What kind of Homeschool Science Supplies should you have on hand?
I would suggest that you acquire things slowly as you dive into various science units. A couple of things that we have used frequently (multiple times a year) are a dissection microscope and a molecular molecule kit. More about those below!
We love doing hands-on activities and experiments with our science units. Although I have tried to include that information in the posts I wrote along the way, I realize that as this website has gotten bigger and bigger, you might come across our science units from a number of places… from the store, from the Bundle pages (Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, Big Animal Bundle, or Human Body Systems Bundle pages), from resource pages (like the (free) science checklist page or the (free) Curriculum Resource guides – Grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8/middle school) or from the posts themselves.
You can visit this Science Unit Page if you want to check out the units we have available.
I thought I would create one page where you can see the kinds of science supplies we used in our various units. This will be a long list, so you’ll need to scroll down. I’ll try to go in the same order as you will come across things in Our Store. First Earth Science followed by Chemistry, Biology, Zoology (Big Animal Bundle), and Human Body Systems.
These materials are listed in our packets (and there are photos and detailed explanations of what we did in the packets themselves), but I wanted you to know the types of supplies we used in each unit.
Since all of our science, history, math, spelling and foreign language (German, Spanish) packets are PDF downloads, you will need to be able to print out the materials you want on hand.
This page is a work in progress (I’m starting it mid-April 2021). If you have any specific questions please feel free to email me. ~Liesl
Many of the links in this post are affiliate links.
Earth Science – Physical Science Unit Supplies
Earth Science Unit
We did a lot of hands-on activities in this unit. Mostly, we used things we had around the house (stuff to make play dough, food dye, warm water, ice, balloons, sponges). If your kids are younger you might want to do the gelatin volcano activity (you would need one envelope of plain Knox gelatin which you should be able to find in your local grocery store for $2 or $3) or a baking soda and vinegar volcano.
We did a mini-unit on the Solar System during this unit and we got a hands-on solar system kit called the 4M Solar System Planetarium that my kids really enjoyed!
Layers of the Atmosphere Unit
There were no extra supplies that we used in this unit.
Rocks and Minerals Unit
We observed (and did activities) with minerals and with rocks.
If I had to choose just one kit to purchase, I would probably get the Toysmith rock kit if I had elementary age kids and would get the Toysmith Minerals Kit with middle or high school students. My girls (ages 12 & 15) loved the minerals lab! I think the mineral lab activities make this unit especially fun for older students (but when my kids were younger, they were more interested in rocks!). My girls really enjoyed doing this National Geographic Gemstone Kit as well (even though it’s probably meant for younger kids) because we had talked in so much depth about the various minerals.
We used a dissection microscope to examine some of the rock and mineral specimens in more detail. There’s a picture of the one we use under the biology section.
Where I Live Activity Packet – My galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, and home!
We used glitter and this would be another unit where you could fit in the solar system kit if your kids were interested: 4M Solar System Planetarium
- 2 Bar Magnets
- 1 horseshoe (or U) magnet
- Donut Magnet (sometimes called Magnet Rings) We had our own set of these, but this set has some fun activity cards that your kids might enjoy (see the picture above)!
- Iron Filings
- Boy scout compass
- Very thin sewing needle
Water Cycle Unit
Nothing special is needed for this unit.
Weather Unit: Clouds, Winds & Weather Packet AND the Natural Disasters Packet
We used materials we had around the house such as balloons, a math balance, thermometer, etc. for experiments like these.
When we talked about natural disasters, we watched the documentary series, Raging Planet. My kids loved this! There is a similar series called Angry Planet on Amazon Prime that follows a storm chaser as he follows hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes and monsoons.
Environmental Studies: Trash and Recycling Unit
You may want to organize a field trip to your local dump/recycling center.
Simple Machines Unit
This is a fun, hands-on unit for early elementary students. My kids really enjoyed this unit! We used a lot of items that we had around the house like a ruler, screw driver, tongs, scissors, cardboard, paper clips, bar of ivory soap (for the wedges activity), tubing (for the activity on screws). We also had wood pieces like spools and wheels for activities on pulleys and the wheel and axle or the Melissa and Doug car kit is a great option; the Boy Scout pinewood derby kit is also an option, but takes more work.
The kids really enjoyed these books during this unit Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys (Amazing Science: Simple Machines). We did a activities on pulleys and wheels & axles.
We also read Archimedes and the Door of Science when we did our activity about Archimedes’ screw.
Energy Packet: Kinetic vs. Potential Energy, Types and Sources of Energy, Renewable and Non-renewable Resources, Fossil Fuels, the Carbon Cycle
We did not use outside supplies for this unit.
Plastic Test Tubes: We had some plastic test tubes that I got when they were little. We have used them a lot over the years. The original set I purchased came in a 4×4 set (great because I have 3 kids) which you can find here: 16 plastic test tubes. There are also some cheaper options like set with the cute bamboo test tube set with holder which can hold 6, 12 or 24 test tubes (I can’t think of any reason you would need 24) or this red plastic set of 2 test tubes.Molecular Model Kit: We also had a Molecular Model Kit on hand from the time the kids were pretty young. I am really happy I have had this on hand because we used it multiple times a year… building everything from water and carbon dioxide molecules to glucose or methane, ethane, propane, etc. (depending on what we were talking about!) We have the Molecular Model Kit for building molecules. I recommend you get one that has at least 12 (white) hydrogens, 6 (red) oxygens, and 6 or more (black) carbons — I highly recommend this kit (for any time) but especially if you do the Physical & Chemical Properties of Matter Unit and/or the Chemistry Unit.
States of Matter Packet
Corn starch, wax paper, Popsicle sticks (just one or two), empty soda bottle (1 or 2 liter plastic bottle), balloons.
