Science activities for preschoolers: Toddler STEM

Science activities for preschoolers – where experiments meet fun! Preschool is an excellent time to teach your little ones about the exciting world of STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and math.

Keep reading to discover great resources for your budding scientists that are the perfect mix of fun, creativity, and of course – learning! We will share fun preschool science experiments, science projects, and a worksheet to introduce young children to key science concepts!

Also, while your littles are likely not yet at the age to be filling out paper worksheets themselves, I’ve created a simple “Scientific Method Worksheet” that you can complete together! You can download my preschool science worksheet template for free on Teachers Pay Teachers byclicking here. It’s also super handy to fill these out in case they absolutely love the activity and want to recreate it later!

science activity worksheet for preschoolers

science activities for preschoolers

1. Water Experiments

Water – The perfect medium for warm weather experiments and sensory play. These preschool science activities will teach kids critical thinking skills while they explore science with water!

  • Float or Sink
    • This is a simple fun activity that little kids love. Let your kiddo explore surface tension by simply gathering a variety of small items from inside and outdoors.
    • Then, test which ones will float or sink together! Like with all of these experiments, it’s best to ask your preschoolers what they think is going to happen – then take the opportunity to explain what “buoyancy” is as the experiment is happening.
    • Simply fill up a tub or bucket with lukewarm water, place the items inside, and see what happens! For added fun – Let them create little tinfoil “boats” to carry the items. See how many items you can pile on before the ship sinks.
  • Ice-Excavation
    • Why not let your children experiment with archeology by uncovering treasures of their own? Simply place some small items into a container with water and stick them in your freezer! This can be anything you have on hand – Or, create a themed experiment by buying packs of dinosaurs or marine toys at the dollar store. Even frozen lego could be fun!
    • Once frozen, place the ice block in a bin or on a cookie tray filled with “excavation tools” (shovels, pre-filled water bottles, etc). Let them use their imagination to uncover what’s inside! Kids love this classic experiment.
  • Walking Water
    • Teach your children the wonders of how water can travel via capillary action with just some cups, a paper towel or two, and food coloring. Kids learn about color mixing in this amazing experiment, but it’s as cool as a magic trick!
    • Follow along with this video by Ryan’s World and re-create the experiment with your children at home. This preschool science activity is so much fun that your young ones will probably forget they’re practicing science.

preschool sundial activity - STEM for toddlers

2. Solar Science Experiments

Sun-based learning is so much fun! Here are some simple ways to learn about solar energy through hands-on science activities.

  • Shadow Drawing
    • Simple, easy, yet engaging – my favorite! Ask your children to gather a few of their favorite toys, grab some scrap paper, and let them trace away along the edges of the shadows that pop up!
    • Experiment with moving the items around the page. This will show them how the sun’s orientation impacts the size and shape of the shadows. This is an awesome blend… A science experiment and art!
  • Homemade Sun Dial
    • By creating this fun experiment, you can teach kids about telling time from a young age.
    • Simply have them create and set up a super-simple sun dial of their own, like the one pictured above.
    • Next, let them see for themselves how the sun moves throughout the day. This is one fun preschool science activity that they can revisit on different days to see how it changes.
    • Explain that before using clocks, this method was used to tell time. Using just a circular object and a “gnomon” (a vertical stick), our ancestors would tell time by looking at which number the shadow was pointing to throughout the day.
    • Tracing the shadow line themselves will help them grasp this concept a little more deeply, too. Use PBS’ guide here to learn how to make this yourselves!
  • S’mores Solar Oven
    • No campfire to cook this yummy treat? No problem! Make a DIY s’mores oven, like the one from Little Passports, and get to cooking! Combining science and cooking has likely never been so fun. But, be sure to pack extra napkins – these treats are delicious but super messy!
  • Melting Rates with Colors
    • Again, simplicity is key here. Grab some strips of colored construction paper, including black if you have it, and a tray of ice cubes. Ask your little ones which color they think will make the ice melt fastest. For more detailed notes – set up timers and track how long each one takes to melt! This is an excellent opportunity to use those scientific method worksheets that I linked above.

preschool wind power toy boat activity - STEM for toddlers

3. Wind Science Activities For Preschoolers

Harness the natural power of wind at home with these exciting and easy science experiments for preschoolers!

