20 Science Projects for Preschoolers

WIZARD’S BREW RECIPE IN PROJECT #320 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!I used to think science was above the heads of preschool aged children until I became the science parent at my children’s coop preschool and saw just how wrong I was!  Some of the best preschool activities are science related. Preschool age children are inquisitive and open-minded, perfect traits for budding young scientists! Science at a preschool level is a lot of fun, kids are truly mesmerized by chemical reactions, love exploring nature, and jump to build things.

 

When it comes to preschoolers and science, let observations speak for themselves!Click To Tweet.

Here are 20 of our favorite science projects for preschoolers:

This post contains affiliate links to products I love and recommend to my readers.

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!
From left: Discovery Tubes, Wizard’s Brew, Milk Painting

1. DISCOVERY TUBES

Adults can make these fun tube toys for kids to play with and demonstrate viscosity. Click here for the full project.

2. MILK PAINTING

This project is very popular on the internet and I can see why. The combination of milk, dish soap, and food coloring makes for some color swirling magic! You can even dip paper in the milk to make a milk “print” to keep! See how we did it here.

3. RAINBOW WIZARD’S BREW

The basic recipe for this is originally from The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do, a book I highly recommend you have in your library, there are many more fun ideas like this one! We modified it to give it a rainbow twist!

RAINBOW WIZARD’S BREW

Ingredients:

  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid Watercolors or Food coloring
  • Glitter
  • Dishsoap
  • Vinegar
  • Glass jar
  • Small plastic containers
  • Tray

Instructions:

Fill the jar halfway with vinegar, then add a few drops of one color of liquid watercolor/food coloring and some glitter. Squeeze in some dish soap, stir, and place the jar on a tray. Now have your child add in a heaping teaspoon of baking soda, stir again, and watch the foaming begin! The soap makes it foam rather than fizz. To keep the reaction going continue adding baking soda and vinegar when the foam starts to slow. To make it change colors, add a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with one color of liquid watercolor/food coloring every so often. Make sure to dump the colored vinegar into the center of the brew.

Tip: Stir It! My kids discovered that the more they stirred the mixture the faster and crazier the reaction! Did you hear the screams of delight in the video?

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!
Pictured from left: Nature Shadow Boxes, Pinecone BirdFeeders, Magnetic Boxes

4. NATURE SHADOW BOXES

This was one of our school year’s all time favorites for parents and kids alike. Check out this post for the full directions! It will take a few days for the glue to dry but then the box can be hung on the wall like a picture!

5. PINECONE BIRDFEEDER

These can be made with any number of “adhesives” meaning any type of nut butter or in this case Crisco! See our full tutorial here.

6. MAGNETIC BOXES

Fill a clear plastic container with metal objects. We used nuts and bolts, pipe cleaners, bobby pins, brads, and paper clips. Hand your child a strong magnet and let them experiment with lifting the objects in the container without touching them. It’s magnetic magic! A great tutorial for making these is on What Do We Do All Day.

 7. OOBLECK

AKA slime made with cornstarch and water. This is so much fun, even for the parents! It is very messy so please do it outside or in an easily cleanable place in your home. Add colors to the mix for swirling magic!

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!

8. BUTTERFLY FEEDERS

My kids love butterflies! We have made Butterfly Feeders two ways:

Nectar Version: Instructions here.

A colorful nature craft for kids: make a Butterfly Feeder to attract pollinators to your yard.

Fresh Fruit Version:

Supplies: Small paper plate or plastic lid, yarn, over-ripe fruit, orange juice, flowers, tape

Instructions:

Punch holes near the edges of a small paper plate or plastic lid. Tie yarn through the holes (have your child feed the yarn through the holes for a fine motor skills bonus), then gather and tie the yarn at the top as if this is a hanging plant. Have your child pick some flowers and tape them to the yarn. Add a piece of fresh fruit in the middle of the plate, pour a little juice on top, and hang in a place where you can see it. Admittedly it rained the day after we made these at school and our poor feeder was pretty thrashed, so I never saw a butterfly actually visit it. But most of the fun is in the making!

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!
Pictured from left: Dancing Spaghetti, Floaters & Sinkers, Shiny Pennies

9. DANCING SPAGHETTI

Super simple project you can do with a couple of items from your pantry. Mix water with baking soda in a clear glass or cup, and add a few small pieces of spaghetti to the mix. Then add vinegar. Bubbles will form on the spaghetti and make it “dance.” Additional instructions can be found here.

