Toddler and preschool science concepts include introduction to the scientific process and investigation of material properties or characteristics. Finding ways to incorporate these ideas in your everyday routine can encourage an investigative and curious scientific spirit in your child.
Bathtime is an easy and simple way to include science everyday and makes for very easy clean up!
Try out these simple experiments during your next bathtime:
Sink or Float
Gather waterproof items from around the house (foam blocks, duplos, bath toys, coins, etc.)
Demonstrate sink and float with an item and label the action of the item with "sink" or "float.” You can say, “I have some toys, I am going to see if they sink or float! Look at that, the foam black stayed at the top of the water, it is floating!”
Offer your child another item and invite them to make a prediction, "What do you think will happen with this block, will it sink or float?"
Test the items in the water and make your observations, “wow that one went right to the bottom, it sank!”
Sort the items in two containers, those that float and those that do not.
Invite your child to notice similar characteristics among those that float and those that do not “I wonder why these float.”
To expand on the experiment you might try different items next bathtime or find more items based on the characteristics your child was able to identify during sorting. For example, if your child noticed that the objects that sank were heavy, invite them to find more heavy items to test if they might sink too. This is testing a hypothesis!
Add water and a drop of food coloring (primary colors work best!) to squirt bottles. These squirt bottles work wonderfully and can be used in so many other fun craft and science experiments. Just one drop of food coloring is enough. Too much food coloring and things get very messy and colors turn out too dark.
Set up colors and white or clear mixing containers in the bathtub. You can do it on a ledge or bath tray, or place a deep tray in shallow water. A white ice cube tray for mixing is perfect for this experiment.
Demonstrate how to squeeze into the mixing containers.
As your child explores mixing, ask open ended questions like, "What will happen if we mix these colors?" or “How did you make this color?”
Make predictions and observations about what happens using descriptors, "That made it darker!"
Easy clean up! Just send the colored water down the drain and then allow your little one to continue container play with bottles and containers to rinse it all out!
Your child will want to do these experiments again and again! Here are some ways to build in more learning and independence.
Give them a chance to take the lead as they continue with testing more items.
Provide them with the materials and see how they conduct the experiment on their own.
Connect with them in their curious play by imitating their actions with materials
Ask questions about their thinking during and after they explore
To hear more about this activity check out this video.
For more other fun ideas check out the enrichment section.