9 Fun Science Activities for Preschoolers

It's never too early to foster a love of science. Whether your preschooler is naturally curious or a reluctant learner, check out these nine fun science activities to do at home.

Curious Jane Invisible Ink
Photo: Ryan Cline

While preschoolers can’t comprehend advanced scientific concepts, you should still incorporate STEM and STEAM experiments into their everyday life. These activities will spark your little one’s curiosity, provide easy entertainment, and teach them about the workings of the world. Some activities have the added bonus of sensory play and fine motor skill development.

Keep reading for instructions on nine at-home science activities for preschoolers.

01 of 09

Milk Painting


This science experiment from Babble Dabble Do will amaze visual and hands-on learners! Set up is simple:

  1. Fill a plate or bowl with milk (higher fat content works best) and add a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Dip a cotton swab or toothpick in dish soap, then encourage your child to swirl it around the colorful milk.

The motions will create a marbled effect that’ll generate plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” from your preschooler. Be careful of over-mixing, though, or the masterpiece will turn brown.

You can also take this activity one step further by capturing your preschooler's science experiment as artwork. Simply grab a piece of paper, dip it in the milk solution to capture the swirls of color, and hang it up to dry. Voilà! A piece of abstract artwork for your fridge.

02 of 09

Oil and Water

Olive Oil

Teach your preschooler that oil and water don’t mix with this at-home science experiment:

  1. Squirt food coloring into a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass of water.

The oil, which has a lower density than water will remain at the top of the glass. The food coloring, which is denser than oil because of its water base will "fall down" and create “fireworks” below.

Your child will get a kick out of the colorful rain shower, and they'll see the effects of density firsthand.

03 of 09

Invisible Ink

Curious Jane Invisible Ink
Ryan Cline

With this unique science experiment, your preschooler will reach secret agent status!

  1. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into a bowl, along with a spoonful of water.
  2. Have your child can grab a paintbrush or even a cotton swab, dip it in the lemon juice mixture, and paint on a piece of paper.
  3. When the paper dries, hold it up in the sunlight or near a lamp to see the science magic happen!

Once dried, you won’t be able to see where your child painted with the lemon juice, but it’ll miraculously appear in sunlight, near a lightbulb, or under an iron. How? Lemon juice turns brown from oxidation when it heats up.

04 of 09

Homemade Slime

homemade slime

No preschooler can turn down the joys of homemade slime! You can an infinite number of slime tutorials online, but here is one popular recipe that's simple enough for little ones:

  • A bottle of glue (such as Elmer’s)
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1½ tablespoons of contact solution

Combine the ingredients, adding fun mix-ins like glitter or food coloring if desired. Add warm water for stretchier slime, and mix in cornstarch for a drier variety.

Once it's ready, encourage your preschooler to explore the slimy creation. Can they flatten it, roll it, stretch it out, or transform it into a ball? Playing with the slime offers a fun sensory and textural experience and helps develop motor skills.

05 of 09

Sink or Float?

Sponge Water Toy
Courtesy of Lynn Lilly 

To set up this preschooler science experiment, you'll just need a large container (think: kiddie pool, bathtub, storage box, or even a very large mixing bowl), water, and a variety of water-safe objects.

First, fill your container with water. Then lay out a variety of objects with different densities. Try sticks, stones, coins, bath toys, leaves, marbles, corks, sponges, rubber bands, and waterproof toys.

Have your child put each item into the water to see whether it sinks or floats. You can even practice giving a hypothesis by asking your child what they think will happen and why and then testing their idea.

This activity introduces the concepts of buoyancy and density, and the sensory and water play aspects will keep preschoolers entertained.

06 of 09

Cleaning Pennies

Make a penny disappear
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

Although preschoolers don’t necessarily understand chemical reactions, they find the visual evidence appealing! This experiment from Sixth Bloom involves cleaning dirty pennies without scrubbing.

First, scrounge up some pennies from your wallet and coin jar—the dirtier, the better! Then, pour some vinegar into a glass, add about a teaspoon of salt, and stir to combine.

Then have your child dump the dirty pennies into the concoction and mix them around for a few minutes. Remove the pennies, wash them off, and admire their new shiny surface (courtesy of the chemical reaction of the vinegar, salt, and copper oxide).

07 of 09

Making Music

Glass of water

This science activity for preschoolers from Hands On As We Grow involves making music. Here’s how to do it: Gather a handful of glasses and fill them with varying amounts of water. Have your child tap on the glasses with an object, such as a spoon, to create some catchy tunes.

They'll quickly learn that each glass lends a different noise, thanks to the sound waves moving through the water. Fuller glasses make deeper sounds, while emptier glasses correlate to higher pitches.

08 of 09

Yardstick Catapult

Yardstick Launcher
Tara Donne

This DIY catapult launcher project from Rachelle Doorley at Tinkerlab will provide hours of scientific fun. Here's how to make it:

  1. Glue plastic party cups to the end of a yardstick.
  2. After it’s dry, position a clean metal can (like a coffee can) halfway down the yardstick, and attach it with rubber bands.
  3. Load small, soft items (like lightweight balls or toys) into the cups, and have your child step down on the opposite end of the yardstick.

The downward force will launch the items across the room! Your preschooler can also try different objects and varying amounts of effort.

09 of 09

Volcanic Eruption

baking soda
Blaine Moats

This preschool science activity requires just two simple ingredients: baking soda and vinegar. When mixed in equal amounts, a chemical reaction creates fizzing that resembles a volcanic eruption!

Experiment with different amounts of baking soda and vinegar, and add water to the mixture. How do the results change with each different concoction?

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles