Help children develop a love for science, or nurture their already-growing interest, with these simple experiments you can do during the Christmas break.

Cloud Maker

Ever wanted to catch a cloud in a bottle? Now’s your chance! Pour just a splash of water into a 2-litre plastic bottle. Light a match (a grownup’s job) and drop it into the bottle. Immediately replace the lid and squeeze the bottle a few times to watch your cloud form.

Magic Flowers

Create your own unique flowers with this neat trick. Fill a vase with water and 8-10 drops of food colouring. Cut the stem of a white carnation at a diagonal, and place the flower into the vase. After a few hours you will notice a slight change of colour in the petals. Let the flower soak overnight and observe the dramatic change in the morning.

Mouth Lightning

Don’t worry–this doesn’t hurt a bit! In fact, you may want to try this at your next sleepover party. Stand in front of a mirror and turn off all of the lights. Pop a wintergreen-flavoured Life Saver into your mouth and chew. Can you believe your eyes? This “lightning” phenomenon is called triboluminescence.

To find out more about triboluminescence, visit http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/a/aa060601a.htm