Chemistry is a subject we all dreaded in school, but move away from the theoretical equations and take a different view of things, and you will be amazed at how interesting it can be. There are no periodic tables to learn or conversions to understand in home-based chemistry, because all you need are the things around your home to setup some interesting experiments that will keep you busy and always looking for something more.
When you look at chemistry as a hobby, it becomes something more than just a hobby - it's almost like magic, in a way. Watching chemical reactions unfold in front of your eyes is quite interesting, even if it is just the changing colour of a strip of litmus paper. A great way to spend some time with your kids or even for young children to spend time with their friends, picking up chemistry as a hobby is as simple as it is diverse.
Get your Chemistry Kit
There are plenty of hobby stores that carry home-chemistry kits. These are kits that come with things like test tubes, beakers, flasks, test tube holders, glass and vinyl tubes as well as pipettes and stirring rods. All the test tubes, flasks, etc. are made of glass so that you can heat them over a Bunsen burner, if required. The burner, in most cases, has to be bought separately, but for very young children, it isn't recommended. You can, however, get one and show young children how to use it, instead of letting them handle it themselves.
Safety equipment is a must - you need your lab coat/apron and goggles! They aren't meant to make you look cool - they are there to ensure that you don't drop anything on you that can cause you or your clothes any kind of damage. There are some advanced kits that come with a lot more, in terms of equipment, while some even give you a few basic chemicals like Acetic Acid, Magnesium Sulphate, Sodium Sulphate and so on. These are chemicals that kids above, say, 12-years of age can handle. They are likely to be working with these in school too, so there shouldn't be any problem.
You can also find some specific chemistry kits that are related to the curriculum under various school programmes. These are designed to help your child understand what is happening at school, better, by practicing it at home as well. These kits are about one thing - education, and they come with specific chemicals and equipment that children are likely to encounter at that age, in their classrooms.
Using Things from Home
The best part about a hobby involving chemistry is that you can do so much with the things that lie around your home. You can pick up anything like a bottle of glue, add some water to it, add a bit of borax powder to the mix and you'll have your very own bowl of home-made slime! It's just like the kind you see in movies - and you can add your own colours to it and it's all set to go.
Then there's the mentos-diet soda fountain that we all love! Take an empty plastic bottle, cut out the bottom and jam it in with mentos-candy. Put a card under its mouth so the candy doesn't fall out, and invert it over the open diet-soda bottle. Remove the card, let the candy fall into the soda and watch your fountain hit the skies! All you needed was diet-soda, mentos and a bottle or two. If you don't have diet soda, use regular soda - the only difference is that the fountain will be sticky. If you don't have mentos, use M&Ms or Skittles, and you are going to get the same thing going.
From making invisible ink with baking soda to cleaning up old rusted or dirty coins, everything can be done at home, using things that are easily available. Even if they aren't in your home at the moment, everything you need can be bought from a local store, is completely safe and easy to handle, so even your children can do it on their own. Encouraging the habit of learning chemistry through such equipment allows them to enjoy the subject and learn a lot more about it than they would from learning the periodic table.
Get your children to start playing at home with chemistry, and they will never get bored every again. There are just so many things to do and so many things to try, that they can find something new to do every single day. During the summer holidays, when kids are restless, they can use these experiments to burn off their energy as well as find a useful way to learn something while they are at it. There are so many books and websites in the market that will help you understand what to do and why, what happens, happens!
Get your kids involved in home-chemistry and give them fun and education through a well-rounded hobby!