Fingerprint Science Project for Kids
Whether home on a break or just bored on the weekend, there are plenty of easy-to-do science project kids can do at home. Fun science experiments can spur an interest in children who may or may not already be excited about the subject.
Learning about fingerprints and taking them is a fun experiment that also gives instant results. This project appeals to a wide variety of ages, too. For little kids, you can emphasize playing with the ink, and for older kids you can put a ‘Junior CSI' spin on the experiment.
Fingerprints Are Important
Fingerprints have been used by governments the world over for more than a hundred years and are still the most widely used form of identification.
Kids may already know about the identification use for fingerprints, but they will love to learn about the anatomical purpose of fingerprints. Without those one of a kind ridges, we wouldn't be able to grip things! Our fingerprints give our fingers the rough surface we need to create the friction that allows us to pick up a baseball or hold onto a pencil to take a test.
Kids will be interested to learn their fingerprints were on the tiny tips of their fingers long before they born, that they are 100% unique - no two people have exactly the same fingerprint. Explain how fingerprints are used to catch criminals and can also help to find lost children. Tell kids how fingerprints can leave an ‘invisible ink' of sorts that police can decode with special tools and equipment.
Fingerprints can last for years on an object if it is not cleaned after being touched. This can be observed easily on old silver. Pull out grandma's spoons or take a trip to the local flea market for a sample.
Get Those Prints
This project is more fun with a group because kids can compare fingerprints and learn from the variety.
You will only need a few household items for this experiment:
- Ink pad
- Magnifying glass
- Ink pen
Label paper with the child's name. If you don't mind a mess, let the kids take each other's prints. But if you have nice fabric close by, let a parent help. Starting with the pinky finger of the left hand, press fingers into ink then touch to the paper. (Experts roll each finger from left to right to get a more thorough print.) Let the prints dry, then observe with the magnifying glass.
There are many different patterns of fingerprints. It's interesting to note that not all fingers on a given hand will bear the same pattern.
Fingerprints Are Fun!
Who says art and science don't mix? After learning all about the form and use of fingerprints, younger kids will love to break out the colored ink and have some fun. Check out this website for adorable fingerprint art for kids to try. It's got pictures of the finished product, as well as step-by-step instructions.
More Science Resources
All you ever wanted to know about fingerprints can be found here.