Kids are the ultimate tiny scientists, exploring and experimenting with their world every day. Their incredible minds are soaking in information all the time, so it’s only natural that hands-on, science-based activities are a winner for most little kids, even from toddler and preschool age.
And best of all, science has huge lifelong benefits for kids, helping them to build skills they’ll take with them into their adult lives. Skills like:
- Critical thinking and the ability to form their own opinion
- A drive to experiment and explore
- The ability to explain their thinking and listen to others
- Researching, decision-making and problem-solving
- Resilience, patience and perseverance
- Finding and using evidence to support their theories
- A healthy scepticism and interest in understanding the world around them
The world is filled with wonder and discovery at this age, and as parents we can ensure this sense of wonder stays with them for the rest of their lives. It’s as simple as involving them in fun ‘scientific’ activities from a young age – and here’s a few to get you started!
1. Rainbow walking water experiment
This colourful walking water science experiment is super fun and easy to do. Watch as the paper towel soaks up the colours and then mixes them before your very eyes! Head over to Fun Learning for Kids for full instructions and free printable recording sheets so the kids can record their results.
2. Invisible ink
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This surprising experiment is perfect for little kids because it doesn’t need heat applied to reveal the secret message, like some invisible inks do. It does get quite messy though, and the turmeric can stain clothes and skin, so this might need to be an outdoor activity. Head to Research Parent to find out how it’s done.
3. Crystal stars
A few simple supplies is all that’s needed to create your own beautiful crystal stars (or whatever shape you desire)! Kids will be fascinated as more and more crystals form the longer you leave it in the solution. So clever! Pop over to One Little Project to get started.
4. Rainbow rain clouds
Show the kids how clouds turn into rain with this clever experiment using water, shaving cream and a few drops of food colouring. It really is that simple! Once you’ve made it rain, head over to The Happy Housewife to find out lots more cool facts about clouds.
5. Make your own hovercraft
All you need is a balloon, an old CD, a dish soap cap and a hot glue gun to make this clever hovercraft that will amaze and delight the kids! Grab the full instructions over at Live Life & Learning.
6. Magic milk
This mesmerising colour changing milk experiment is perfect even for little kids. Watch as the dish soap and milk combine to create explosions of colour! Grab the full instructions at Little Bins for Little Hands.
7. Dinosaur dig
Grab some cornstarch, water and a few dinosaur toys and you’re all set to create your very own dino dig! This simple homemade idea only takes 5 minutes of prep to create hours of fun. Head to Fun Learning for Kids to find out how it’s done.
8. Colour changing flowers
This cool colour changing flower experiment teaches kids how a plant absorbs water up its stem to reach its petals or leaves. Watch as the brightly coloured water transforms the white flowers in just a few minutes! Check out the full instructions at Laughing Kids Learn.
9. Dancing rice
This simple twist on the baking soda and vinegar combination will have kids mesmerised as they watch the rice begin to dance in the glass! This super easy experiment teaches kids about cause and effect as well as chain reactions. Grab the full instructions at Green Kid Crafts.
10. Skittles rainbow
A packet of Skittles and a plate of water is all you need to create a funky Skittles rainbow like this one from Fun With Mama! Keep the fun going by mixing and matching colours to create different patterns and combinations. Just keep an eye on those sticky little fingers … some Skittles are sure to end up in little tummies if you’re not careful! (Or perhaps that’s half the fun?)
11. Silly glove guy
This activity is sure to get the kiddos giggling! The aim is to get the silly glove guy to stand up straight and tall. But it’s not as easy as it sounds! This cute activity was designed by a preschool teacher, grab the full instructions at The Empowered Provider.
12. Ice cream in a bag
Who knew it was so easy AND such fun to make your own ice cream in a bag? This clever trick only takes 5-10 minutes and you have a yummy, sweet ice cream treat to enjoy while you explain to your kids how salt lowers the melting point of the ice and draws heat from the ice cream in the bag. Find out how to make your own at Growing a Jeweled Rose.
For more great activities for kids of all ages, head to our Things To Do section!