Kareena’s chemistry – episode 8: soaps and detergents


FunKids radio, in collaboration with the RSC, has produced a set of short chemistry snippets introducing children to chemistry- the what, why and how.

Type of Activity

group work, working independently



Age Group


Kareena learns about shower gels and washing detergents, including what they are and how they work.


If you teach primary science, click the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their methods and findings.
  • Selecting and planning the most appropriate ways to answer science questions, including:
    • Finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information.
    • Carrying out comparative and fair tests.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group everyday materials on the basis of their properties.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • How soaps and detergents work, in simple terms.

Suggested activity use

This resource can be used as a starter or plenary to stimulate discussion and questioning within groups of children. The recording can act as a hook into an investigation about which detergent or soap is most effective at cleaning.

Alternatively, it could be used to provide a stimulus for children to carry out their own research into soaps and detergents.

Practical considerations

Some children may find it difficult to visualise what is being said, so visual images may need to be provided alongside the activity to aid their understanding.

If the recording is being used to stimulate an investigation, then different soaps or washing up liquids and other equipment will be required.

If the activity is used as a stimulus for children to carry out research, then websites, books and other sources of information may need to be looked up before the lesson, so that children can easily access quality information.