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10 Science experiments for toddlers

Written by Ben Newsome on December 22nd, 2016.      0 comments

toddler science activity ideas
Starting science early

Are there science experiments that a 2 year old could do? Absolutely! Young children are rapidly learning about their world through their 5 senses and as such you can easily provide rich experiences that show how the world works just by targeting sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Beyond looking at the five senses, consider how you can teach toddlers about simple science such as pull and push / float and sink /hot and cold and more. The more you expose young kids to scientific concepts at an early age, the more you set them up for the future!

sights and smells
Using our senses to learn about our world!

When running science experiments with toddlers you do need to be aware of the materials that you are using; are they likely to cause an allergy issue or are there small parts that could cause a choking hazard. The following lists a variety of safe experiments that work very well with toddlers and early learners, although to be honest you can easily use these in primary school too! 

 
make rainbow flowers
Make coloured petals
Create rainbow flowers!
 
  • A colourful experiment early learners love to watch over time.
  • Just needs a bit of food colour, water & some white flowers
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Volcano eruption experiment in a preschool
Volcano eruption experiment in a preschool
The classic volcano
 
  • Simple ingredients 
  • Safe and engaging for kids!
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Sugar and skittles
Colourful Skittles experiment
Colour mixing using skittles
 
  • Show that colours can move and mix together
  • Demonstrate dissolving in a vibrant way!
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slime making
Make gooey slime!
Make some slime!
 
  • A tactile experience toddlers love
  • Also good to for discussing solids vs. liquids for young kids
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Coloured shadows
Make coloured shadows
Coloured shadows & light mixing
 
  • Get some coloured lights and mix them in the dark
  • Links well with rainbows and simple colour mixing
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underwater telephone
Make an underwater telephone
Amplify sounds from underwater
 
  • Show kids that sounds can travel underwater
  • Easy to make!
  • NB: Supervise the balloon with young children
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air water tissue
Does air take up space?
Prove that air takes up space
 
  • An simple concept that kids can struggle with
  • Helps show that air is fills spaces and can push on things
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sultanas
Dancing Sultanas experiment
The classic dancing sultana experiment!
 
  • The sultanas rise and fall in soda water... why?
  • A great way to introduce floating and sinking to toddlers
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Making sherbet
Making sherbet
Sherbet making made simple
  • Teach toddlers to mix materials in a procedure
  • What happens if you add too much of one ingredient?
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brine shrimp swimming
Sea monkey science!
Observe sea monkeys!
 
  • Teach toddlers to observe the natural world
  • Great for teaching about life cycles
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Ant up close
Ants up close
Make an ant farm
 
  • A classic way for young kids to learn about insects
  • An observation experiment every child can do
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This is just a short list of the many science experiments you could run with toddlers. The main idea is to get the kids engaged with using their observation skills to detect changes. to ensure that learning is taking place its important that you get them to try to explain why a change occurred and to guide them to the correct answers. Without a doubt you'll hear some very strange answers but these children's misconceptions are part of growing up, it's just our job to help them understand how things really work. Where possible, try to introduce some simple variables into the experiment and model questioning such as 'What will happen if we change ...'. Toddlers are naturally curious and so will happy follow your lead - all you have to do is make it fun!

Happy teaching,

Ben

Ben Newsome
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