All year long the kids accumulate knowledge at school, becoming treasure houses of information whose talent will make you beam with pride, some day or the other! Does the two month summer break irk you as an obstacle in their learning curve? Actually it can be quite the contrary. The summer break helps your child rejuvenate, without curbing any of the enthusiasm or willingness to learn.

Every wise parent utilizes this time to extend an amount practical scholastic learning into the child's life. Summer science projects are just the activities to help your young Einstein discover his passion or the little Curie find her calling!
If you aren't a parent, help your siblings or the kid next door fare well in his/her science class next year. Execute the science experiments elaborated below, participate with zeal to inspire the kid and watch the genius blossom!

Discovering Sound Waves

Materials required:
A shoe box
Elastic bands - of different widths, large enough to go around the shoe box
A sheet of cardboard
Cello tape


Take the lid off the shoe box. Using some cardboard and cello tape, strengthen the sides and bottom of the box so that the bands don't cut through it.
Fix the elastic bands of different widths around it.
Using your finger, pluck each elastic band in turn.
Ask the child to observe the vibrations of the elastic bands and the sounds made by them.
Shift focus to one particular elastic band. Stretch it with your finger and then pluck it. Note the vibrations and the sound. Release it back to its normal position, and pluck it again. Ask the child if they noticed a difference in the behaviour of the stretched and relaxed band when plucked. Ask the child to experiment with the plucking.
Re-arrange the bands according to the quality of sound emitted - deepest to shrillest or vice versa. Explain the dynamics of sound waves.


Elastic bands with broader widths will vibrate slower, producing a deeper sound. Thin elastic bands vibrate higher, with a higher frequency, producing sound waves that are shrill.
Explain the effect of stretching on the behaviour of the elastic band - in increasing the length and decreasing the bass quality of the sound it emits.
This experiment explains the visual and auditory behaviour of sound waves and the effect of dimension on the vibrating strings.

Home Made Sundial

Materials required:
A Stick
Some Clay
A Watch

Find a clear spot in your garden or front porch, which has no overhead obstacle to block the path of direct sunlight.
Fix the stick into the ground. If the ground is hard and you don't want to mess with the tiles in your front porch, use a little clay to build a base for the stick.
Starting early in the morning, mark the shadow of the stick on the ground using a pebble or a chalk-drawn line. You can use a slide rule to draw even lines.
Follow this procedure through the length of the day to mark the hourly shadows on the ground. Make sure no other source of light is present in the vicinity as this can influence the shadows produced.
This procedure may have to be followed for several days to get accurate positions of the hourly marks on the ground.
It may take a few days of practice and acquaintance to get familiar with the reading of the Sun Dial but perseverance will keep the interest of the child riveted on the project.

This project aims at educating the child on the behaviour of light, the creation of shadows and planetary movements around the sun. This simple project will lead to a multitude of questions which, if answered well, will give the kid something to boast about in his next science class!
It may take a while for you and the child to familiarize yourselves with the Sun Dial but with regular practice sessions over a week or two, you can read the time to the closest five minutes.

Sinking and Floating Experiment

Materials required:
A clear glass or plastic container
Baking Soda
Liquid food colouring
Raw rice
Pomegranate seeds
Two teaspoons

Fill the glass/container with three parts water and one part vinegar. Make the solution keeping in mind the volume of the container. After the solution is poured into the container, there should be adequate space left between the meniscus of the liquid mixture and the brim of the container.
Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the container, stirring while you do so. If the soda is thrown in, the mixture will bubble over the sides of the container. So if the child is executing this part of the experiment, make sure there isn't an expensive table cloth under the container!
After the bubbles settle, add two more teaspoons of baking, carefully stirring all the while.
After the bubbles from the final spoon of soda settle, add a few drops of food colouring into the container. The colour will diffuse into the solution rapidly.
After the solution is evenly coloured, add a few pomegranate seeds into the container. The seeds will sink to the bottom and then rise up again.
Try the same procedure with a few grains of rice and notice how they jump around in the fluid. This is sure to enthral the child.
If the movement of the particles dies down, add another spoon of baking soda to rejuvenate the solution!

This is a fascinating experiment to educate a child about the molecular nature of fluids - through the diffusion of the food. Children are sure to learn about it in school, if they haven't already and this will give them a heads up in the field.
The reason why the solid particles of the pomegranate seeds and rice sink initially and then bob up to the surface of the fluid is due to the reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda. Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda a base. Thus their mutual reaction produces a salt and carbon dioxide. The bubbles of carbon dioxide attach themselves to the solid particle in the solution and as these bubbles increase in number, the solid particle is pushed to the surface of the solution. This is because the bubbles trapped in the liquid strain to free themselves. Once the gas bubbles are released, the solid particle sinks back again.
This simple experiment to observe the behaviour of fluids is the basis of the most common chemical reaction. An educational lesson of the most interesting kind for a child!

Discovering UV Rays

Materials required:
A couple of plastic cups
A bottle of tonic water - beverage found in any department store
Some tap water
A marker
Black paper or black cloth

This experiment is best conducted during noon, on a sunny day.
Fill one plastic cup with tonic water and one with tap water. Place the two cups out in the sun, making sure both receive the same amount of sunlight.
After a while, place a piece of the black paper or the black cloth behind both the cups.
Ask the child to observe the surface of the water in both the cups through the side of the cups.

The surface of the cup with the tonic water glows with a bluish hue. This is due to the Quinine present in the tonic water. Tonic water's initial use was as a medicine, with Quinine being the key ingredient. Today, commercially available tonic water is used mostly as an addition in cocktails and drinks, with relatively lower quantities of Quinine.
This seemingly insignificant amount of Quinine in the tonic water absorbs the Ultra Violet rays emitted by the sun and re-emits the same as visible light. This causes the blue fluorescence on the surface of the tonic water.
The blue glow on the tonic water can be seen under any light that has an ultra violet component. We chose sunlight, due to its everyday relevance and easy availability!
Through this experiment, the child learns about the component of the light spectrum emitted by the sun. You can educate them about Ultra Violet rays and Infra Red rays, causing some learning in the child that will greatly help in chemistry and physics classes alike!