When we think of science, we always think about complicated experiments that are beyond the grasps of toddlers and preschoolers. However, there are many simple and fun science activities your preschoolers can try.
We all know that preschool age is a time when children are more open-minded and inquisitive – two characteristics perfect for budding young scientists. They may not fully understand the whole concept of science, but they can start building concepts and basic ideas through these cool science activities.
DIY Lava Lamp
This experiment is ideal for preschoolers to learn about mixing colors. Lava lamps are simple to make and your kids will definitely love them. You will need vegetable oil(or any clear oil), food coloring, water, Alka-Seltzer tablets, and clear containers (the skinnier and taller, the better). Once you have gathered all the materials, start filling up the containers with 2 parts oil, 1 part water (do not fill it up to the top). Drop in a bit of food coloring and add the Alka-Seltzer tablet (start with a quarter or half a tablet). Watch the mixture fizz and bubble up to the top. The more colors you have, the more fun it will be. Let your child play with different color combinations.
Oil and Water Science Exploration
With supplies you already have at home, this science experiment is simple to make. All you need is baby oil or vegetable oil, food coloring or washable liquid watercolors, and droppers or pipettes.
This is almost the same as the lava lamp project without the fizz and bubbles. Put the watercolors or food coloring in cups filled with water. Place a dropper or pipette in each glass and add oil to the mixture.
Watch your kids enjoy exploring how water and oil do not mix well. You do not need to explain the full logic behind this experiment, but this is a great way to start teaching them how two liquids react when mixed together.
Cloud and Rain Project
In this experiment, you will need cotton balls, a strainer/steamer basket, a dropper, water, and blue food coloring (just an option for that blue sky effect).
Start by placing the strainer on top of a clear bowl, vase, or jar. Then fill the strainer with cotton balls and add water to the container. Add a few drops of blue food coloring.
Let your child fill the dropper with water and squirt it on the cotton balls. Repeat the process until the cotton balls (clouds) are so full that water starts dripping.
This project allows your preschooler to understand the concept of when the clouds are filled with water and how it eventually falls to the ground as rain. Playing with the dropper and squeezing cotton balls is also an ideal way for them to practice their motor skills.
Air Pressure Experiment
Explaining to a preschooler the concept of air pressure can be tricky. At their young age, they may have difficulties grasping the thought that spaces are filled with air, and can move objects or have force. This project is a great way to visually demonstrate to them this concept. They will be able to feel the air on their skin and see how it can move objects around it.
Place two sponges on top of each other inside a zip lock bag. Insert a straw in between – make sure one end is inside the zip lock and the other end is outside. Seal the bag. You may need to use an adhesive to prevent the bag from bursting. Place a pom-pom on a flat surface and watch how air blows the pom-pom away. For more pressure, you can let your child blow on the bag and fill it up with air.
Experiment with different objects and let your child observe how air affects the movement of each item.
This activity will introduce weather and help your child learn about the concept of tornadoes. All you need for this project are two empty bottles, water, glue, and duct tape. Fill one of the bottles (ideally, use 2 one-liter soda bottles). Add a drop of food coloring to the water and hot glue the openings of the soda bottles together. For added security, wrap the center with duct tape.
Flip the bottle with water on top and shake it in a circular motion to watch the tornado in action. Let your child observe how the water drains into the empty bottle below.
Cleaning Pennies with Vinegar
Pennies are made of copper and when it reacts with oxygen in the air, copper oxide forms which gives pennies a dark color. This simple chemistry project lets your child understand that chemical reactions are different from physical changes. Grab a few old pennies and let your child wash the dirt off with soap and water first. Then on another plate, sprinkle salt on top of each penny and coat them with vinegar. Rub the pennies again with a bit of salt. Your child will be amazed by how shiny the pennies become.
This will make them understand how the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the copper in the pennies and dissolves them, washing away all the dirt.
Use old tubes to let your child explore with gravity. Let them run a tractor or toy car from end to end. And to make the car go faster, raise the tube higher. See how amazed they will be with how gravity affects the movements of the objects. They can go as high as they can and compare what happens each time.
Teaching your preschoolers about the concept of science starts by making them think it is super fun and cool. Let them experiment with these fun science activities. Learning is all about trying, testing and observing what happens. And if mistakes happen, let that be a learning opportunity.
Looking for more interesting and educational activities for your preschooler, please visit Akers Academy.