Looking for preschool science experiments that are super easy and fun? Look no further… these seven activities for young kids will have the littlest of learners excited in no time.
Scientific projections and hypotheses have become quite the hot topic at our dinner table. I found that introducing one new science experiment seeds the ideas for several more. And trust me, I’m not the one that brings the ideas anymore. We are on a science roll of discovery!
Over the last two weeks we have tried and tested many science experiments, and these are our favourite for preschool aged kids. And they are absolutely easy and fun! In fact, you’ll probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. Also, during the process be sure to ask you child lots of questions, and get them really thinking.
The See-Through Bouncy Egg
This idea was initiated by Boo! She is our preschool aged daughter, who LOVES experiments and who had seen this one on YouTube and just HAD to try it.
You will need: Bowl, vinegar, and an egg (obviously).
- Put the vinegar into the bowl
- Add the egg, making sure it is completely covered in vinegar
- Wait 24 hours
- Check and rinse under the tap – gently rub the surface of the egg and watch the white or brown of the shell begin to wash away
- Return to the vinegar if any of the shell is still visible and leave for a further 24 hours
- When the shell has completely dissolved your egg is ready to bounce
Warning: If bouncing from very high… it will burst. As we discovered!
Questions: This experiment is super easy for a young preschool child to be involved in. It also creates great discussion points for young children. Such as, what happened to the shell? What made the shell dissolve? What can we see inside the egg? How is the egg able to bounce?
The Volcano – A Preschool Fav
I’m sure you’ve already come across this one. This is one of the most common experiments in preschool… every teacher knows it and loves it! Maybe you haven’t seen it yet if your child hasn’t been to preschool yet. But even if you have tried it, there are so many different ways to change it up. And to be honest, even bigger kids love this experiment.
You will need: Vinegar, baking soda, dishwashing liquid, food dye (optional), cup and spoon, and a volcano. Easy right!
Don’t stress about the volcano if you don’t have one lying around. You can make it with play dough (see here for the best play dough recipe in town), papier-mâché, sand, dirt… be as creative as you like.
- Put vinegar into cup
- Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid
- Add the food dye
- Place the cup into the top of your volcano
- Drop a teaspoonful of baking soda into the cup of vinegar
- Stand back and watch, repeating with more baking soda as you like
Questions: You might like to ask your child what is happening when the soda is added? Can you tell me about what an eruption is? Have you seen a volcano? We explored Nat Geo Kids to find out more volcano facts after this experiment.
The Exploding Bag
You will need: Zip lock bag, vinegar, baking soda, and a paper towel.
- In a zip lock bag add a cup of vinegar
- Put a tablespoon of baking soda on the paper towel and wrap it up to create a parcel
- Carefully put the soda parcel into the ziplock bag BUT do not let it touch the vinegar yet
- Zip the bag up really well
- Let the soda parcel drop into the vinegar
- Give it a really good shake
- Then put it down and stand back!
Questions: What is making the bag grow or get tight? If we used a bigger or smaller bag, would that change the result? What happens if we tried putting in more or less soda?
The Crystal Stick
You will need: Sugar, water, saucepan, wooden popsicle stick, colour and flavour (optional), glass jar, pegs, cloth.
- Put two cups of water and four cups of sugar into a saucepan and stir over low heat until completely dissolved
- Add food colour and flavour (we used rose water)
- Pour the sugar syrup into the jar – taking care at this point
- Put the popsicle stick into the jar and hold in place with pegs so that it doesn’t touch the edges of the jar
- Cover with a cloth and leave until crystals are forming on the stick (this took days for us)
- Eat (then brush teeth!)
Questions: Why does the sugar dissolve? What is a crystal and how does it grow? If we left it longer, would the crystal get bigger or smaller? What would happen if put it back over heat?
The Jet Boat
You will need: Thin cardboard, water, large basin, dishwashing liquid, scissors and a finger!
- Cut a boat shape out of the thin cardboard (this is great for fine motor development)
- Fill the basin with water
- Float the boat on the water
- Dip finger in dishwashing liquid
- Dip finger in the basin of water and watch the boat jet away from the soapy finger
Questions: How fast do you think it will go? Why does the soap make the boat move? What will happen if we use more or less soap? What happens if we use different kinds of soap?
The Growing Balloon
You will need: A balloon, yeast or popping candy with soft drink, or vinegar with baking soda, and a bottle of some kind. We have tried all of these and each gives a different result. So try one, or try them all to make a comparison of results.
- Put yeast and water in a bottle, or soft drink and popping candy in a bottle, or vinegar and baking soda in a bottle. Make sure the bottle is mostly full for best results.
- Add the deflated balloon to the top of the bottle.
- Stand back and watch to see what happens next.
Questions: What makes the balloon grow? If doing a comparison experiment… which balloon will grow the fastest? What happens over time to the balloon? If we leave it longer what will happen?
You will need: A ballon, a drinking straw, a long piece of string or wool, and sticky tape.
- Thread the string through the straw
- Tie the string tight at opposite ends of the room or space that you are using – make sure the string does not droop in the middle
- Blow the balloon up but do not tie the end
- Holding the balloon under the straw, secure the two together with a single piece of tape
- Let the end of the balloon go and watch it fly across the room
Questions: What will happen if we blow the balloon bigger or smaller? If we make the string longer will the balloon reach the end? What makes the balloon move? Does the balloon move the way a rocket or space shuttle moves?
Final Tips to Questioning
When introducing science experiments to preschool aged children it is important to let them independently think of answers to the experiments. This is because, critical thinking is a great skill which we need to facilitate experiences for everyday.
These types of activities will support skills such as critical thinking within your child! By posing the questions and listening to a child’s thoughts and interpretations we can get a great understanding of ‘where they are at.’ This will help us develop further activities and experiences that can be planned or individually tailored (you could say) to your child. After all meaningful learning is the best way for a preschooler to learn.
I love a good I wonder question! Try posing an “I wonder… ” question to yourself, out loud. Just leave it out there for a while and see how your child responds. Their reply is normally a great indication as to what they are thinking and what ‘understandings’ they are developing.
If you have any questions about any of these preschool science experiments leave a message below. If you love them and want more then let me know!
Alyson Long says
This is a great post!I was a professional scientist in hospital medicine. I did all this and more with my own kids when they were younger. They’ve recently started school as older teens ( because of lockdown boredom – an online school) and guess what, they’re not “behind” in any way at all. Never going to school has been a complete success and worked in their favour. They’ve entered the classroom arena fresh, keen and totally ready to grow their learning. Great photos too!
Sharon Ward says
Thanks Alyson… this is reassuring to hear from a scientist! It sounds as though your children had a solid education despite their not going through the school ‘system.’ I think this is the beauty of homeschool/worldschool… children develop an intrinsic motivation to grow their OWN learning, as your kids are right now. They have a strong disposition towards curiosity. I love this ?
Great post! They sound very cool!
Great post! I love these experiments, know a couple already, but also found new ones. I don’t have kids, but I would like to try these experiments myself. 🙂
Sharon Ward says
I won’t lie… I think I enjoyed them as much as my girls ?