Educational Messy Science Experiments from the OSC Vault!

We've ranked our favorite educational messy science experiments by messiness!

Every year, Orlando Science Center staff celebrates "Mess Month" which features some of gooiest, slimiest, messiest activities on a giant scale. Think foam-splosion, pendulum painting, pools of slime... you get the picture. We love our mess-tivities so much that we wanted to make sure you could enjoy educational messy science experiments all year long, so we adapted some of our favorites projects so you could try them at home!

 
From the ultimate slime time to some good clean fun will minimal clean-up,find them all in one place below! Be sure to use the Mess-O-Meter rating to find a mess-tivity fit for you! If you take any photos, don't forget to share them with us on social media by tagging Orlando Science Center and using #OSCatHome or you can submit them directly through our Science Showcase.

1. Ooey-GooeyOobleck

Mess-O-Meter Level: Very Messy

Make a big mess with just two ingredients! Learn about the states of matter and viscosity, practice lab skills like measuring and mixing with  this educational messy science experiment that's so fun, you won't even realize you're learning!

2. Cool and Colorful Ice Chalk 

Mess-O-Meter Level: Moderately Messy

The mess never bothered us anyway! Step up your driveway art with the coolest sidewalk chalk  around! Just be sure to wash away your artwork when you're finished to avoid stains. 

3. Forensic Science Spatter Painting

Mess-O-Meter Level: Moderately Messy

I spy with my little eye some messy fun! This educational messy science experiment will leave you with some new vocabulary words and a work of art!

4. Colorful Coffee Filter Experiment

Mess-O-Meter Level: Minimal Mess

Watch water defy gravity before your very eyes! This colorful experiment will help teach little learners about capillary action with a beautiful visual aid! And the best part is, it's all contained in a cup so cleanup is a breeze. 

5. Demonstrating Laminar Flow

Mess-O-Meter Level: Barely Messy

Looking for some good clean fun?  This experiment is maximum fun with minimal cleanup! Just make sure you're doing your demonstration outdoors. Let's learn how you can freeze time with water and a balloon!

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Colorful Coffee Filter Experiment: Defy Gravity with Capillary Action

See water flow upwards with this colorful coffee filter experiment!

Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces. With capillary action, water can even flow upward against gravity!  You can observe capillary action all around you, for example, it's what moves the water up through plant roots and your tears through your tear ducts. 

 

It's hard to visualize but when you use our steps for this colorful coffee filter experiment to add an explosion of color, it will come together! Once your coffee filters have dried, you can use the them for other craft projects!

 

For more amazing experiments with water, see how you can freeze time through laminar flow

 

Materials:

  • Coffee filters
  • Markers
  • Water
  • A  small clear cup or glass

Directions:

STEP 1
  • Use the markers to draw all over the coffee filter.

    The more colors you use, the more vibrant your colorful coffee filter experiment will be.

STEP 2
  • Fold the coffee filter in half.  Then in half one more time.
colorful markers patterns drawn on coffee filters
STEP 3
  • Add enough water to the cup to just barely cover the bottom and set your coffee filter in the cup.

This will take a few minutes, so you can use this time to talk about capillary action or ask these questions to expand on the activity:

  1. How do the colors change as they move up the coffee filter?
  2. Do you see any colors mix? What new colors do you see?
  3. Did any colors disappear?
  4. Why do you think this is happening?
     
soak colorful coffee filters in water to see capillary action
STEP 4
  • Once the water has reached the top of the coffee filter or has stopped moving, remove your coffee filter from the cup and open it up!

 

STEP 5
  • Let your colorful coffee filter experiment dry and then upcycle it for your next maker project!
Wet colorful capillary coffee filters drying

Expand on the Activity:

  • What happens if you only use one color, like green or black? How does the color of the ink change as it spreads out? Why do you think this happens?
  • Once they’ve dried, the coffee filters can be used as colorful tissue paper in craft projects. Try making flowers, snowflakes, monsters, butterflies, or any other creation you can think of!

 

If you had fun learning about capillary action and snapped some photos, be sure to submit it to our Science Showcase here or tag Orlando Science Center and use #OSCatHome on social media! You might be featured on our channels. 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Kids Homemade Stamps DIY — Recycled Custom Creations

A repurposed project that teaches STEM skills to kids. Homemade stamps really make a mark!  

Repurposing found objects, using materials in creative ways, making a plan, and problem solving are all key engineering skills that you can practice while doing this kids homemade stamps activity! Follow along for tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you make custom DIY recycled stamps at home.

Once you've finished creating your tools with your kids, homemade stamps can be used to make your own cards, wrapping paper, or artwork so this recycled project can be used again and again!

  

Materials:

It’s time to raid your recycling bin! This is a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and use what you have available to you. The materials listed here are suggestions and you can absolutely make substitutions based on what you have on hand. 

 

  • A base for your stamps
    This needs to be something sturdy that you can attach materials of different shapes and textures to. We used cardboard, but you could also use something like scrap wood from another project or the lid from a pickle jar. 
  • Textures for your stamps
    These could be just about anything! Our examples feature popsicle sticks, string, bubble wrap, tin foil, pipe cleaners, a design made out of hot glue, and a mesh produce bag. As long as your materials can be glued to your base and lay relatively flat, they should work. 
  • A handle
    We used more cardboard for this, but you could also use a pipe cleaner, bottle cap, or 
    wine cork. 
  • Adhesive
    We used a glue gun, but if you’re willing to wait other kinds of glue can also work. Check the directions on your adhesive of choice for best results. 
  • Paint
    Several different kinds of paint will work well for this project. 
    Make sure to pick a paint that works well for whatever you’re planning to decorate with your stamps. If you have an ink pad, that’s also a good option (just remember to check if it’s washable as many are not!). 
  • Paintbrushes or sponges
    Select 
    whatever you think will be easiest to use to apply your paint. You can always switch it up part way through if you’d like to try something new! 
  • Something to stamp
    Stamps are often used on paper, but with fabric paint you could also decorate a canvas bag or T-shirt
    . We also recommend decorating paper bags, cardstock, or butcher paper so you can later turn your creation into a card or gift wrap! 

Directions:

  • Glue your textures of choice to whatever you’ve chosen to be the base of your stamp.
  • Adjust your texture materials as needed so they lay flat on the base of your stamp.  
Stamp created by wrapping yarn around cardboard
  • Glue your handle onto your stamp.
    NOTE: This should go on the side opposite your texture.
     
Cardboard attached to stamp to create a handle
  • When your adhesive is dry, use a sponge or a paint brush to apply your paint. Depending on how you’ve constructed your stamp, it may be easier to spread a thin layer of paint onto a paper plate and stamp directly into the paint. 

Paint front of bubble wrap stamp to begin printing project
  • Apply your stamp to whatever you’ve chosen to decorate! It’s important to put even pressure across the whole stamp as you press it down.

    If you remo
    ve your stamp and find that part of your pattern or texture hasn’t transferred to your project, that’s a good sign that the missing part of your stamp didn’t get enough pressure. 

Three stamps alongside piece of paper that they have been printed on
  • When you’re finished stamping, allow your creation to dry completely. 
  • Share your creation with us! We’d love to see what you made! Submit your photos to our Science Showcase or tag Orlando Science Center and use hashtag #OSCatHome on social media!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

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Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Nature Portraits: Loose Parts Play Activity for Little Learners

Loose Parts Play with Items Found in Nature!

When we set up opportunities for children to play with interesting materials, they have the chance to explore, invent, and imagine in all kinds of new ways! Loose parts play is a great way to encourage fun and creative learning experiences for children with items found around the house.

 

*This activity involves small parts and is not recommended for children under the age of 3.

Materials:

  • A flat, clean, dry workspace
  • A mirror
  • Found nature items. Our favorites include: leaves, twigs, grass, pebbles, tree bark, mulch, pine cones, acorns, and seashells
  • Depending on the different nature items available to you, you may also want to supplement with loose parts from your home. Our favorites include: buttons, tooth picks, twine, dry beans, and popsicle sticks
Create self portrait with loose play parts

Directions:

  1. Take a walk outside and see what nature items you can find! It’s helpful to bring a small container, like a shoebox, along to help hold your collection as you walk. This is a great opportunity to talk with children about what is and isn’t respectful to take from nature or shared outdoor spaces.

  2. Once you’ve collected all the materials you need, set up your workspace with your mirror and your nature items.

  3. Take a look at your face in the mirror. What shapes do you see? Are some of your features bigger than others? Is your hair long or short, straight or curly?

  4. Take a look at the items you collected. What could make good eyes? Did you collect anything that reminds you of the shape of your nose or the texture of your hair?

  5. Use what you collected to put together the best portrait of yourself that you can! Don’t like something? Don’t worry! The best part about playing with loose parts is that you can create and re-create again and again! Try making portraits of yourself making different faces. What’s different about how you make a happy face compared to how you make a sad face?

  6. Don’t forget to take a picture before you put your loose parts away! Share your photos with us by using #OSCatHome on social media or submitting them to our Science Showcase!

Extend the fun!

One of our favorite things about loose parts play is that you can use almost anything! Don’t have easy access to nature items?

 

Try using some of our other favorite loose parts items which include but are not limited to:

  • Bottle caps
  • LEGO blocks
  • Uncooked pasta in different shapes
  • Yarn or ribbon
  • Beads
  • Pom poms
  • Straws
  • Fabric scraps
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper clips
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs
  • Tin foil

Just like your materials, your loose parts play prompt can be pretty much anything. Challenge children to make an invention, map out a garden, explore pattern making, design a robot, imagine their own planet, or create scenes based on different seasons!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Fairy Tale Weekend Presented by Florida Prepaid

Hear ye, hear ye!  

