Teach students about the importance of wearing sunscreen! This science experiment for kids demonstrates how sunscreen counteracts, or blocks, the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.


  • Black construction paper
  • Sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
  • A sunny day


  • Fold the paper in half.
  • Allow students to use their fingers to smear sunscreen on one side of the paper. Leave the other side alone.     
  • Place the paper in a sunny spot and leave it there for a few hours.
  • After a few hours, observe the paper. What happened to the side without sunscreen? Did the paper’s color change or stay the same? How is the side with sunscreen different from the side without sunscreen?

More to do:

  • Discuss other ways students can protect themselves from the sun’s harmful effects. Some ideas are broad-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts or sitting in the shade.
  • Help students identify areas of the body that requires sunscreen. Don’t forget to mention the less obvious areas, such as necks, tops of feet and tops of ears.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/parents/sid/activities/sunblock-investigation/