Experimentation can introduce a variety of different school subjects to the early learner both in and out of the classroom. Discovering new vocabulary words, math theories, and science concepts through hands-on activities, children will be excited to observe and investigate their curiosities with different tests and trials. Here are five fun water experiments to get your preschooler learning.
5 Water Experiments for Preschoolers
Does it Sink or Float?
Gather a variety of different items for preschoolers to test if it will sink or if it will float. A few suggestions might include a penny, a cork, a sponge, a rock, and a bouncy ball. Make a recording sheet for early learners to write down their answers. On a piece of paper make two columns. One with the chosen items to be tested and the other with the options of sink or float. As children experiment by dropping each item into the water table, they can circle the result of sink or float.
Fill a number of containers that vary in shape and size with the same amount of water in each. Add a different color of food coloring to each container to help differentiate between the containers. Preschoolers would love to be involved in squeezing drops of color into the water, so try to include them in this process. Now begin asking questions. Which has the least amount of water? Why? Which has the most amount of water? Why? Do any containers have the same amount of water? Why? After discussing the amounts of water and introducing the word volume to their vocabulary, their theories should be tested. Using a measuring cup, pour in the water of one container and write down how much is in there: 1 cup, 2 cups, etc. Continue to do the same process for each colored container. Discuss the results: All of the containers hold the same amount.
The Dissolving Test
Collect different items from the kitchen pantry to explore what happens when they are mixed into liquid. Fill a few test tubes with water, and begin to test out the different items and talk about the results. Some ingredients that may be considered include sugar, olive oil, ground cinnamon, flour, sprinkles, salt, and more. Experiment further by increasing the amount of an item that had previously dissolved. For example, sugar will dissolve in water but if there is too much sugar it will just sit at the bottom of the glass. This could lead to a brief lesson on saturation.
Solid, Liquid, Gas
Discover water in its three forms. Introduce solid ice to preschoolers and as they examine it, have them describe its temperature and texture. Take a closer look with a magnifying glass. Does it look different? Watch and wait to see what happens after time passes. Melting ice turns into liquid water. Have the children feel the water and describe it. The look has changed, but has the temperature? Finally, heat up the water and create steam, or vapor, to demonstrate water in its gas form. Children can watch and learn about the tiny water particles that create steam and then disappear. Introduce the concept of evaporation and discuss the amount of water left in the pot after the water has been boiled. Is it more, less, or the same?
The Absorption Test
What does absorb mean? And what absorbs water? Fill a container with water and gather a few items to test absorbency. Try adding a little bit of food coloring to get a better visual of absorption. Some items to consider would be a piece of paper towel, wax paper, a sponge, a celery stalk, a piece of plastic, and more. Marking each item down on a recording sheet, discuss what items preschoolers think will absorb the water and what will not. Test out their theories, write down the results, and discuss them. For those items that did not absorb the water immediately, what happens if they are left in the water for a longer amount of time?