Full of wonder and loaded with questions about the world around them, preschoolers are naturally inquisitive. You could say that they are predisposed to be little scientists, with a mission to understand how things work and the curiosity to investigate.
As their preschool teacher, it’s your challenge to nurture this curiosity by providing engaging science activities for preschoolers and preschool science experiments that stimulate young inquisitive minds.
Inspiring the budding young scientists in your preschool classroom can be as easy as lighting up a Bunsen burner, but without the risk of course, by following our curated preschool classroom ideas.
By introducing science activities for preschoolers into your classroom, you are offering children the chance to cultivate and hone many different skill sets, including collaboration, communication, perseverance, problem-solving and teamwork. Preschool science experiments also engage the senses, including touch, feel, sight and sound.
Here are six entertaining, informative, easy and interactive preschool science experiments that will encourage your young scholars to have fun while learning and exploring the world of science. Who knows, you could be providing the spark for the next generation’s Bill Nye the Science Guy or Professor JoAnn E. Manson?
Preschoolers typically love to wiggle and move to the rhythm of music, and they can watch one of their favorite foods boogie down with this simple but entertaining experiment that is one of the most popular science activities for preschoolers. All you need is white vinegar, baking soda, water, instant rice, and a clear jar or container. You can also spice it up by using food coloring to provide a backdrop contrast to the dancing rice. Fill the jar with water (add food coloring if you have it), add one tablespoon of baking soda and stir until thoroughly mixed. Next, add a fourth of a cup of uncooked instant rice, and a half tablespoon of vinegar. The top will fizz and then the rice will start dancing, mesmerizing your captive audience. Here’s the science: The reaction between the acid and the base is what causes the rice to dance.
MELT WITH YOU
In this next sure-to-be-a-hit from our suggested preschool science experiments, you will be able to show your class the power of sun rays in ways that young minds can easily relate to. All you’ll need is a sunny day, a muffin tin and a variety of objects that will help your students answer the question: what will melt in the sun and what won’t? Suggested items: chocolate bars, Crayons, hard candy, coins, butter, a wooden block, Lego bricks, a travel-size bar of soap. You can even let your class choose the items to test this hypothesis. Set each object into a separate pocket of the muffin tin and set it outside in direct sunlight for a couple of hours. In the meantime, have your class predict which items will melt, and which will not. You can even start a chart on the classroom whiteboard. After the allotted time, bring the pan back inside and begin the scientific discovery process. Ask the children to explain their predictions, and you can provide the scientific reasoning for why, say a Hershey’s chocolate bar will melt and why a wooden block won’t. Explaining the why, backed up by science, is an important part of these science activities for preschoolers.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SHAVING CREAM
Preschool science experiments should be fun, right? This one will have your students’ heads in the clouds. Not literally, but they are sure to be captivated by making shaving cream rain clouds. You’ll need water, food coloring, a clear cup, glass or jar, and shaving cream. Fill the vessel with water, then add a layer of shaving cream. Then add several drops of food coloring (you can use multiple colors). When the shaving cream blob, er cloud, gets too heavy with food coloring, the droplets break through and begin to descend to the bottom, just like rain falling to Earth. Explain to your class that this experiment replicates what happens when clouds get too heavy and saturated and gravity pulls the rain down.
We promised easy science activities for preschoolers and it doesn’t get any easier than this two-ingredient recipe for teaching kids about states of matter. That’s right, it’s slime time!
Unlike some slime concoctions that call for borax and more complicated ingredients, this simple plan utilizes only cornstarch and common school glue. Pour a fourth of a cup of white school glue into a bowl and add a half cup of cornstarch. Mix it well, then knead with your hands for 10 minutes. Heat it in a microwave for 20 seconds, let cool, then knead it for another 10 minutes. With slime, you can teach your little scientists about chemical reactions and more.
While planting seeds of knowledge is the aim of many preschool science experiments, this one literally involves planting seeds. You’ll need a small bag of soil, plastic cups or small planters and plant seeds. If you want to empower your class, have them bring in their own seeds. Unlike the previous preschool classroom ideas, this is an on-going experiment as your kids will track the growth of their plants over time. Have each student plant their seed in the soil, and take time every day to water the plants, and observe the growth. Seed planting teaches preschoolers about the life cycle of plants, encourages sensory exploration, and improves their appreciation for growing food.
We promise that this sixth, and last, of our suggested science activities for preschoolers is not about money laundering, but it does involve cleaning up dirty pennies, albeit with no scrubbing.
Turning a grimey, dull coin into a shiny, glistening piece of currency will delight your class, and this is also one of the easiest preschool science experiments to conduct. You will need an assortment of pennies – the grimier, the better – vinegar, table salt, water and a cup. Place the pennies in the cup, and cover them with vinegar and add two teaspoons of salt. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes and pull the coins out, wash them off in water and let your scientists inspect the results. Bring the experiment full circle by explaining that the dark tone of old pennies isn’t actually dirt, but copper oxide, a new molecule that is formed when copper binds with oxygen.
If you’re seeking more information and guidance on science activities for preschoolers and want to support your preschool science experiments with expert training, CCEI has the perfect offering. Discovering Life Science with Young Children is a two-hour course that shows early childhood professionals ways for creating opportunities for children to investigate, observe and build knowledge through hands-on activities.
For more on this course and CCEI’s entire catalog of online professional development courses, click here.