Keep Preschoolers Entertained with these Fun and Educational Chemistry Experiments

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These are trying times, and keeping your little ones occupied and engaged in learning is a challenge with quarantines and stay-at-home orders. There’s no better way to get them excited and learning than science experiments that can be done at home, with little preparation or materials! These simple experiments are perfect for a family activity in the backyard, and the kids can even help set them up. These experiments are the perfect pairing to a reading of Let’s Learn About Chemistryas many of the concepts presented in the book appear in these activities.

Fizzy Letters

A great experiment to show your kids how vinegar and baking soda react without the need to build a giant paper-mache volcano is Fizzy Letters. All you need is some vinegar, baking soda, and some ice-cube trays. Trays in the shapes of alphabet letters or other fun shapes are ideal, but any ice cube trays will work. [1] [2] 

Just mix three parts baking soda to one part water and add Jell-O powder (a variety of flavors will make for a fun assortment of different colored letters).

Stir into a paste (add more baking soda if it’s too liquidy), and then pour into the ice cube trays. Freeze for a few hours and then the fun begins!

Pop out the frozen cubes and place in a large tupperware or other container (for the mess), and let your kids start spooning or eye-dropping vinegar onto the cubes. Your kids will love how they fizz and melt!

Lesson Learned! This activity can be used after talking about Types of Change — Chemical vs. Physical Changes.

Sticky Ice

Another great experiment for a hot summer day is the Sticky Ice experiment. For this you will need a glass of water, an ice cube, some table salt, and a piece of string.

Ask your child if they think it’s possible to lift an ice cube into the air using only a piece of string, and then show them that they can! Wet a piece of string and have them try to use it to pick up the ice by laying it across the top of the cube floating in the glass of water. It can’t be done. BUT, shake some salt over the ice cube, wait a minute, then try again. Voila! How does it work? Salt lowers the freezing point of the water, so the ice melts but then quickly refreezes. Your kids can have lots of fun freezing some of their toys to the ice using this method as well.[3] [4] [5] 

Lesson Learned! This activity explores Mixtures —  both things that mix and things that don’t mix.

The Exploding Lunch[6]  Bag

This one is better performed outside. You’ll need a zip-lock freezer bag, three teaspoons of baking soda, a quarter-cup of warm water, a half-cup of vinegar, and a tissue. Pour the warm water and vinegar into the bag, then zip up until only a small opening is left. Pour the baking soda into the tissue, wrap it up, and then quickly stuff it into the freezer bag. Step back quickly and watch it expand and explode! The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar produces CO2, which fills the bag until there’s no room left, and BANG. A crowd pleaser for sure.

Lesson Learned! This activity can be used after talking about Types of Change —  Chemical vs. Physical Changes and you can also discuss the states of matter of each part!

Beach Density Jar[7] 

A great way to teach kids about density is the Beach Density Jar. For this experiment you’ll need a tall clear jar (glass or plastic), some sand, water dyed with food coloring (blue is probably the best choice to look like ocean water), vegetable oil, shaving cream, and some beachy objects such as shells (try to get a variety of small and large), pebbles, or dried out pieces of seaweed (or any small items you have laying around). Fill the bottom of the jar with approximately two inches of sand, followed by a cup of the dyed water. Then slowly add a cup of vegetable oil. Now ask your kids to predict what will happen when they add objects to the jar – will they float or sink? Next add some shaving cream to the top of the oil and drop more objects in. What happens? This is a great way to teach your kids that not only do solid objects have different densities, but so do liquids.

Lesson Learned! This activity explores Mixtures.

Rain In A Jar[8] 

This is a great experiment to do with your kids on a rainy day, especially because it demonstrates the principles that cause rain. It’s very easy; all you’ll need is a glass jar, boiling water, a paper plate or bowl, and some ice cubes. Add two to three inches of boiling water to the jar, then cover with the plate and let sit for a few minutes. Add as many ice cubes to the plate or bowl as will fit and then have your kids observe the jar. What they will see is the same process that takes place in the atmosphere to form rain: The warm moist air rises to the top of the jar, where it condenses as it meets the air cooled by the ice above and causes droplets to form!

Lesson Learned! This activity explores States of Matter.


Highlight that this activity can be used after talking about Chemical vs Physical Changes.

Official spread title is Types of Change

Highlight that this both looks at things that mix and don’t mix- official spread title is called Mixtures.

I love this idea of giving readers insight like this into lessons and what gets learned. Super helpful. Do you like how I formatted this?

Yes!

Highlight that this activity can be used after talking about Chemical vs Physical Changes.

official spread title is types of Change – can also discuss the states of matter of each part!

This ties in really well with mixtures!

States of Matter

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