10. FLOATERS & SINKERS

Another classic experiment. Fill a large bowl, kiddie pool, or water table with water. Collect a variety of objects that sink and float. Make sure to collect objects that are similar in size but vastly different in density, like a rock and a tennis ball. Ask your child to predict whether the object will sink or float and let them drop it in the water. Have your child classify them into two different stacks, the “Floaters” and the “Sinkers.” Sounds simple but trust me, it’s a hit with preschoolers!

11. SHINY PENNIES

This is a classic experiment and one that easily pleases preschoolers. Collect dirty tarnished pennies and have the kids soak them in a bowl of vinegar. Within a minute the pennies will be instantly “shined”. For an added bonus, rinse some of the pennies in water after the vinegar dip and then compare them to the vinegar only pennies; if you wait an hour the vinegar pennies will start to oxidize and turn green.

VARIATION: Experiment with other solutions to shine the pennies. You can try salsa (the acid in tomatoes also acts to clean the pennies), lemon juice, soap and water, and vinegar and see which one works the best.


More Science: 20 Science Experiments for Kids


12. SEED STARTS

Growing things is a very important lesson. I have done two variations on this project, one using cardboard egg cartons and the other using ziploc baggies. The ziplock bag yields the more interesting visual results and the egg carton version makes plants that are much easier to transfer to soil down the road.

  • ZIPLOC VERSION: For the ziploc version buy a variety of seeds, beans and corn work well since they are large and easy to pick up. Give your child a folded wet paper towel and have them drop a small amount of seeds on it. Try to leave some space between the seeds if you actually want to plant them, otherwise the roots will tangle. Place the paper towel in a small ziploc bag and hang the bag in a sunny window or outside in a sunny spot. Within a few days the seeds will germinate and the roots will be visible.Science for Kids: Harvesting Seeds
  • EGG CARTON VERSION: We love this method because the egg carton cups can be transferred directly to the soil. See how we did it on PBS Parents.

13. MARBLE RUN

Another favorite by all! Don’t throw away your paper towel and toilet paper rolls, use them to make a marble run! This is great collaborative project for kids. Have children sit in a circle an invite them up one at a time to add and test a section of the marble run.

14. RECYCLING SCAVENGER HUNT

Kids love scavenger hunts. Period. If you take the time to set up one related to a specific idea it can be a learning exercise. Since preschoolers for the most part can’t read, I create visual lists with images pulled off the web. For a recycling themed scavenger hunt I divided up items into three categories: compostables, recyclables, and trash. Then I hid these items around the school and gave each child one of the lists attached here: Recycling Scavenger Hunt Sheets. They had a blast finding the items. I re-hid them quite often so they could repeat the hunt.

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!20 Science Projects for Preschoolers
Pictured from left: Spin Mixing, Color Wheel Playdough, and Dancing Balloons

15. COLOR MIXING

There are so many variations of color mixing projects and kids seem to love every one. Here are three ideas to try:

  • Magic Colors! Pour water into three large bowls, then add blue, red, and yellow food coloring to one bowl each. Have an additional color mixing bowl available for your child and a dumping bowl. Give your child two plastic cups and let them experiment with taking a cupful of water from two of the primary colors and pouring them in the mixing bowl. Because the new color appears almost instantly it seems like a magic trick! Dump the third color in the dumping bowl and repeat the experiment. Using light colored or glass bowls makes the new colors more visible.
  • Rainbow Spin Mixing Using an old salad spinner you can mix colors by spinning paint! Click here for the full project.
  • Color Wheel Playdough Use red, yellow, and blue play dough to mix different shades of colors. Click here for the full project.

16. DANCING BALLOONS

This is a fun interactive project that illustrates the idea of a vortex. And let’s be honest, what preschooler can resist balloons that hover mid air? Project and video available here.

20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!
Pictured from left: Layered Liquids, Smelly Game, Ice Sculptures

17. LAYERED LIQUIDS

What can I say, kids love mixing liquids togther! You can do this project with common pantry ingredients, messy but worth it! Instructions here.

18. SMELLY GAME

This will be either a hit or a miss in your house depending on if your child can stomach a variety of smells. Yes, there are some stinkers but also some sweet ones. It’s fun to think of things to put in the jars. An alternative is to use yogurt cups covered with a lightweight cloth or with holes poked in the lid. Then you can use actual objects in the containers instead of smells in a liquid form. Printable template and instructions here.

