A home science lab area is really a must-have for curious kids if you can pull it off. We have everything you need to know to set up a home science lab! I can’t tell you how much fun it is to carve out a dedicated space or even a spot on the counter for your science equipment. Kids simply can’t get bored if they have access to materials and simple science experiments that will fuel their curiosity.

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What is a Home Science Lab?

A basic home science lab for kids is a small, safe, and engaging space where young learners can explore and experiment with simple scientific concepts. It typically includes:

Basic science tools include plastic beakers, test tubes, pipettes, and safety goggles.

Basic household items like baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, and water serve as materials for easy hands-on experiments.

The lab encourages kids to ask questions, make observations, and learn through interactive activities such as creating volcanic eruptions, investigating buoyancy, and observing the growth of crystals. With a focus on safety, curiosity, and creativity, a basic home science lab provides a platform for kids to develop a foundational understanding of science while having fun!

Setting up a home science lab for kids is easy! However, you will need a variety of things to get started. Let’s keep it as budget-friendly as possible. Grab the free checklist below to help you plan your space and purchases. Our goal is to create an easy-to-use science lab that allows your kiddos the freedom to explore and experiment without too many limitations.

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How to Make a Home Science Lab

Here is a quick overview on the main components of setting up a home science lab and getting started with appropriate home science projects!

Setting up a home science lab for young kids that is easy to use and doesn’t take up a ton of space can be a fun and educational project. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a simple and effective science lab:

1. Choose a Suitable Space: Select a well-ventilated and well-lit area in your home, such as a corner of a room or a dedicated table. Make sure it’s easily accessible and safe for kids to work in.

2. Safety First: Safety is paramount. Make sure to provide proper supervision, especially when kids are conducting experiments involving potentially hazardous materials. Safety goggles, aprons, and gloves are recommended for certain experiments.

3. Basic Equipment and Supplies: Gather essential supplies that are safe and age-appropriate. Continue reading for basic supply suggestions below.

4. Choose Simple Experiments: Select experiments that are safe, age-appropriate, and easy to conduct at home. Focus on hands-on activities that encourage observation, exploration, and critical thinking. Some ideas include:

  • Making slime
  • Bubble Science
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcanoes
  • Investigating buoyancy with various objects
  • Growing crystals
  • Playing with Magnets
  • Observing plant growth
  • Building simple circuits
  • Studying static electricity
  • Exploring Simple Machines
  • Kitchen Science Experiments

5. Organize and Label: Use clear containers and label them with the names of the materials inside. This will help keep the lab organized and make it easier for kids to find what they need.

6. Documentation: Encourage kids to keep a science journal to record their observations, hypotheses, and results. This helps develop their scientific thinking and documentation skills.

7. Clean-Up and Storage: Teach kids the importance of cleaning up after each experiment. Provide a designated area for washing hands and disposing of waste properly. Store chemicals and materials safely out of reach when not in use.

8. Adult Supervision: Always supervise kids during experiments. Explain safety guidelines and procedures, and be ready to assist if needed.

Remember that the goal is to foster a love for science, exploration, and learning. Keep the lab simple, flexible, and adaptable to the interests and abilities of your kids. Over time, you can add more equipment and materials as their curiosity and skills grow.

Consider Kids’ Ages

There are a few essential things to consider when you decide to start this project! The most important thing is to set up a science lab appropriate for the age of the kids that will be using it!

*NOTE: No hazardous chemicals are used in this article on how to set up a home science lab for kids. Taste safe, kitchen pantry supplies are all that is needed.

Adults should always supervise using any other materials when making slimes or performing chemical reactions that require ingredients, such as borax powder, liquid starch, or hydrogen peroxide.*

Different age groups will need more or less supervision, are more or less capable of handling materials on their own, and will need more or less help when doing experiments.

So the space you choose for setting up a kid’s science lab is one you feel comfortable with if your kids need to be left alone for a few minutes or longer.

If you don’t have a space to dedicate to a science lab, consider an easy-to-reach cupboard near a good kitchen counter area or table!

Start a Science Journal!

Use the free printable science process and journal sheets to create a science journal and hang the posters on the wall!

Usable or Functional Home Science Lab Space

So we talked a little bit about the space available and how it’s partially dependent on the age of the kids using it. Since my son is 7, I will go with this age group. He is old enough to be independent and only needs an occasional hand to help with something.

He has many of his own ideas but also loves when we have something interesting planned. Because of all the easy science activities we have done together, he is used to the ingredients and science tools we use. He can clean up his spills for the most part, and he is respectful of his surroundings.

It’s essential for you to gauge the following for your own kiddos.

  • How well can they open and close containers?
  • How well can they pour liquids or solids without assistance?
  • How well can they clean up a small spill or put away items they’ve taken out?
  • How well can they handle a start-to-finish project?
  • How long does a project hold their attention?

Whether you have an extra corner in the kitchen, a playroom or office, or the basement, you don’t need a whole lot of space. What you do need is the actual science table!

A folding table or a desk is perfect. I picked up a smaller wooden desk, painted white, on our local swap site for $10, and it’s been perfect. However, it’s just as natural to use the kitchen counter!

A few other things to consider are lighting, windows, and ventilation. Good lighting is essential for a young scientist. Being by a window or in a room with a window also allows for ventilation if needed. A window is also great for adding seed science experiments to the mix.

Basic Science Tools

When you are learning how to set up a science lab for kids, you need a few good science tools or equipment to have handy. Even the most straightforward scientific instruments make a young kiddo feel like a real scientist. READ: Best Kids’ Science Tools 👇 for some great suggestions and free posters to hang on the wall.

