10 At-Home Science Activities for Preschoolers
We love finding activities to do in the community, but sometimes it’s refreshing or necessary to spend time at home. My kids are so much happier all day if we spend a little bit of time doing a new activity together! Enjoy these easy at-home science activities for preschoolers.
For this activity, I sent my son out into the yard to collect a bucket full of rocks. We then washed them off and I made a simple graph with numbers along one side and different characteristics along the bottom (bumpy, smooth, big, small, etc.). I taught him how to make bar graphs, and then he counted up how many rocks had each characteristic and filled in the bar graph appropriately. He loved it!
Dirt & Water Observation Chart
This activity came about when we were talking about how a well works and we told our boys that if water sits for long enough, all the dirt will settle to the bottom. We took a mason jar and filled it with water and a handful of dirt. Then we stirred it up, and at various time points I had my son come and color simple mason jars I had drawn on a paper to match the jar. His observations demonstrated how the water became more and more clear with time.
I got this clever idea from a former piano student of mine! It’s the perfect simple activity for a summer day. Simply take small animals or other toys and place them in a rubber container or cup. Fill it with water and freeze until solid. Run it under warm water to loosen the ice, and then let your child “chisel” out the “fossils” with spoons, hammers, or other instruments. My boys were so excited to get all the animals out of the ice!
Mason Jar Ant Farm
We were on a really tight budget for my son’s fifth birthday, so my husband came up with this idea for a gift! He made him a homemade ant farm by taping a pint-sized mason jar upside down inside a quart-sized mason jar and then filling the jar with an ant hill he found (this encourages the ants to make their tunnels on the outside of the jar where they can be observed instead of in the middle of the jar). For best results, try to find a queen ant and/or eggs to include in the jar. Add a few drops of honey, moisten the top of the dirt, place a piece of fabric on top, and screw on the ring and you’re all set! This was really neat to observe! The ants immediately set up a nursery and began moving all of the eggs to the bottom of the jar. We were fascinated by the way they prioritized ensuring that the species would continue even before getting food! This works best if you store it in a dark closet or under a towel when it’s not being observed as the ants don’t like the light.
Baking Soda & Vinegar Activities
Any way you can think of to play with baking soda and vinegar will likely be a hit with kids! For this activity, I filled 3 plastic cups with vinegar and 3 plastic cups with water. I then put a few drops of food coloring on 6 spoons and put a heap of baking soda on each spoon. My boys then got to take turns choosing a spoon and picking a cup to stir it around in. They loved seeing which ones foamed up and overflowed and watching the different liquids change colors! This is a great, engaging way to practice colors with little ones as well.
Ocean in a Bottle
For this activity, just use an empty plastic water bottle and fill it about halfway with water. Add a few drops of blue food coloring and shells, pebbles, or toy fish if desired, and then fill the bottle the rest of the way with oil. The water will move around, mimicking the movement of waves! My kids also enjoyed shaking up the bottle and then watching the oil and water separate.
Peanut Butter Pinecone Bird Feeders
We loved making these simple birdfeeders! Just tie a string on a pinecone, cover it in peanut butter, and sprinkle with birdseed (you can buy a box at most grocery stores for a few dollars). Hang it on a tree outside and watch the birds feast away!
For this activity, cut the bottom off an empty plastic water bottle. Put a sock around the cut away portion of the water bottle, pull it tight, and tape the top of it to secure. Then dip it in some dishsoap mixed with a little water to thin it, and blow through the opening! You can make huge snake-like bubble clusters using this technique! Just make sure your kids don’t breathe in while their mouths are on the opening, or they will end up with a nasty mouth full of bubbles!
Float or Sink?
I was really surprised to see how much fun my boys had with this activity. I just had them go through the house and choose a variety of objects to test, and then they placed them in a large bowl of water to determine if they floated or sank. They would guess before they tested, and then sort them accordingly. I loved seeing how much they laughed as they tested their objects and they excitedly ran through the house to collect more things to try when we had finished!
Balloon Straw Rockets
To make our balloon straw rockets, we taped a piece of dental floss from one end of the room to the other. We then blew up a balloon, taped it to a straw (which was threaded onto the floss), and let go of the end of the balloon. The kids loved seeing how different sized balloons went faster or slower and how taping the straw to different parts of the balloon made its behavior change.
Please share with us any of your favorite science activities for preschoolers–we just might feature them here on the blog! And stay tuned for lots more activities, from art to math to gross motor!