 The Kingdom of KidsTown would like to cordially invite you to join us as we celebrate Fairy Tale Weekend presented by Florida Prepaid College Plans! Steer your horse-drawn carriage over to Orlando Science Center February 8 & 9 to celebrate an enchanting weekend of STEM learning inspired by your favorite fables. 

 

By using fairy tales and stories, kids aren’t just learning, they’re excited to learn, and they take those lessons with them. Our young guests love these fables, and it’s a unique opportunity to harness that, and help children and families to write and celebrate their own story!

 

Cross the troll bridge if you dare and join us for hands-on fun! Fairy Tale Weekend is going to be one for the books! 

 

Event Table of Contents: 

 

•  Go on an enchanted quest! Adventure your way through KidsTown to help feed a hangry dragon 

 

•  Put your engineering skills to the test and see if you can build a castle worthy of royalty! 

 

•  Dress to impress! Wear your favorite family-friendly fantasy costume! 

 

•  Whether you’re a jester or a dragon, head to DinoDigs to make and take your own crown, wand, storybook, and more! 

 

•  Brew up some magic in Dr. Dare’s Lab, and learn about the chemistry behind magic potions. 

 

•  Meet real-life explorer, Dr. Pål Brekke as he shares the history and science behind the breathtaking Northern Lights.

 

COST:

Admission to Orlando Science Center is FREE for members*, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant-screen and 3D educational films, and live programming.

 

SCIENCE FOR ALL – General Admission Access Program: 

If you have an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or WIC card with a State issued photo ID matching the name and state as the card, you qualify for a $3 admission per person for up to six individuals.

 

*Become a member for unlimited access to Orlando Science Center all year long, discounts to camps, and special member-only events!

Promoting Learning Amongst Youth: Lessons to learn in KidsTown

"Play is the highest form of research" – Albert Einstein

Orlando Science Center’s mission of inspiring science learning for life applies to even our youngest scientists! You may be all too familiar with the dreaded ‘Why?’ stage of childhood and the under seven crowd are certainly capable of asking some real head-scratchers. We know that children have a natural curiosity, and nurturing that love of learning can help set them on a path for success.

 


In our early childhood exhibit, KidsTown, there are lessons to be learned everywhere. Here, we’ll explore some discussion topics that you can use to enhance the educational impact of your KidsTown visit. Even if you don’t know the exact answer to all of those inevitable ‘Why?’ questions, it’s valuable to talk about possibilities together. Children will see that, while grownups don’t have all the answers, you both can learn more about the world we live in.


Here are some conversation starters for your time in KidsTown:

 

Orange Grove Presented by Dr. Phillips Charities

  • At the sorting station, sort ripe and unripe oranges. How many ripe (orange) oranges do you count? How many unripe (green) oranges do you count? Are there more ripe or unripe oranges in our Orange Grove?
  • At the packing station, you can pull one lever at a time to move the oranges up the ramp. What do you think will happen if you pull two levers at once? What happens if you pull three or more at once? What do you notice?
  • The plants that we eat need a few things to grow big and healthy – can you think of anything that’s important for plants in a farm or garden to have? What do you think would happen if the plants didn’t have those things?

 


Isaacs Family ClimbTime

  • Your heart does an important job in your body. Do you know what job your heart does?
  • Test your heart rate. What do you think will happen to your heartbeat as you climb and play?
  • Do you notice any differences in how your body feels after playing or working hard? Test your heart rate again – is anything different?
  • Think about the job your heart does. Why do you think your heart rate is different now?

 


Drip Drop Splash Presented by James M. Cox Foundation

  • Use the blue panels to create a path for the water. If we make a thin pathway, do you think the water will flow faster or slower? What if we make a wide pathway?
  • How do you think we can get the water to flow in a different direction? Are there any tools we can use? Let’s try that together and see what happens!
  • I’m noticing that some of the toys in this area float, and others sink. I wonder why that is. What do you think?

PNC Celebrates 15th Anniversary Of Grow Up Great

On Thursday, April 4, PNC Bank celebrated 15 years of their commitment to early childhood education through the Grow Up Great program in Orlando Science Center’s KidsTown exhibit. PNC staff brought the Mobile Learning Adventure (MLA), a traveling exhibit that provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to learn about the importance of early childhood education while having fun with their children.

 

The educational exhibit allows parents and children to engage in unique, interactive activities — whether visiting a learning kiosk, imagining the future, or exploring the difference between a need versus a want. It's a great way to discover how everyday moments are learning opportunities. The hands-on exhibit offered educational games for children and their parents on two touch-screen kiosks. Activities included the “When I Grow Up” station, where kids dress up as different professionals and have their picture superimposed on an appropriate background.

PNC Grow Up Great

In addition, parents took home an activity book and a Sesame StreetTM learning kit created for PNC as part of a continuing partnership. The kit included a magazine for parents and caregivers, children’s activity cards and a book, along with an original Sesame Street DVD that demonstrates how to take everyday moments and turn them into learning opportunities.

 

Congratulations to PNC on 15 years of Grow Up Great! Orlando Science Center is proud to be a partner with PNC Bank on early childhood learning initiatives.