Hands-on Science Ideas for Preschool Children

Science can be a great learning at adventure at any age. Younger children often have limitations on what types of substances they can handle. Chemicals are out of the question with young children, as they often put things in their mouth. The hands-on approach shows more results, however, when it comes to retaining information. There are several experiments and projects that are safe for preschool age children.

Oil and Water

Water, by itself, presents all sorts of learning activities. Kids can observe how it freezes and melts, for example. A more involved approach to the properties of water involves the addition of oil. You can use any kind of oil found in the kitchen, making this experiment extremely safe. One cup should be provided oil in it, and another with water. Let the children choose their favorite shade of food coloring and mix it with the water. Once they have stirred up the food coloring and water, supply them with a medicine dropper. The colored water forms beads when dropped into the oil. Explain how the two remain separate and do not mix.

Modified Volcano

Many adults remember the first time they made a vinegar and baking soda volcano. The reaction, however, can be a bit too lively for small children. The addition of dish soap makes the reaction much calmer. This mixture results in slow foaming action. There is no need to construct an entire volcano. The ingredients can be added to a jar or other kitchen container. Fill half of the container with vinegar to start out. Allow children to squeeze in a little dish soap and food color. A spoonful of baking soda sets off the reaction. Continue to add baking soda to keep the foam going. This experiment can be an introduction to chemical reactions.

Candy Cell

Cells may be too complicated for preschoolers to grasp, however, it never hurts to start the conversation. Print out a picture of a plant or animal cell for your child to look at. Do not worry about the scientific names for the cell parts at this age. Simplify the job that each part has and explain it with the picture. You need to have gelatin and multiple types of candy on hand for the next part. Gummy worms and other gel candies work well. Let the gelatin set only halfway so the candy can sink into it. Let the children attempt to replicate the cell picture with the candy inside the gelatin. When it is all finished, enjoy eating your lesson.


Get ready for a water mess with this one. If you can take kids outside the experiment may run more smoothly. A large plastic tub or kid’s pool should be filled with water. Gather a variety of items from around the house or classroom. Have the children place the items in the water, one at a time. Ask them to observe whether the items float or sink. Explain to the children how the weight of the object is more or less than the entirety of the water. Be prepared for questions about how large boats stay afloat. This is a simple lesson on density that also results in some fun sensory and water play.

Color the Flower

This experiment can help kids understand how plants retrieve water from the ground. A white flower is the best prop for this activity. Carnations work very well. Gather several flowers and put them each in a separate jar. Fill each jar with water and have your child add a different color of food coloring to each one. The flower soaks up the colored water through the stem and brings it to the bloom. The white flower slowly changes color. This is also a good time to teach about mixing colors. Show them how mixing two colors can make an entirely different color. Share some information on how plants absorb and distribute water.

Kids should not be left out of science due to their age. Many experiments can be modified to accommodate a younger group. Many basic concepts are easy to observe through hands-on activities. The participation helps children form a better understanding of the material. There are numerous projects that use only water and basic kitchen supplies. Preschool age children are kept safe from dangerous chemicals. Bring out the inner scientist in your young child with these tips and make up some of your own.


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