Preschool Science Experiments

Fun experiments that will encourage your child's curiosity

Got a budding Sir Isaac Newton on your hands? Wondering if your child may be a future Albert Einstein? Thanks to their never-quenched curiosity, preschoolers and science go hand in hand. To encourage that inquisitiveness, try some of these preschool science activities -- fun experiments that will help give your child a greater understanding of how the world works. Will you get messy? Possibly, but that is half the fun!

What Dissolves in Water?

Tap Water
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Take a few glasses of room-temperature water and place them side by side. (Glass or clear plastic works best.) Add table salt to one glass, sugar to another and vegetable oil to the last one. Have your preschooler mix each one. What happens to the things she added to the water? Have your child taste the salt and sugar water. Even though she can't see the salt or the sugar, it is still there. What about the water with the oil? Explain that water and oil are two substances that are immiscible -- they cannot mix together.

Invisible Ink

use lemon juice to make invisible ink
use lemon juice to make invisible ink. adameret©/stock.xchng

Let your preschooler draw or write letters on white paper (copy or printer paper works best) using lemon juice and a small paintbrush or cotton swab. After the "ink" has dried, have an adult hold the paper up to a lightbulb. The invisible artwork will soon appear!

Milk Painting

Glass and bottle of milk
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This one adds art to the mix. Gather together milk, food coloring, dish soap, toothpicks and shallow dishes (so much fun you'll want to do it more than once!). Pour the milk into the dish, adding a few drops of (different) food color. Dip the toothpick into the soap and then have your little one swirl the milk and colors together. The results are a riot of colors that you'll want to take pictures of. Unfortunately (aside from your photographs), the artwork can't be saved, but it's a fun experiment that yields different results every time.

Super Salt!

Close up of salt shakers on counter
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Put a single cube of ice in a glass filled with water. Cut a piece of string and have your preschooler hold it to the ice in an attempt to pick it up. (He won't be able to.) Remove the string and have your preschooler shake some salt over the ice. Count to 10 and have him try again. What happens? Explain that the salt melted the ice just enough so the water could adhere to the string.

The Sun as Artist

invisible ink on paper
invisible ink on paper. didas©/stock.xchng

This one takes a little while but the payoff is good. You'll need a sunny room with a window, dark construction paper, and everyday items from around the house that make fun shapes -- coffee cans, picture frames, buttons, cups, etc. Position the items on the page and then leave the paper in the sun for a few hours. After time has passed, remove the items and check out has the sun has faded the paper, leaving the covered spaces dark. Sun-created artwork!

Paper Towel Climbers

Roll of white paper towels.
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Another great one with simple at-home supplies. Gather together food coloring (two primary colors are best), three clear plastic cups and a roll of absorbent paper towels (the thicker the better). Line the cups up, three in a row, and then fill the outside two with water and different colored food coloring. For both outside cups, roll up a paper towel and place one side in the colored water and the other in the empty cup. Watch as the colored water travels up the paper towel in the first cup and down it into the empty one. As the colored water in both cups meets in the empty cup, they will combine, making a brand new color!

Dancing Raisins

make raisins dance in this fun science experiment for preschoolers
make raisins dance in this fun science experiment for preschoolers. mado0xx©/stock.xchng

Get a tall, clear glass and pour in some fresh club soda (if it is flat, this activity won't work). Drop a raisin or two into the glass, wait about 30 seconds and see what happens (the raisins should dance -- move up and down the glass).

What Is it?

Plain brown and white paper carrier bags, folded flat, front view.
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Without your preschooler seeing, fill a large bag with common household items. Let your little one reach into the bag (without looking) and see if she can guess what she pulled out just by feeling what it is.

Items could include:

  • a ball
  • a key
  • a towel
  • a toy car
  • a piece of string
  • a button

Laws of Attraction

Father looking at daughter's artwork on refrigerator
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Pull a few magnets off of your refrigerator and gather together some common household items -- a paper clip, coins, a wire, a rock, a spoon and anything else that you might find. Let your preschooler play with the items -- what does the magnet pick up? What won't it pick up? What happens when you touch the ends of the magnets to each other? Flip them around -- what happens then?