8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I’m doing, whether it’s gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It’s exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I’ve done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.

Elephant Toothpaste
We did this activity last summer and my kids went crazy over it!  The reaction is pretty amazing and we’ll definitely be doing it again soon.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Color Explosions
This activity is super simple and you probably already have the ingredients on hand!  You can do this one over and over again for really inexpensive.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Glow in the Dark Bath Paint
This is a great activity to do with your kids once your sure they won’t try and eat everything they can get their hands on.  A black light and glow in the dark paint make this activity great for those days when you’re stuck inside.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Dancing Rice
Using basic ingredients, you can do a little science experiment with your kids and show them how air bubbles carry the rice up to the top of a glass, making them look like they’re dancing.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Gak
Gak is one of those really fun things to play with no matter your age!  We did this one as a family activity one night and everyone got in on it.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Bouncy Ball
This activity was one of the first posts I did on my blog and I still get people coming back to it.  It makes for a fun afternoon activity at home or preschool activity.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Water Beads
If you’ve never heard of water beads, you are missing out!  We pull these out once every few months or so and the kids will play with them forever.  They are really inexpensive and you get hours of fun!

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

3 Ways to Paint with a Toddler or Preschooler
One of my most popular kid activities post!  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, this one is for you.  I’ve included 3 different ways you can let your preschooler or toddler paint (adult supervision still required of course).

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

And there you have it!  I hope you have fun trying these activities out with your kids!

Kid Science: Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

As much as I love the summertime and the sunshine and letting my kids play outside, there comes a point every day where it’s just too hot and we have to come inside and cool off.  I made a commitment to myself that I would try to have a balance between structured time and unstructured time this summer, but I haven’t been doing as well on the structured time with my kids as I would like.  So at the beginning of the week, I decided to do a little experiment that I’ve had on my mind for the last little while, but hadn’t gotten around to: elephant toothpaste.

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Elephant Toothpaste

Like many kids, mine love anything that bubbles and foams.  We’ve done glow in the dark bath paint, bubble snakes and color explosions and they have all been winners.  This experiment only required me to buy one thing I didn’t already have on hand (hydrogen peroxide), and now I have it so we can do this another day too.

Elephant Toothpaste

My kids totally oooh’d and aaah’d over this activity and it kept them entertained even after the initial experiment was over.  We did it a couple of times–once with my daughter while my son was napping and then again when he woke up.

Elephant Toothpaste
This post contains affiliate links.

To make your own elephant toothpaste, you will need the following:

First, measure 2 Tbsp. very warm water into a small bowl.  Add 1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 packet) and stir around.  Make sure your water isn’t too hot or you’ll kill the yeast.  You can have your child help with this part.

Elephant Toothpaste

Set your water bottle in the middle of a 9×13 pan.  Using the funnel, pour 1/2 c. hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.  Add 4-5 drops of food coloring and a couple squirts of dish soap.  Swirl it together gently.  I wouldn’t recommend having your child do this part unless you feel confident they won’t spill or lick their fingers if they get stuff on them.

Pour the yeast into the bottle through the funnel.  (Again, something your child could do.)  Remove it quickly as the reaction will start right away and enjoy the crazy foam!

Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

A few things:

  • The foam is totally safe to touch!  The peroxide gets broken down in the reaction, only leaving water and oxygen behind.
  • The reaction is exothermic, which means it gives off heat.  You can have your child touch the bottle and they will feel the warmth.  Pretty cool!
  • 6% (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide is a bit of a specialty item, which you can buy at any beauty supply store (or order it online on Amazon by clicking the link).  The kind you buy at the store is only 3% and it will still produce a reaction, but it won’t be nearly as impressive.

After the reaction slowed down, I brought out some little cars and plastic animal (one was an elephant of course) and let them play in the foam.  I had to take it away before they were actually done playing in it because their hands were starting to turn colors. 😉

Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

This was such a fun activity!  My kids loved it and I loved watching them love it.