19. ICE SCULPTURES

Can you melt blocks of ice with salt and warm water? This project was a massive hit at our coop preschool and has even won over some older kids as well! Do this on a hot day!

20. OOEY GOOEY OILY ART

A hands-on exploration of  density, polarity, viscosity, and color mixing in this messy fun art project!Easy process art idea that explores several scientific concepts. Great way to introduce kids to scientific ideas through creative play.

I hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite science projects for preschoolers! P.S. my older kids have enjoyed many of theses well!
20 science projects for Preschoolers


More Science:

Love doing science with your kids? 

Visit our companion post 20 Science Experiments for Kids.

20 Science Experiments for Kids. Many of these would be perfect for the science fair!

Check out our eBook Fizz, Pop, Bang: Playful Science & Math Activities:
Fizz. Pop. Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities E-book


Fill your child’s life with more art, design, science, and engineering!

Subscribe and get our projects delivered straight to your inbox.



20 Science Projects for Preschoolers- Older kids will love them too!

Comments

  1. Karen says

    Hi Ana. I have a question about the wizards brew. Do the containers/jars need to be glass for the experiment to work or can a plastic cup suffice?

    • Ana Dziengel says

      Hi Karen,
      Absolutely you can use a plastic cup. I recommend a clear one so you can see the liquids interact; also a taller one is best as once you add baking soda the whole thing grows exponentially 😉 !
      Ana

  2. Hannah says

    hello
    a question about the wizards brew….
    what is dishsoap In English?
    I don’t know whether you mean washing up liquid or dishwasher powder
    please help
    thank you :)

  3. says

    “And as a bonus you don’t have to get into the hard explanations of what is happening, let observations speak for themselves.” That’s exactly the thing that discourages me the most when I find fun “science” experiments. Without the explanation to help kids understand the science behind what’s happening, most of the actual learning is lost. Observation only goes so far. I really like Steve Spangler because he does always tell the kids the WHY when he does fun science stuff, and he’s able to do it in simple language that even young kids can understand. :)
    Alicia recently posted…Bringing Up Learners offers free comprehensive world history curriculumMy Profile

    • Ana Dziengel says

      Hi Alicia,
      Thank you for your comment, Steve Spangler is one of my favorite sites. I appreciate hearing your point of view and I always try to incorporate simple explanations into the projects I do with kids. But my primary goal in doing science with preschool aged children is getting them excited about the subject in general. I believe that a thoughtful, engaging experience does leave a lasting impression, especially at this age, and I don’t believe it to be a lesson lost. I can’t tell you how many children would run up to me excited to do a science project on Science Day because they had memorable experiences of past experiments. Thanks again for taking the time to express your point of view.
      Ana

  4. Kelly says

    These are great. I’m printing these out and saving them for my grandson. He is too young to do them now (2 weeks old), but I’ll be ready.

    • Ana Dziengel says

      Any vinegar should work but I recommend white because it is inexpensive and you can buy it in large quantities :)

  5. Sean Gallaty says

    These are really activities, and not science experiments.

    We should demonstrate to the preschoolers what a science experiment is about, which is we take our understanding a form a hypothesis then we test it and make observations, and finally we draw conclusions based on those observations. That’s science.

    The last two science experiments that I did with my 5 year old were :

    Carbon Dioxide and flame.

    We established the fundamental principles of chemical and physical reactions, then we discussed what we knew of the properties of combustion and we hypothesized what would happen if we replaced the oxygen in a container with CO2.

    The key here is to get the child to think and follow their own reasoning to come up with an understanding of why the outcome is what it is, and ways to test (not prove, but test) these hypothesis.

    First we tested it with baking soda and vinegar, and then we tested it with dry ice. For fun, we threw the rest of the dry ice into water with soap making crazy foam.

    Today, we took tarnished pennies and put them in a solution of acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide and sodium cloride. Once we observed and discussed the changes we then extended the experiment by using a car battery charger to electrolytically remove oxidization from the penny and also at the same time, plate the cathode in copper.

    All the while we discussed the various states of matter, what a molecule is, what an electron is and the basics of how those things interact.

    I gently disagree that a preschooler’s observations explain the science. Science is practice testing theory. Without theory, it’s not science.

    • Ana Dziengel says

      Thank you for your feedback Sean. Sounds like you are having fun with science in your home! My goal with preschoolers is for them to have fun first and to encourage them to be curious. I think we have the same goal but different approaches.

  6. says

    Really thanks such a pretty ideas. I liked all here. Science is now more fun for kids and you have proved this in your article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge