4 awesome DIY science activities

Looking for messy play ideas – or creative ways to kill an hour with the kids? To celebrate British Science Week and the release of George's Marvellous Experiments, Greg Foot shows us four hands-on experiments you can easily recreate at home.

Find George’s Marvellous Experiments, and everything else you could ever dream of from the wonderful world of Roald Dahl.

Experiment 1: Foaming Fizzy Potion


  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Clear water glass
  • Washing up liquid
  • Food colouring
  • Lemon Juice (ready juiced for ease)

Step 1: Put a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into the cup. Any cup will do, but tall, narrow ones work best.

Step 2: Add a squirt of washing-up liquid.

Step 3: Stir mixture together. If it’s tricky to stir with a spoon, try using a long drinking straw. If you want your magic potion to be colourful, add some food colouring. Not too much – a couple of drops will do.

Step 4: Squeeze or pour a small amount of lemon juice. Continues stirring while you pour. As you stir, bubbles will form and start to fill the cup.

Experiment 2: Rainbow Rain


  • Jam Jar
  • Water
  • White Shaving Foam
  • Drinking glasses
  • Food colouring
  • Eye dropper (optional)

Step 1: Fill the jar two-thirds full with water. Squirt shaving foam on top of water, so it looks like a cloud.

Step 2: In the drinking glasses, mix up some more water and different colours of food colouring.

Step 3: Slowly and carefully pour (or better still, use an eyedropper) the coloured water onto the foam.

Step 4: The shaving foam fills up until it can’t hold the coloured water any longer, then let’s it fall like rain into the water below.

Step 5: Add more lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda until the frothy mixture bubbles up to the top!

Experiment 3: Twirly Swirly Art Show


  • A plate
  • Milk
  • Food colouring
  • Washing up liquid

Step 1: Pour enough milk onto the plate to cover the bottom with a thin layer. Drip a few different drops of food colouring into the middle of the milk. Try to get them close together without any overlapping and mixing.

Step 2: Take careful aim, squeeze a single squirt of washing up liquid into the middle of the food colouring.

Step 3: The colours will shoot across the surface of the milk swirling together into patterns.

Experiment 4: Pop a Balloon


  • Popping Candy
  • Balloon
  • Homemade funnel
  • A small bottle of fizzy drink

Step 1: Pour the popping candy into your uninflated balloon. (This is where the funnel comes in handy!)

Step 2: Take the lid off your fizzy drink bottle.

Step 3: This is a bit fiddly – stretch the opening of the balloon over the top of the bottle, making sure none of the popping candy falls into the liquid. The balloon can be securely attached using an elastic.

Step 4: Tip the balloon up so the popping candy falls into the drink. The balloon will inflate.