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.

Brr It’s Chilly !!


Iceberg
Painting

We’ve been doing a lot of crafts and young children need to have free art time to create, as well a variety of sensory experiences to discover new things, so this was the perfect answer! Also the ice cubes don’t melt very fast so we were able to pack them up to use for another day!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an ice cube tray, some paint, water, a few paper towels, paper and a pan.
  2. Start the night before and put some paint in the ice cube tray. Add water and freeze.
  3. In the morning or after , pop the ice cubes out and let soften for about 5 minutes.
  4. Line your pan with a layer of paper towel add a piece of paper .
  5. Start painting ! While painting ask about how it feels, see if they will hold the cubes long enough to make a few drips of water etc… there is no wrong way to do this.

Color Mixing

Color mixing is something so simple but so exciting for young children. The lesson is vital as well, the basic understanding that when you mix two things a third new thing is created doesn’t have to come from a complicated lesson, so grab a few towels and trust me your children will love this!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some clear or white glass or plastic containers. Food coloring, water , a turkey baster and a thick place mat or towel under the jars.
  2. Start by letting your child get accustomed to using the turkey baster to transfer the water from one container to another. They do make child size turkey basters and sell them at educational stores like Lakeshore learning but I am just using a regular old one.
  3. Next add blue and red to two of the jars and have clear water in the third. Ask about the colors and if your child is old enough, ask them to make a prediction about what will happen if you mix the colors.
  4. Continue with as many color combinations as they want. My son had a blast making green and we re did this experiment 4 or 5 times.
  5. If they are getting frustrated with how slow the turkey baster is encourage them to pour the water into the other jars.
  6. The fun can keep going as long as they are interested, our experiment lasted about 30 minutes which was about 15 minutes longer than I expected!
Books!



” A Rainbow Of My Own” by Don Freeman is a charming story about wanting a rainbow, you may notice that the colors are out of order but I have always used that as a teaching tool in my classes.

” Little Blue and Little Yellow”
by Leo Lioniis a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob!

Painting With Water

toddler activity
No, I am not using child labor to spruce up my house, this activity will amaze you at it’s simplicity and how much kids LOVE it. I used to do this with my class on nice days when they would get stir crazy inside! The key to making this last is to wait to introduce the different brushes and sponges.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water, and a variety of paint brushes ( make sure they are clean you don’t want to really paint your house). painting with water supplies
  2. Dip your paint brush into the water and start painting! Fences or other unpainted works the best because it will darken when “painted”.painting with water
  3. While you are painting with your child, point out the dry wall and the wet brush and ask them what happens when they paint it. painting with waterLittle exchanges like this are fantastic teaching opportunities. Remember though if they just want to do it in peace, let them you can always recap later.painting with water 3
  4. When your child starts getting uninterested- in a insanely enthusiastic way introduce the next brush. I know that this is hard for people who aren’t used to being surrounded by small kids , but a little enthusiasm goes a long way- feel free to fake it too .My son loved the roller- I gave it to him last and ended up having to go grab a coffee cause he played with it for almost 20 minutes alone! ( by grabbing a coffee I mean from my kitchen , not Starbucks). painting with water 5
 

Splish Splash ! Let’s learn about water!

Exploring Water


Note to Parents: Relax, put down a towel and don’t you dare do this in the bath tub, kids love water and they need to have fun and explore how it feels, works and looks outside of the routine of a bath.

  1. Gather your materials. I like to use a container in relation to your child’s age. So the smaller the baby the smaller the tupperware ! You should never have anything large enough that a child could get into and cause themselves harm. You don’t need a huge container for a good time. You will also want some fun things to put in the water- oh and you may want to make sure anything you don’t want in the water is out of reach!
  2. Have fun pouring and if you have an older child, grab some measuring cups and measure out the water, pour it fast, or slow, try to make a teeny tiny trickle. Follow your child’s lead, if pouring is boring move on!!
  3. Get your testers ready- find things in your house for this experiment! Young toddlers will have fun splashing but I have done this experiment with kids as young as 2 successfully. Be animated, follow their cues and throw those toys in the water! As you pop them in ask your child if they think it will stay bouncy floating on top or if they will fall all the way to the bottom and sink.
  4. If your child likes to learn with words and charts make a simple chart like this one. You can test out each object and put them in the right colum. If your child just thinks it’s fun to put the wet toys on paper that’s cool too. Don’t push , we want them to explore.
  5. If you have an older child try making predictions before the experiment. I have always been amazed that the Melissa and Doug blocks don’t sink, they get me every time! I had to go searching for this car just so I had something to sink! Remember it’s great to admit that you thought one thing and were shocked to be proven wrong, discover things with your child !
Song


Note to Parents - I have met very few preschoolers ( and I know lots) that don’t love to sing, so why not!! Also when you sing with your child don’t worry about how you sound, they don’t care, in my opinion the sillier the better!

Here is one of my favorite songs with the water theme in it! This was always a big hit with my students. Click on the video to see how silly adults with no make up and messy hair are singing kids songs- and for the actions!

Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs
sat on a speckled log
eating the most delicious bugs
yum yum !

One jumped into the pool
where it was nice and cool
now there are 4 green speckled frogs
ribit ribit!

Keep going until no more left!


Books


Here are some great picture books that support this theme, so if your child had fun with the water and or song you could introduce these books at a quiet , or not so quiet time too!

“Splash!” by Flora McDonell

“Water is Wet” by Penny Pollack

Note to Parentslet your young child take the lead, they are always learning , always absorbing and not everything HAS to be a teachable moment. Suggest and offer activities but be prepared to end things early or move on to something else, that is ok, normal and healthy! Learning doesn’t happen in a forced environment , but rather one rich in opportunities and experiences!