I hope you have as much fun as we did!

Kid Science: Dancing Rice

This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.
How are you surviving the winter?  After snowing all day yesterday and racking up another 10 inches of snow, I am so ready for spring to come.  Only 47 days left!  (But who’s counting?)  You might remember a fun activity I shared a couple of months ago called Color Explosions involving baking soda and vinegar. (If not, you should totally check it out because it’s so much fun!)  I thought I’d throw another baking soda and vinegar experiment out there for you and your kids to try out!  This activity takes basically no prep time at all and uses ingredients you already have at home: water, rice, vinegar, baking soda and food coloring.

First, grab a clear container, such as a glass, and fill it with water so there is about an inch or so of space left at the top.  Add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda and stir it around.

Sprinkle some rice into the water.  (I’ve found that minute/instant rice works well since it’s not as dense.)

Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water.  After a short period of time, you should start seeing the rice “dance” up to the top and then sink back down.  This is due to the carbon dioxide bubbles sticking to the rice and the gas being released once it reaches the top.

You can also add a drop or two of food coloring into the glass for another aspect of visual fun.

Once the rice stops dancing, try adding a little more baking soda and vinegar to the water to see if you can get the reaction going again.

Notes:

  • The larger the container is that you use, the more baking soda and vinegar you’ll have to use to get the reaction going.  So if you find that nothing is happening, try adding a little more of each.
  • Try using different items and see if you can get them to “dance”, such as small pieces of spaghetti or raisins.
  • For older kids, it would be fun to turn it into a real “experiment” by teaching them about why the rice “dances”, having them make notes about how much baking soda/vinegar it takes to get different items to dance, trying different kinds of rice to see if they “dance” differently, etc.
  • Let your kids do as much of the activity as possible.  They will love being the ones to create the reaction!

I hope you have fun with this activity!  (Maybe it will help you from going crazy while your stuck inside this winter like we are.)

What baking soda and vinegar activities have you tried?

Kid Science: Color Explosions

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

As an adult, I forget sometimes how neat the simplest science experiments can be for kids.  So many of these experiments can be done at home with items you already own or are inexpensive to buy.  One such activity is combining baking soda and vinegar and watching the bubbles form.  Add some food coloring and dish soap and you’ve got an even better homemade explosion that will impress your little ones for sure!

While I was pulling out the supplies I needed, my daughter thought we were making some food and scooted her chair on over to see what was going on.  She watched closely and I let her help in the prep as much as I could.  She asked multiple times what I was doing, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.  Here is what you need to do this fun experiment:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Food Coloring

First, put the baking soda into a small container, such as a cup or bowl.  I used about 1 Tbsp of baking soda per glass.  Then, drop some food coloring into the cups.  You can use more or less depending on how bright you want the color to be.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Put some water in a different container and pour at least 1 Tbsp of dish soap in, stirring slowly to mix it around.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Pour some water into the baking soda and stir it around.  Don’t pour too much in, otherwise the water to vinegar ratio will be off and you won’t get as good of an “explosion”.

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Place your cups/container on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan to catch any liquid that overflows when you pour the vinegar in.

Pour the vinegar into a measuring cup and give to your child to pour into the cups.  Watch their faces as the baking soda reacts to the vinegar and creates some fun color explosions!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!

Because the baking soda and vinegar create bubbles, the dish soap you put in will also help increase the explosion.  You can also give them a spoon to stir the mixture around and see if they can get the reaction going again.  My daughter loved mixing the colors together and stirring them around on the pan.

Color explosions are a great year round activity:  In the summer, you can do it outside and easily rinse it off the sidewalk/driveway.  In the winter, you could also create a snow volcano.  I think the next time we do this, I will try using different sizes and shapes of containers to see which ones give the best explosion!

Find 7 other colorful hands on kid activities HERE!

Have you tried baking soda and vinegar experiments before?