Climate Change Science Experiments For Kids
Helping children understand climate change can be difficult. So, we've made 3 fun and educational climate science experiments for kids!
These simple, waste-free kids science experiments help to explain climate related concepts to children, in a digestible manner.
Watch our climate experiments video below and read further to see how you can have a fun time doing experiments, while educating your children (or the children you care for) about the climate and the environment.
Cloud in a Jar Experiment
- Jar or open topped container (we used a vase)
- Warm water
- A match
- A cool plate or surface to cover the container
- Fill the container with warm water and stir.
- Then light the match, blow it out and drop it quickly into the water.
- Cover this quickly with the cool plate - we used a metal cake tin that we left in the freezer. (You can also use a plate with ice on it).
- Watch a cloud of water vapour form in the container! You can lift the plate off of the top to see it better.
What is happening?!
Water vapor is mixing with the smoke particles from the match. When it reaches the cold surface at the top of the jar it cools and condenses, forming a cloud! This is the same process that happens outside, only, the particles that water vapor mixes with can be many different things, not just smoke (dust, pollution, etc.).
This can be a great experiment to explain how clouds are formed to children (and the difference between weather and climate)!
Greenhouse Effect Experiment
- Two jars or vases
- Two thermometers
- Something to cover one of the vases (we used aluminum foil)
- A light source (can also be the sun)
- Place the thermometers in the vases and cover one vase.
- Leave the vases under the light source (in the sun or under a lamp in our case).
- Check back to see any changes in temperature over the next few hours.
What is happening?!
The covered vase is mimicking the greenhouse effect. The air is being warmed by the light source, however, unlike in the uncovered vase, there is nowhere for the warm air to escape. So, it continues to get warmer!
This can help model how the earth is impacted by the greenhouse effect, and how greenhouse gases lead to global warming.
Greenhouse gases stop radiation from the sun from escaping the atmosphere, causing the earth to get warmer. Human activities contribute to the increase in greenhouse gases for example through burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation.
Try explaining how humans contribute to global warming while doing this experiment with kids!
Melting Ice Experiment
- A see through container
- An object to use as a piece of land in the container
- Place your ‘land’ object in the container and fill the container with water.
- Then place ice on top of the land object. Take note of the water level in the container.
- Simply wait for the ice to melt and examine how the water level changed! (Is the water higher? Is more of the ‘land’ object now underwater?)
What is happening?!
The melting ice helps model land ice melting in the arctic. It shows how this can impact the sea level, and coastal communities! When explaining this to kids, you can tie in how the experiment is related to the experiment about greenhouse gases and warming. Because the earth becomes warmer, more ice melts, which can impact sea levels like we see in the experiment!
We hope you enjoyed these experiments! Did you recreate them at home? We'd love to see your versions, so be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram @babysits!
Are the kids a little more educated and inspired to fight against climate change? Keep an eye out, we'll be sharing more environmental education activities.
Looking to take more Climate Action?
We’re a member of Leaders for Climate Action, and they’ve provided quick and easy actions that any individual can take in order to take action for the climate. Check out the actions here!