Dry ice (which can be purchased in a chunk from your local grocery store. Be very careful with this and use gloves! There are a lot of fun experiments to do to show and help kids understand sublimation and deposition.
Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter Unit
We used quite a number of things that I purchased specifically for this unit. I have used these since (as my kids have gone from middle school to high school). This post has lots more detail.
This is the one we got: Molymod Chemistry Molecular Model, Teacher Set (111 atom parts). (I suggest you get this less expensive molecule kit below instead!) We used this kit ALL the time over the years… from botany to chemistry for building molecules
We read from a couple different science books including this one: Elements and Compounds, Building Blocks of Matter (not necessary, but liked this book). You can get any similar books from the library!
For density experiments:
Graduated cylinder set: We got this glass graduated cylinder set: Karter Scientific Glass Graduated Cylinder 3 Piece Set 10, 50 & 100ml
- We got the Density Cube Set but this set of 10 would work well too: Density Cube Set. I saw cheap sets, but was worried when people said the dimensions of the cubes were off. Carolina.com (a science supply company also has Density Cube sets.)
- Equal mass set (Diverse materials): There are different options available. We got this one ETA hand2mind, Equal Mass Diverse Materials Set, (41785). This set has brass, aluminum, nylon, PVC, and clear acrylic.
- We also had a scale that could measure in grams. We purchased the Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale. This kitchen scale has been perfect for our needs (and we’ve used it pretty regularly for science in the past couple of years).
Electricity and Circuits STEM Unit
We did this immediately after the properties of matter unit. It is SUCH a fun, hands-on unit, but does need quite a number of supplies:
Play-doh (for the conductive dough).
If you build an art bot, you will need a mini-motor. this mini-motor kit
Chemical Unit (Middle School)
This unit goes into a lot of detail about the periodic table. You do not need to have a chemistry background to do this unit. Answers are provided.
This unit does not really need extra supplies (though I recommend you have a Molecular Model Kit for building molecules if you don’t have one already). I will include a couple of books I used as resources (mostly for myself). We did use fruit loops for one of the activities (my kids were shocked when I pulled those out and it added to the fun!)
Do I need any specific books with this unit?
No, our notebook pages and worksheets include answer pages and teacher notes. There are several chemistry resources I’m glad I had on hand, though
Understand Basic Chemistry Concepts – I originally got the free version on my Kindle, but I liked it so much I felt I had to have the book itself! Chapters 1 and 2 are especially useful with this unit.
Chemistry Homework Helpers by Greg Curran – This is fairly advanced (and I didn’t use it with the kids), but was really useful for me as the instructor.
Glencoe Chemistry Matter and Change – Highly, highly recommend this for high school! We bought ours used. I purchased quite a number of used high school chemistry textbooks (8!! Crazy right?!!) and after going through these, the one textbook we wound up using a lot (for my high schoolers) was this textbook. It has all the answers to the practice problems in the back (not just the odd answers!). We used this A LOT when my kids covered high school chemistry, but I was glad I purchased it when my kids were in middle school so I could use it as a reference.
Human Body Units
We did a number of hands-on activities with the various human body units, but we mostly used materials that you should easily have around the house or should get locally.
We started studying various human body units when my kids were in early elementary (then each year we studied a different human body system, repeating them every few years). We did a lot of hands-on activities about the digestive system (when my kids were in early elementary). At the time, they really liked the SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body. They spent time looking over all the internal organs. This product by Smart Lab is really fun. The kids love it and it has held up well.
When we did the Digestive System they also read through What Happens to a Hamburger?
In our Skeletal System unit (when they were in elementary) my girls made their own skeleton using The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach. The other book we used quite a bit for our human body systems units was Human Anatomy Coloring Book has pages you can print out and color in.
We have a dissection microscope similar to this one that we used for many of our biology units (and other times… like during our rocks and minerals unit). What do you look for in a microscope? You want a stereo microscope (two eye pieces) with upper and lower illumination. Most microscopes will allow you to change magnification.
We have a dissection microscope similar to the one above and pulled out prepared slides of the skin of a pumpkin, a paramecium, and bacteria. The photos on Amazon show what is displayed on each slide.
Scientific Classification and Taxonomy
When we did the Scientific Classification and Taxonomy Unit, we did a number of labs. We went through Carolina Science Supply to get many of the specimens we wanted.
- We also purchased a small container of live mealworms (to watch their life cycle) from a local pet shop. Be sure not to purchase the jumbo mealworms because they have been treated with an insect growth hormone to discourage them from morphing into beetles.
- We purchased Planaria and Hydra from Carolina.com (You’ll need a microscope to observe these.)
- Carolina also has various specimens you can order if you plan to do dissections. They have dissection kits as well as various specimens (from frogs and pigs to fish and more).
- We actually purchased fish, clams and crabs from a local fish shop.
Owl Pellet Dissecting – When you do a unit on animals or on the skeletal system, this is a fabulous activity for younger kids! We always get the jumbo owl pellets and they always have a TON of bones! Grab our free owl packet here.
Helpful biology videos:
This video, Introduction to Cells, was made by a science teacher I know, Frank Gregorio:
And this video is really helpful if you plan to introduce your kids/students to the production of proteins in the ribosomes:
Here are where you can check out the various science packets we have available. You can also visit our store.
If it helps, you can click on the link below to download the FREE Printable:
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. Again, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here.
The Welcome Series includes 5 packed emails… with tips on homeschooling, keeping motivated, finding various resources and freebies tucked away on the blog and more!
Plus, you’ll be the first to hear about new packets (generally offered at a discount when they are first released), seasonal resources and more!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.