment

Rainbow-Pop-and-Mentos-Experiment-14

Living Life and Learning

Take the Coke and Mentos experiment up a notch by adding in a pop of color! To get the dazzling rainbow effect, replace the classic cola with different flavors of Fanta soda. The soda will have the same reaction as the cola but will produce a super colorful explosion. Don’t even bother trying this one inside — unless you want to clean soda off your ceiling! Find all of the details and science behind the reaction over on Living Life and Learning’s site.

Exploding Paint Bombs Activity

Paint-Bombs-4-copy-e1440999644954

Kids Activities Blog

Tired of painting with just a basic paintbrush? Add a little science experiment into your art project with these exploding paint bombs. So, what exactly are paint bombs? They're film canisters filled with water-based paint and Alka-Seltzer tablets. The tablets react with the paint and build up pressure to blow the tops off of the canisters. The results? A mind-blowing design! All you have to do is fill the canisters, close the tops and watch the science create art in real-time.

Exploding Baggies

Exploding-Baggies-with-Text

Kids Activities Blog

Whenever baking soda and vinegar combine, chaos ensues, especially in this exploding bag experiment. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar (with food coloring if you want it to be a colorful explosion) and tie it shut with a clothespin. In the remaining space, add in some baking soda and tie the bag shut. Then, quickly remove the clothespin and take cover! Watch as the two substances come together to pop the bag — it won’t matter how tight you sealed it, the reaction will make it burst!

Oobleck

How-To-Make-Oobleck-1

Unsophisticook

If you’re new to oobleck, get ready for it to become your new favorite messy activity. Oobleck is a combo between slime and putty. It’s gooey, oozy, and somehow a liquid and a solid all at the same time. Also, it’s pretty easy to make — all you need is cornstarch and water. Head on over to Unsophisticook to see how to make your own batch and learn all about the non-Newtonian fluid.

Bouncing Bubbles

BouncingBubblesALittlePinchofPerfect5copy

A Little Pinch of Perfect

Bubbles are fun no matter how old you are. The only issue? They have a super short lifespan and pop pretty quickly. Thankfully, with a little scientific trick, you can make them last a whole lot longer: Instead of blowing bubbles with a premade mix, make your own with soap, water, and a little bit of sugar. The mixture creates a strong reaction causing the materials to bond together, making the bubbles extra durable. With this mixture, you’ll be able to bounce the bubbles and hold them in your hands. You'll have to wear gloves to make it work since the oils in your hands will break down the substance, but it will be worth it!