Science isn't boring. It's only presented boringly. We found some great science websites for kids that will not only keep them interested, they're going to learn and start doing experiments. Heck, there's no doubt you'll get hooked too.
Another great use of these science websites is that you'll get to do some simulations that just aren't possible (or too dangerous or too expensive) to do in real life. And don't worry, there are a lot of hands-on experiments you can try, too.
Try Science is a great first stop on your science journey. There are dozens of experiments in areas such as chemistry, biology, math and engineering, many of which can be done on and offline. You can take a virtual field trip to another museum or even view some animals via live webcam. Adults will appreciate the resources for parents and teachers, too. And, of course, there are some very cool games. Try your hand at saving a planet, or live out your Star Trek dreams at Starfleet Academy.
How Stuff Works covers all sorts of interesting topics, but the science section includes space, earth science, life science and even paranormal science. Explore tornadoes, hair coloring, UFOs, radar and lunar landings. The site is geared more towards older audiences - the explanations may be too complex for younger kids - but it is a great resource for families. However, since it isn't intended for the youngest family members, parental guidance is definitely suggested on this one.
If you haven't had the chance to visit the real Exploratorium in San Francisco, it's is well worth the trip. Part science museum and part art exhibit, the Exploratorium encourages you to touch, listen, see, small and sometimes even taste the world around you. If you can't make it to San Francisco right now, you can visit the Exploratorium online. It's a fabulous and fun resource for science learning and experimentation. My favorite section is the "Accidental Scientist" area on the Explore tab. You can learn more about the science of food, including candy. If you're looking for a different kind of treat, visit the "Snacks" section on the Education tab. These are bite-sized (non-edible) science experiments you can do at home.
When I was little, I always loved those kits that allowed you to build a radio or a potato clock. This site has instructions for crafting all manner of amazing gadgets from a solar-powered marshmallow roaster to the "World's Simplest Steam Boat." Most of them seem best for high-school and above, although middle school students might enjoy them with some adult supervision. The activities typically use inexpensive materials, but you may not always have them lying around your house (i.e. copper tubing, simple electrical components, etc.). Plan ahead when using this site and you'll certainly have a lot of fun!
No list of science sites for kids would be complete without a link to Bill Nye, the Science Guy. His website helps reinforce the lessons learned on his television show with experiments, explanations and a dose of humor as well.
There are some basic chemistry projects that are perfect for kids and Anne Marie Helmenstine, About.com Guide to Chemistry, has a great list of favorites from lava-filled volcanoes to liquid nitrogen ice cream to slime. Make sure to read the directions first, as some activities will require special ingredients and/or the help of an adult.
Science News for Kids helps kids stay up-to-date on scientific trends. Written in an accessible way, the articles can help kids understand topics like the decline of the honeybee population and how police use forensics to solve crimes. The site is most appropriate for middle school and above, as many of the topics are too complex for younger children. But it's also a great way for parents to learn what's happening so they can help explain it to curious children.