School is out. It’s hot. I’m feeling lazy and my kiddos are restless. What’s a mom to do? I can only allow my kids to melt their brains with YouTube for so long before I start having Phoenix-Summer mom guilt, so this year I’m taking some inspiration from my curious preschooler. Lately my 4-year-old has been asking me to “do science” with her daily. Not being much of a scientist myself, I took to the internet for some guidance. Luckily for me (and you), there are some extremely simple science experiments that are fun for kids and easy for parents!
In fact, in order to do all three of the following experiments, you only need a few household items and a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have or can purchase inexpensively at the Dollar Store. It doesn’t get much better than that. Check out these 3 super fun and easy experiments that are perfect for preschoolers.
1. Lava Lamp
What you’ll need: Empty bottle, water, vegetable oil, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer tablets
Where to get the deets: No Guilt Mom
What to do: After filling the bottle with both vegetable oil and water, put in a few drops of food coloring, then some small bits of an Alka-Seltzer tablet.
Why it’s cool: Enjoy the look on your kid’s face as the colored water rises to the top of the bottle and tumbles back down again due to the gas formed when the tablets dissolve. It really is mesmerizing! Repeat with more Alka-Seltzer until your kid is ready to move on. This one gets bonus points for nostalgia.
What you need to know: Save the bottle of water, vegetable oil, and food coloring when you’re done. You can add more Alka-Seltzer later and it will still work!
2. Make It Rain
What you’ll need: Water, shaving cream, food coloring, clear cup
Where to get the deets: Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station
What to do: Fill your cup with water. Put a thin layer of shaving cream on top, then add a few drops of food coloring.
Why it’s cool: Just like water in the clouds, when the food coloring gets heavy enough, it falls through the shaving cream as rain. Not only is the experiment super easy to do, but it’s also great for teaching preschoolers the concept of gravity. And it’s perfect for monsoon season!
What you need to know: Be sure to use a pretty thin layer of shaving cream. I made the mistake of doing quite a thick layer the first time, and was subjected to ten minutes of my daughter repeating, “Mom, when will it rain?” over…and over…and over…
What you’ll need: Cornstarch, water, tempera paint (optional)
Where to get the deets: Unsophisticated Cook
What to do: Mix 1 cup water with 1.5 cups cornstarch. Add paint for color if desired.
Why it’s cool: This is such a fun change of pace from the usual play dough or even slime. The texture of Oobleck is so fascinating, you won’t know what to make of it. It behaves as both a liquid and a solid, depending on how it’s held and manipulated. And you really can’t beat how easy it is to make. I love to just hand the ingredients over to my daughter and let her go for it while I try to accomplish other things around the house.
What you need to know: We made the mistake of using food coloring instead of paint the first time, and my daughter’s hands were purple for the rest of the day. Yikes! Also keep in mind that Oobleck can be super messy so you may feel more comfortable doing this one in the bathtub, especially if toddlers are involved.