Preschool Science – Sink or Float?

preschool science lesson sink or floatI have done many times with my son but now that he is 3 and has starting asking more complex questions, able to use information to make solid predictions it was way more fun! Using Easter eggs doesn’t simply add novelty, it add another dimension of learning, as we added more items to the eggs to see if the amount would change the result.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub, some plastic Easter egg, tape to cover the holes they have, and a range of items to pack inside. We chose a lego, some feathers, coins, rocks and dry pasta. You will also need some crayons in the same colors as the eggs, a marker and paper to make a prediction and results chart. Preschool Science Lesson
  2. Start by filling your eggs with the contents. Don’t forget to add tape to the holes so water doesn’t get in.Preschool Science Lesson
  3. Make your easy peasy chart. Draw the egg, write what’s in them and have your child decide if they think it will sink or float. Talk about how when they decide they are making a prediction. Ask them why they think each will sink or float.Preschool Science Lesson
  4. Do your experiment. Pop the eggs in the water and discover if it sinks or floats. Preschool Science Lesson
  5. Was the result what you expected? All of ours floated so we opened up the one with rocks in it added more and then it sunk. This was the best part of the whole lesson because my son figured out why it sunk the 2nd time but not the first! Since doing this last week we have “tested” many other things from a match box car ( it sunk) to a sock!  Preschool Science Lesson
  6. We also opened some of the eggs up to see what would happen, and blew air on them too. Some moved some didn’t can you guess why?;) Love that one experiment leads straight to another!  Preschool Science Lesson

What I love about teaching through experiments is that kids grasp things on their own, the true pleasure of making a discovery is obvious on their faces and it makes a mark. They remember and understand  this experience much better than if we simply told them why things sink and float.

Sun Melted Recycled Crayons

recycled crayons

I have made recycled crayons before – and I got a little addicted to doing them and made a million for Christmas presents but yesterday was the first time I did it without using an oven. The heatwave on the west coast was in full swing and I decided to try something new… and it worked!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some crayons, aluminum foil, cookie cutters, a paper plate and a very hot sunny spot.
  2. Start by peeling and breaking your crayons into small pieces. I left some chunky bits because it was well over 100 and figured it would be fine, if the day was cooler I’d used shavings to melt faster.
  3. Cover the plate in aluminum foil
  4. Place the plate with the cookie cutters in a sunny spot
  5. Add the broken crayons
  6. Wait- in 100+ heat this took an hour to melt, but I had lots of really big pieces.
  7. Yay they melted!
  8. Let cool inside, then pop out of the cookie cutters. Mine slid right out, I just broke off the little bit of extra that slipped out on the bottom.
  9. Color on scrap paper for a truly eco friendly activity!
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Magnetic Weather Station

weather activity for preschool

This was an instant hit. Even though he didn’t help me make it , it has been played with a ton. I think I may have a young Willard Scott on my hands. As a teacher I included checking the weather in my daily circle time, even with kids as young as 2 this sparks interest in science in a way that is relevant to their daily lives.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a magnetic surface ( or cookie sheet), some magnetic letters, 4-5 sheets of foam, 4 magnets , a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a sun, wind, cloud and a rain drop or umbrella on the foam. Had it been winter when we made this I’d add in snow.
  3. Add the magnets to the back with glue and let dry. Please remember if you are doing this with little ones that are still putting things in their mouths, use long flat magnets not ones that could be swallowed, or pose a chocking hazard. Adhesive magnetic sheets are a great option too.
  4. Add your signage, we only had one E, so a backwards 3 works in a pinch.
  5. Have your little meteorologist check the weather at the window
  6. And choose the appropriate magnet to put up.
Books!

” Weather”by Pamela Chanko and Daniel Moreton is the perfect little non fiction book about weather for toddlers and young preschoolers. It’s short and has big interesting photos depicting different weather. Don’t be fooled, it looks like nothing, but trust me little guys will ask you to read it again and again. It’s important that children get read a variety of things, not simply fiction, so don’t be afraid to get your child a simple little non fiction book like this one!
“What Will the Weather Be Like Today?” by Paul Rodgers is another wonderful weather book. It takes readers to all different environments from desserts to deep in the ocean and talks about the weather or lack of weather in each. I like the illustrations and the rhyming text, as well as the special section at the end of the book that uses photographs of children in different weather and asks the readers to answer questions about the photographs. Great teaching tool for preschoolers.

 

It’s gonna blow!

Volcano !

After a week of all things sweet and springy we needed something bold! Volcanoes are so powerful and fascinating . The science project bellow is always a hit, I know I made many as a child and have made more than a few in the last few weeks.

  1. Gather your materials. You’ll need 2 pieces of construction paper, red and yellow tissue paper, crayons, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a volcano o the brown construction paper. If your child is able have them do this.
  3. Color the volcano. We used crayons but markers or even paint would work.
  4. While they color jaggedly cut out the tissue paper.
  5. Cut out the volcano.
  6. While you are cutting it out you can use this time to have your child practice cutting too. This has been a favorite part of art time at our house lately. I hand my son some play scissors ( ours are simple plastic ones- they cut but aren’t sharp) and some scrap paper and he loves it.
  7. Time to glue!add glue to the 2nd piece of construction paper and glue your volcano down.
  8. Next add the glue for the lava.
  9. Add the tissue paper- no need to be careful just smack it on!
  10. Let dry.

Science Experiment !
I’m sure you remember this from childhood, I know I do, especially the time I used red food dye , in the days before magic erasers. When we do this at home we normally do it in the sink to avoid too much clean up. I couldn’t get good pictures in the sink so the container worked in a pinch, although I have to admit I was worried it would overflow.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clear jar, baking soda, vinegar and if you want red sanding sugar makes great lava.
  2. Add the lava to the jar.
  3. Pour the baking soda into the jar- we used about 1/4 of a cup which was enough for two eruptions. Stir of shake the jar with the lid on to mix the baking soda and the sanding sugar.
  4. Add the vinegar ( again about 1/4 cup).
  5. Erupt !
  6. Be prepare for your child to beg for it again and again. Have extra vinegar ready!

Books

“Volcanoes” by Franklyn M. Branley is another great book in the “Let’s Read and Find Out Science” series. I can’t say enough about this series of early non fiction books, they explain things in easy to understand and interesting to preschoolers ( and school age ) way. This book was no exception, the photos kept my toddler saying “Whoa! ” over and over even if he is a bit young still for the text. This book would be great for 3-6 year olds interested in volcanoes.

“An Island Grows” by Lola M. Schaefer is so pretty it reminds me of what the store Anthropologie would look if it was a children’s book about how islands are formed. It’s part antique fabric, part funky modern floral patterns… this was the book that I was saying “Whoa” each time I turned the page. It does a great job explaining how islands grow from under water volcanoes too !