Getting kids excited about science - bath fizzies with DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonian

An award-winning kids science book that will foster a love for science while having hands-on fun.

Step into my house and you’ll find surfaces littered with Ziplock bags open just enough to let the day’s latest slime creation ooze out, bottles filled with unidentifiable concoctions that contain some kind of plant matter, and everyday objects “scented” with copious layers of lotion. My girls love science. They love to experiment with different ingredients to see how they react and to proudly create their own “essential” recipes.

Sometimes, I’m all for this scientific exploration.

Other times, I wonder how long I’m expected to let something sit (bacteria multiplying by the second) while we “wait” for the reaction.

When DK offered to send us a complimentary copy of Smithsonian’s Maker Lab, an award-winning book that encourages kids to build, invent, create and discover through 28 DIY science experiments, I jumped at the chance. Crafty science projects that will work and teach the girls a little bit about the science behind them? What could be cooler?

A kids science book that doesn’t make them say booooooring

When the book came in the mail, we eagerly flipped through, oohing and ahhing at all of the different projects. From sugar crystal lollipops and sensational speakers to soap-powered boats and a jungle in a bottle, we didn’t know where to begin.

Ultimately, we decided to start with a project that seemed to have our names written all over it: BATH FIZZIES!

Most of the ingredients are things we tend to have on hand: baking soda, olive oil, food coloring, and essential oils (I’m no expert, but we’ve been happy with both Aura Cacia and NOW). The one thing we didn’t have was a full cup’s worth of cream of tartar. Since the stuff can be a little pricey, I ordered a big bottle on Amazon, figuring I’d use the rest to make play doh if the girls didn’t want to make more bath bombs.

Once we had all of the ingredients on hand, we got to work. And by we, I mean the girls.

making bath bombs with DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonianbath bomb teamwork - DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonianbath bomb science - DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonian

While the girls worked, we talked about the acid-base reaction that happens when the bath fizzies dissolve in water. Obviously, some of this information went a little over Ellie’s head, but she understood that the cream of tartar and the baking soda react to make bubbles in the bath tub—and she thought it was really cool.

Samantha, on the other hand, wanted to know the why and the how of everything. She wanted to know more about the chemical reaction and the book answered her questions so much better than I would have been able to.

What about kids who aren’t so into science?

For kids who shudder in revulsion at the mention of the word, this is a great way to show them how science affects how everyday things work. The book is full of fun projects that will draw kids in while giving them the why and the how of what they’re doing. It sneaks in there all ninja like and leaves kids asking questions and wondering what will happen if they make slight variations.

In short, it leaves them acting like scientists.

making bath fizzies - DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonian

Once they made our bath fizzies, we waited a few days for them to dry before trying them out in the bath. The girls squealed with delight as they fizzed away in the water, impressed that they made the reaction happen.

Next time, we’ll be heavier handed with both the essential oils and the food coloring (as you can tell by the faint blue in the photo above, our bath bombs aren’t vibrant, which means the bath water only changed colors a little bit). Still, the girls are already planning to make batches for friends this holiday season.

I have a feeling the oozy Ziplock bags and murky bottles of who-knows-what will be replaced by silicone cupcake liners for at least a little while around here…

a hands-on book that will get your kids excited about science - kids science book with experiments and projects #ad

Looking for more children’s book recommendations? Find some of our family’s favorites here.

Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.