Preschool Science Experiments

Experiments and Activities for Preschoolers

This is a collection of fun, easy and educational science experiments and activities for preschool students.

Make a bubble rainbow with a water bottle, old sock, dishwashing liquid and food coloring.
Make a bubble rainbow with a water bottle, old sock, dishwashing liquid and food coloring. Anne Helmenstine

Use household materials to blow a colored bubble tube or "snake". Use food coloring to tint the bubbles. You can even make a bubble rainbow.

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Hand Washing Glow

Irish Spring soap glows a bright greenish-blue under a black light.
Irish Spring soap glows a bright greenish-blue under a black light. Anne Helmenstine

Hand-washing is an important way to keep germs at bay. How well do preschool kids wash their hands? Let them find out! Get a soap that glows brightly under a black light. Laundry detergent glows. So does Irish Spring. Have the kids wash their hands with soap and water. Afterward, shine the black light over their hands to show them the spots they missed.

If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel.
If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel. Anne Helmenstine

Soak a hard-boiled egg in vinegar to make a bouncy ball... from an egg! If you are brave enough, soak a raw egg instead. This egg will bounce too, but if you throw it too hard, the yolk will splatter.

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Charge a plastic comb with static electricity from your hair and use it to bend a stream of water.
Charge a plastic comb with static electricity from your hair and use it to bend a stream of water. Anne Helmenstine

All you need for this project is a plastic comb and a faucet. Charge the comb with electricity by combing your hair and then watch as a thin stream of water moves away from the comb.

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After the ink has dried an invisible ink message becomes invisible.
After the ink has dried an invisible ink message becomes invisible. Comstock Images, Getty Images

You don't have to be able to read or write words to enjoy invisible ink. Draw a picture and watch it disappear. Make the image reappear. Several non-toxic kitchen ingredients make great invisible ink, like baking soda or juice.

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Slime is a fun and easy chemistry project for all ages.
Slime is a fun and easy chemistry project for all ages. Nevit, Creative Commons License

Some parents and teachers avoid slime for preschool kids, but there are so many non-toxic slime recipes that it's really a terrific project for this age group. A basic slime can be made with cornstarch and oil, plus there are forms of slime that are meant to be eaten, like chocolate slime.

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Finger Painting

Finger paints are a great way to explore color and mixing.
Finger paints are a great way to explore color and mixing. Nevit, Creative Commons License

Finger paints may be messy, but there they are a fantastic way to explore color! In addition to the regular type of finger paints, you can add food coloring or tempera paint to piles of shaving cream or whipped cream or you can use finger paints made especially for tubs.

Breakfast Cereal with Milk
Breakfast Cereal with Milk. Scott Bauer, USDA

Breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals. One of the minerals that you can see is iron, which you can collect onto a magnet for kids to examine. It's an easy project that causes kids to stop and think about what is in the foods they eat.

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This blue rock candy is practically the same color as the sky.
This blue rock candy is practically the same color as the sky. Rock candy is made from sugar crystals. It is easy to color and flavor the crystals. Anne Helmenstine

Rock candy consists of colored and flavored sugar crystals. Sugar crystals are terrific crystals for young kids to grow because they are edible. The two considerations for this project are that the water has to be boiled to dissolve the sugar. That part should be completed by adults. Also, rock candy takes a few days to grow, so it is not an instant project. In a way, this is more fun for kids, since each morning they can get up and monitor the progress of the crystals. They can break off and eat any rock candy growing on the surface of the liquid.

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Adding baking soda causes the volcano to erupt.
The volcano has been filled with water, vinegar, and a little detergent. Adding baking soda causes it to erupt. Anne Helmenstine

You wouldn't want your preschooler to grow up without ever having made a kitchen volcano, right? The basics involve baking soda and vinegar in just about any container. You can make a model volcano from clay or dough or even a bottle. You can color the "lava". You can even make the volcano emit smoke.

Make a Kitchen Volcano More »

Milk and Food Coloring Project
Milk and Food Coloring Project. Anne Helmenstine

Food coloring in milk just gives you colored milk. Nice, but boring. However, if you drip food coloring into a bowl of milk and then dip a soapy finger into the milk you get magic.

Colored Milk Swirls More »

Ice Cream
Ice Cream. Nicholas Eveleigh, Getty Images

You don't need a freezer or ice cream maker to make ice cream. The trick is to add salt to ice and then place a bag of ice cream ingredients in this extra-cold ice. It's kind of amazing, even for adults. Both adults and preschool kids like ice cream, too.

Make Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag More »

You can make your own cloud in a bottle using a bottle, some warm water, and a match.
You can make your own cloud in a bottle using a bottle, some warm water, and a match. Anne Helmenstine

Show preschoolers how clouds form. All you need is a plastic bottle, a little water, and a match. As with other projects, it's entertaining even when you are older to make a cloud form, disappear and reform inside of a bottle.

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Colored Salt

It's easy to color salt! Layer the colored salt in a bottle to make an interesting decoration.
It's easy to color salt! Layer the colored salt in a bottle to make an interesting decoration. Florn88, Creative Commons License

Take bowls of regular salt or Epsom salt, add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl to color the salt and layer the salt in jars. Kids love making their own decorations, plus it's a great way to explore how color works.

You can explore chemical reactions and clean pennies at the same time.
You can explore chemical reactions and clean pennies at the same time. Anne Helmenstine

Explore chemical reactions by cleaning pennies. Certain common household chemicals make pennies brighter, while others cause reactions that produce green verdigris or other coatings on the pennies. This is also a good opportunity to work with sorting and math.

Chemistry Fun with Pennies More »

It's better to use edible glitter on your mouth than the type made with metals and plastics.
It's better to use edible glitter on your mouth than the type made with metals and plastics. Frederic Tousche, Getty Images

Kids love glitter, but most glitter contains plastic or even metals! You can make non-toxic and even edible glitter. The glitter is great for science and craft projects or for costumes and decorations. More »