This year our preschool class took part in Science Week from November 9th – 13th. We had lots of fun trying out different experiments and creating new things. Before we started we talked about what science was at circle time and the children gave suggestions for experiments they would like to do throughout the week. We ended up doing several different experiments as well as some other exploratory art and sensory activities.
One day the children were painting with Legos and when it was time to clean them, some of the children noticed that the Lego pieces floated in the water. CH said ‘Look they’re all floating!’ This lead to a conversation about what floating was. The next day at circle time we asked if anyone had any suggestions for experiments and RL said ‘We can get the bucket with the water and put the toys in to see if they float’. So on Monday all the children took turns to place different items from the room into a bucket of water. We voted on whether we thought each item would float or sink before we dropped them in the water, some we got right, and others surprised us!
The children also made their own moon sand. This is created by mixing flour with baby oil. The children love messy and sensory play so they had lots of fun using their hands to mix the ingredients together and were amazed when it formed soft sand they could make shapes out of. This activity gave the children experience with a variety of different textures they created themselves. CE & KG said ‘I NEED MORE OIL!!!’ because they wanted their sand to be ‘sticky’ and LON sprinkled her sand on the table saying ‘Look its crumbly!’
During our discussion about science, we talked about an experiment with soap and pepper that explain how soap works to keep germs away. As this is a very relevant topic for the children we decided to test this out for ourselves. Each child took turns dipping their fingers in water and watching the pepper or ‘germs’ cling to their finger, they then dipped their finger in some soap before putting their finger back into the water. They were amazed when all the pepper moved away from their fingers’ EF said ‘Its running away from me!’ CFL particularly enjoyed this experiment and recalled the whole things to his dad that evening when he was going home.
On Tuesday CH told us that he saw a rainbow on his way to creche saying ‘I saw a rainbow in the sky when I was walking here’ We decided to test some rainbow experiments to see if we could recreate the rainbow in our classroom. At circle time we each took turns to put different coloured skittles in a circle on a plate. We then poured warm water over them and watched as the dye poured out of the skittles and made a colourful rainbow. We talked about what colours we could see and found items in our room to match each colour. After this, we used all these colours to paint pictures on some tinfoil. Some of the children decided to paint their own rainbows and others created pictures of their family. Painting on tinfoil gave the children a different experience with new materials and they were fascinated that the foil was shiny with LC saying ‘It’s like a mirror’.
On Wednesday it rained all day. We read a story called ‘The Little Raindrop’ which told us about the water cycle and looked out the window to see if we could see the drops coming from the clouds. We then tried to create our own rain clouds using a cup, water, food colouring and shaving foam. Each child took their own cup, poured in some water and foam and then used a pipette to drop some blue food colouring onto the foam. We then watched as the colour seeped through the foam and into the water like rain from a cloud. Using the pipette helped the children to develop their fine motor skills, particularly their pincer grips and also allowed them to see a real example of how the water cycle works. The children were very interested in this experiment and went back to their cups several times throughout the day to see if any more rain had come through.
On Thursday we explored colours with chemical reactions. When we were talking about what experiments we wanted to try, some of the children began talking about seeing fireworks from their windows at home at Halloween. BS said ‘They made colours in the sky!’ They asked if we could do an experiment to make fireworks so we tried to recreate them with some baking soda, vinegar and food colouring. We talked about what the children thought might happen when we mixed these ingredients and RL recalled using them to make a volcano last year saying ‘We poured them together and then they exploded so it might do that again’. We started by pouring some baking soda onto a large tray. We then mixed different colours with vinegar. As we did this the children noticed the smell of the vinegar, some liked it and others not so much! We asked if anyone had ever eaten vinegar and while some of the children didn’t believe that you could eat it, SD said ‘I did, I had it before with my dinner and the chips, it’s nice’. Each child then used a pipette to squeeze the colour of their choice onto the tray of baking soda. We all watched as the coloured vinegar bubbled and bubbled on the tray. When all the children had their turn, we decided to see what would happen if we mixed more than one colour together. We talked about what colours we thought we might make, everyone had another turn to see what colours we could see and watched as the colours on the tray changed from just red, yellow and blue to green, purple and orange too.
On Friday during circle time we talked about all the different experiments we had done during the week and the children decided that their favourite was making their own rain clouds. We read a story called ‘My Shadow’ and watched how our shadows moved on the floor, on the walls and on the grass in the garden. We then made some string paintings. Each of the children took some pieces of string, dipped them in paint and swirled them around their page to create different patterns. Some of the children decided to use their hands instead to mix the paint together on the page.
The children all appeared to really enjoy Science Week and were very interested in all the different experiments. Some more examples of different science experiments can be found here: