The world is full of wonders, especially for young children. Teaching Science to your Preschooler can be an entertaining and educational experience for you both. Here are eight, easy, inexpensive and fun Springtime science experiments to do with your Preschooler that will encourage their natural curiosity and expand their understanding of the world.
Tips for Making the Most of These Experiments
Always ask your child to predict what they think will happen before you begin each experiment. You can also keep a Science Journal that details their prediction and what the actual outcome is. Your Preschooler can draw pictures of their prediction and the results in place of words. There are also many wonderful books you can find that will go along with the theme’s behind each of these experiments.
Some examples include: Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni for color mixing, A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman for the rainbow experiments, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, and many others! Have fun!
1. Playing with the Colors of the Rainbow
Children will have a blast learning how primary colors blend together to make other colors in this exciting experiment.
You will need several clear plastic cups, water, and red, blue and yellow food coloring.
Fill the first three cups with red, yellow and blue water.
Give the child an eye dropper (or medicine dropper) and let them mix the colored water into the empty cups seeing which colors combine to make other colors.
Not only will they learn how the three primary colors mix to make secondary colors, but they can play with making different shades of the colors as well.
2. Sponge Garden
This extended experiment may take a couple of weeks, but is a great way to teach children about seed growing into plants.
For this easy experiment all you need is a new, clean sponge, a plate, a packet of grass seeds, plastic wrap and a sunny window.
Soak the sponge in water and wring out until damp. Place on plate.
Sprinkle the sponge with the grass seeds, and then sprinkle water on top of that. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a sunny spot. Sprinkle with water as needed in order to keep the sponge damp. In about two weeks you will have the world’s smallest lawn!
3. April Showers Bring May Flowers
A neat experiment that lets children see how a plant absorbs water. Your child will love checking the flower daily to see what is happening!
For this simple experiment all you need is a white carnation, water, food coloring and a vase. Fill the vase with water, then let your child pick what color to make it using the food coloring. Be sure to use enough coloring so the water is pretty dark. Cut the end of the carnation’s stem at a slant, then place it in the colored water. Watch how as over time the water goes up the stem and into the petals. This would be a great opportunity to make a mini-book with your child documenting how the flower looked each day!
Another variation of this (also great for teaching color mixing) is to take a white carnation and divide the stem carefully into three sections. Place one section in clear water, one in water colored with red food dye, and one in a cup with blue colored water. Ask the children to predict what they think will happen. And then compare their predictions with what really happens.
4. Make Your Own Rainbow
Children will love creating their own rainbows with this simple science experiment.
You will need a bowl of water, a small mirror and a sunny window.
Place the mirror in the bowl of water facing up.
Place the bowl in front of a sunny window so the sun’s rays hit the mirror in the bottom of the bowl. Move it around and watch the rainbows reflect on the ceiling and walls.
5. Sun Painting and Silhouettes
This experiment is a neat way to teach children about the sun’s strength.
You will need black or dark blue sheets of construction paper, various flat objects such as a ruler, keys, or even shapes cut out from other colors of construction paper.
Place the paper with the shapes on top in direct sunlight for several hours.
Then remove the objects and show the children how the sunlight faded the paper, leaving dark silhouettes.
6. Spring Showers
This is a super cool way to teach preschoolers about the rain cycle.
You will need a sandwich size plastic bag (with a ziplock), 1/2 cup of water, ice cubes, tape and a sunny window.
Add the water to the plastic bag and explain to your children that this is the pretend puddle that will help you discover where the water goes.
Hang the bag in the sunny window using the tape, then wait and see what the sun does to the puddle.
After a few hours, look on the sides of the bag for any condensation and point it out to your child. Explain that clouds are made of little drops of water like those on the sides of the bag.
After condensation has occurred, hold some ice against the top of the bag and additional water should condense. Some of that water will drop from the top of the bag while children watch. Explain that cool air high up in the sky does the job of the ice and makes rain fall out of the real clouds just like you made “rain” fall from the pretend clouds.
7. Dancing Rainbows
Another fun way to play with mixing colors while also teaching about water tension.
You will need a shallow dish, 1 cup whole milk, red, blue and yellow food coloring and liquid dish soap.
Pour the cup of milk into the shallow dish. Add 3 drops of red food coloring to one edge of the bowl about 1/3 of the way away from the side, add 3 drops of blue food color 1/3 of the way away, and then 3 drops of yellow. Be sure not to hit or jiggle the bowl.
Now, squeeze a drop of dish soap in the center of the bowl and watch the magic begin!
8. Rainy Day Goop
This easy to make recipe will not only provide hours of fun, but is a great way to teach your preschooler all about solids and liquids. Discuss how the Goop has properties of both solids and liquids.
You will need 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch, 1 cup of water, a spoon, and a large pan or bowl.
Measure the cornstarch and water into a container and mix with a spoon. Add more water if it seems too dry, or add more cornstarch if it seems too wet.
Ask your kids to press their finger in the mixture, or try pouring it into a second dish. Poke it, slap it, grab a big handful and hold it over the bowl and see what happens!
Discuss how the new product behaves both like the liquid water and like the solid cornstarch.