Get Kids Excited About Forensic Science With These Fun Experiments

Forensic science is a wide, exciting field that helps experts solve crimes. With the help of a few fun science experiments, you can pique your child’s interest in this important application of science.

Mess-Free Fingerprinting Forensic Science Experiment

When it comes to forensic science activities for kids, fingerprinting is a fun choice. With ink, however, it can get messy fast. Ditch the ink in favor of pencils and balloons. Have your children color in five one-inch squares on a white piece of paper with a pencil. They will press one finger into each square. Blow up a balloon, and then press it into the fingerprint. Once the prints are on the balloon, blow it up a little larger. Your kids will see the fingerprints grow. What differences do your kids see among the prints? Use this as an opportunity to talk about the three main types of prints: whorls, loops and arches.

Fingerprint Hunting

For more forensics fun, get your kids searching for fingerprints. Some fingerprints, called latent prints, cannot be seen with the naked eye. Ask your kids on which surfaces fingerprints might be hidden. For light surfaces, sprinkle cocoa powder where they suspect there’s a print. For dark ones, use talcum powder. Your kids can then lightly brush away the powder with a makeup brush and pick up the print with a piece of clear tape. Place the tape on a light or dark piece of paper, opposite of the powder’s shade. Can they compare these prints to the prints made in the previous activity?

Investigate a “Crime Scene”

Pretend a room in your home is a crime scene. Tape it off. Let your kids explore the room while collecting “evidence” in bags and taking pictures. Evidence could be half-eaten chips, candy bar wrappers, fingerprints or the location of the television remote. Allow your kids to determine who was in the room the night before and what they were doing there. Want something closer to a real-life crime scene investigation? If you’re in or around Las Vegas and looking for things to do with your kids, you’re in luck. CSI: The Experience offers kids exhibits in Las Vegas where your children can put their newly learned forensic skills to the test.

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