  • Safety Equipment:
    • Safety goggles: To protect eyes during experiments involving chemicals or potential splashes.
    • Lab coats or aprons: To protect clothing from spills and splatters.
    • Disposable gloves: For handling materials that could irritate the skin.
    • First aid kit: In case of minor accidents or injuries.
  • Basic Laboratory Glassware: Note you can buy plastic variations of these too.
    • Beakers: For mixing and measuring liquids.
    • Test tubes: Great for small-scale reactions and observations.
    • Graduated cylinders: Precise measurement of liquids.
    • Petri dishes: For growing microorganisms or observing small specimens.
  • Measuring Tools:
    • Measuring spoons and cups: For accurate measurement of dry materials.
    • Digital scale: Useful for measuring mass and weight.
  • Tools for Observations:
    • Magnifying glass: For close-up examination of small objects.
    • Microscope: Allows for detailed observation of microscopic specimens.
  • pH Testing and Color Indicators:
    • pH test strips: To measure the acidity or alkalinity of liquids. See our Cabbage PH.
    • Universal indicator solution: Provides a broader range of pH testing.
  • Thermometers:
    • Digital or analog thermometers: For measuring temperature changes.
  • Electrical Components:
    • Batteries, wires, and bulbs: To build simple electrical circuits. See our Lemon Battery.
  • Basic Chemistry Supplies:
  • Miscellaneous Supplies:
    • Pipettes or droppers: For transferring small amounts of liquids.
    • Funnel: Useful for pouring liquids without spilling.
    • Safety scissors: For cutting paper or materials safely.
    • Clear tape: For securing materials and creating simple experiments.
    • Craft materials: Colored paper, markers, glue, etc., for creative projects.

Remember that the tools and supplies you choose should be appropriate for the age and skill level of the kids using the lab. Always prioritize safety and proper supervision! As kids’ interests and understanding of science grow, you can gradually expand and enhance your home science lab with more advanced tools and equipment.

Free printable science supplies list!

Adult Supervision

We love to make slime and grow crystals and try out thermogenic reactions, density layer experiments, and other neat experiments.

I prefer to keep the ingredients necessary for these experiments out of the science lab. They include liquid starch, borax, hydrogen peroxide, yeast, and rubbing alcohol. Sometimes we will use lemon juice, but that stays in the fridge.

Free Printable Science Worksheets for Kids

We have a ton of free printable science worksheets for preschool to middle school! Add them all to your home science lab and combine them with hands-on exploration.

STEM Materials

First, what is STEM? STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. It includes the engineering design process. You’ll also find great resources such as STEM book choices, vocabulary lists, and best practices to start with STEM right here.

Other materials to consider including in your home science lab are many items we use in our STEM activities like balloons, recycled items, styrofoam, toothpicks-great for building structures, cookie cutters, coffee filters, and so much more.

Check out our Jr. Engineers Challenge Calendar for more fun things to build.

Home Science Lab Clean Up

Now as careful as my son is, spills, overflows, and eruptions are going to happen, and the potential for small messes to large messes is there.

This is certainly something to keep in mind when choosing a space! You can quickly put a dollar store shower curtain under the table or workspace to catch spills. Rinse and reuse! A dollar store mini broom and dustpan are a great addition too.

Make sure to stress the importance of putting materials back where they were taken from, wiping up surface areas, and washing hands! Creating a dedicated space for science tools and materials will help your kids better understand the clean-up process.

More Home Science Experiments By Grade Level

We have compiled a few great resources {listed below} of science projects you can browse through. Pick out one or two for the week and give them a try! Our weekly emails feature new science experiments as well. Join us here.

Otherwise, you can always set up a potion mixing activity, color mixing play, magnet tray, or collect nature and rock samples to examine. My son enjoys the classic baking soda and vinegar any day!

Printable Science Resources

SCIENCE VOCABULARY

It is never too early to introduce some fantastic science words to kids. Get kids started with a printable science vocabulary word list. You will want to incorporate these simple terms into your next science lesson! Also, check out these free science worksheets

WHAT IS A SCIENTIST

Think like a scientist! Act like a scientist! Scientists like you and me are also curious about the world around them. Read What Is A Scientist

SCIENCE BOOKS FOR KIDS

Sometimes the best way to introduce science concepts is through a colorfully illustrated book with characters your kids can relate to! Check out this fantastic list of science books that are teacher approved!

SCIENCE PRACTICES

A new approach to teaching science is called the Best Science Practices. These eight science and engineering practices are less structured and allow for a more free**-**flowing approach to problem-solving and finding answers to questions.

Printable Science Projects For Kids

This is perfect to add to your home science lab!

If you’re looking to grab all of our printable science projects in one convenient place plus exclusive worksheets and bonuses like a STEAM Project pack, our Science Project Pack is what you need! Over 300+ Pages!

  • 90+ classic science activities with journal pages, supply lists, set up and process, and science information. NEW! Activity-specific observation pages!
  • Best science practices posters and our original science method process folders for extra alternatives!
  • Be a Collector activities pack introduces kids to the world of making collections through the eyes of a scientist. What will they collect first?
  • Know the Words Science vocabulary pack includes flashcards, crosswords, and word searches that illuminate keywords in the experiments!
  • My science journal writing prompts explore what it means to be a scientist!!
  • Bonus STEAM Project Pack: Art meets science with doable projects!
  • Bonus Quick Grab Packs for Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics
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