The Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

The Outdoor Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park is a good guide to home science experiments for kids, usually with adult involvement, ranging across a fairly wide range of age but mainly, I'd say, middle school for unsupervised work, or pretty much any age if supervised.

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-12-44-37-pmAll of the experiments can be done by adults with younger kids watching or being involved to varying degrees.

Most of he experiments cost little or nothing, depending on where you live (like, do you live near a pond?) and what the phrase "common household ingredients" means to you.

Many of the experiments involve things in nature, which is why it is the "outdoor" and not the "kitchen" or "bathroom" science lab.

Make a pitfall trap, find and observe inverts, conduct plant warfare using the principle of allelopathy.

For those in temperate zones, these are mainly spring-summer-fall experiments, so with 52 of them, this book is good for a few years.

Each spread (two pages) has one experiment, richly illustrated with photographs. There is a list of materials, safety tips, the protocol, and a side bar on the science itself, along with a "creative enrichment" idea such as making graphs, or testing the allelopathic properties of invasives.

The author, Liz Heinche, is a molecular biologist and mom, thus this book. From the publisher:

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids offers 52 fun science activities for families to do together. The experiments can be used as individual projects, for parties, or as educational activities for groups. Outdoor Science Lab for Kids will tempt families to learn about physics, chemistry and biology in their backyards. Learn scientific survival skills and even take some experiments to the playground! Many of the experiments are safe enough for toddlers and exciting enough for older kids, so families can discover the joy of science together.


I know of at least one pre-school that uses the book. I'm not a big fan of home schooling, but home schoolers will like this book. The book is not a substitute for middle school or high school science instruction in schools.

Also in the same series are Kitchen Science Lab for Kids (where you will find an excellent milk rainbow protocol) and Gardening Lab for Kids, which I've not looked at.

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