  • DIY Kite
    • Which kid doesn’t love flying kites outside?! Store-bought kites are great, but why not try making them at home?
    • If you have multiple kids participating, compare which flies better while hypothesizing about why that could be. The best part about this is that you only need some string, sticks, string, and glue! PBS has a great tutorial worth checking out here.
  • Create your own Anemometer
    • Anemome-what? Isn’t that a mouthful! While preschoolers may struggle to say this fancy name for an instrument that measures wind speed and pressure, the activity itself is actually quite easy. Watch DIY Project’s video, then create your own anemometer and set them up outside to watch them spin in the wind! This is a fun way to learn about wind science in a way that kids understand.
  • Wind-Power Boat
    • I am simply in love with Clearway’s simple yet exciting tutorial about building your own renewable energy-powered boat! Click this link to have a read for yourself, and check out their prompts for scientific conversations to have with your young learners. Once it’s created, take your new boat out on the water – whether it’s in the tub, your pool, or maybe even to the lake!

preschool volcano science activity

4. Earth-Based Experiments

Growing up, our favorite kinds of games and activities were the ones that let us get our hands dirty! If your little one is as hands-on as my siblings and I were, these are great activity choices for you and your little scientists.

  • No-Bake Fossils
    • Is your young one a budding archaeologist? Maybe they have a fascination for all things fossilized? Check out this tutorial for no-bake fossils that they can create themselves by Crafts by Amanda – If they weren’t into fossils before, they likely will be now!
  • Color-Changing Volcanoes
    • Check out this super-cool volcano experiment by Preschool Inspirations. With a short supplies list of only a cup, water, baking soda and vinegar, dish soap, and food coloring, this one is sure to be a new favorite! Preschoolers love watching bubbles ooze out of the volcano, and the food coloring makes for a fun colorful surprise!
    • Perhaps if you have sand in your outdoor space you can encourage your little ones to make this look even more realistic by building a sand volcano around the cup?
    • Also, the only reason this is here (and not in the section below), is that it’s an earth science activity to get them thinking about the way volcanoes work.

science activities for preschoolers - ideas and experiments

5. Chemical Reaction Activities For Preschoolers

This is perhaps the most exciting science activity category, for myself and preschoolers! Watching them shout in delight as they get to watch chemical reactions boil, fizzle, and explode is always so much fun!

  • Build Your Own Lava Lamp
    • This classic science activity is so much fun, and inspires such interesting conversation! Plus – It’s cheap to make, easy to find the materials, and provides an opportunity for a great conversation about chemical reactions, the way different mediums interact (oil and water), and how “new” colors can be created by mixing together primary colors.
    • For this, simply fill your jars with 2/3 oil and 1/3 water, drop some food coloring in, and add Alka seltzer tablets. Start with half of one, then let them choose how many to put at a time!
    • Experiment with different water temperatures, too, to see if this changes the reaction. What happens when you use warm water? What about cold?
  • Self-Blowing Balloons
    • Teach your young ones about releasing stored energy by helping them visualize what this looks like. While the concept itself will be better grasped at an older age, this is a super-fun introduction to the concept. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland created a great video, Self-Inflating Balloon Experiment, and I’d highly suggest you check it out!
  • Melting With Salt & Ice
    • Sounds simple, right? It is! With some quick planning ahead, you can make frozen ice blocks that will fascinate your little ones while teaching them about freezing points in different mediums. Paging Fun Mums has an awesome article on this activity – just click here.

See – Isn’t science so fun?!

preschool science activity ideas

Conclusion

Your preschoolers are sure to love exploring these simple science activities! I hope you enjoyed reading about these preschool activities, as they are some of my favorite ways to introduce little kids to science. As they experiment, explore, and learn about scientific principles, they will also likely grow to love science!

Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson has her BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at UBC (Okanagan). She is currently in her second year of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Toronto, with dreams of becoming an elementary-level teacher.

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