Science Open House (@YourHouse)

Science student and kid build a model virus

We are missing our annual on-campus extravaganza of hands-on science discovery for kids, but we've created these activities so that you can have some fun exploring science at home. The "Activities" below are guides for you to do an experiment at home, while the "Videos" vary: some are show-and-tell, some are demos, and most lead you through an experiment you can do yourself. Enjoy!

We would love to share this experience with you! Take a pic and tag @WaterlooSci on Instagram or Twitter.


  • Mud, beautiful mud: A Winogradsky column shows how different bacteria live in different mud environments. Make your own!
  • Now you see it... Use your home LCD screen to discover the colourful surprises that light polarization can hide!
  • Invisible H₂O: The hidden water consumption behind our daily lives. Take this quiz from the Ecohydrology Research group to see if you know all the sneaky ways your family can reduce water use!
  • The Width of a Hair. Do you have a laser pointer? This experiment allows you to measure the width of a hair using light interference!
  • Colourful Cabbage. Kitchen Chemistry! Follow these instructions to make a pH indicator from red cabbage juice. Test all the liquids you can find for colourful results! (to see other indicators used in the lab, see this video Sue made for her current Chem students)
  • Backyard Weather Station. Engineering Science Quest's Amy and Christina help you design and build your own backyard weather station!


Activity: Alex teaches you how to extract DNA from a banana, with some banana shenanigans thrown in for good measure.

>> Further instructions

Activity: Change potential energy to kinetic in this easy but entertaining activity. Can you keep out of the grasshopper's way?

Activity: Lilian (and her puppy assistant) help you discover density through making a colourful column of liquids. Safety warning: isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol required, supervise use by children to ensure they avoid eye contact and do not ingest.
Activity: Conduct an eggcellent experiment with Emily to watch osmosis in action. This experiment runs over a few days, but is worth the patience!
Activity: We all need more music in our lives! Heather explains the physics behind kazoos and helps you make your own.
Information: What do pharmacists do? Learn from our current Pharmacy students about a pharmacist's responsibilities, and what makes them good at their job.
Information: Some of our Ontario bats travel a LONG way. Join Hannah and Lucas to learn how they use bat detectors to find bats' trip "stopovers", and hear an actual bat signal!
Activity: Cailyn discusses what makes a molecule "polar" and how polar molecules do, or don't interact with other molecules (solubility), then shows you how to make fireworks in a jar!
Demonstration: Jessa demonstrates chemiluminescence with a spectacular phosphorus "sun", and reviews the surprising origins of this reaction (hint: they're icky) and a planetary connection.
Activity: A cooking show with a microbiology twist! Sarah guides you through the surprisingly simple process of making sauerkraut and explains how fermentation occurs.

>> How to Make Sauerkraut Instructions

Activity/Information: ​​​​​​​Corina invites you to go on a local fossil hunt with a print-out fossil cheat sheet from the Earth Sciences Museum - do your playgrounds and trails contain hidden ancient surprises?

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