Free Science Activities for Preschoolers
Is Yeast Alive?
- Discuss with students the concept of "alive" and "not alive." Preschoolers should understand that plants, animals and humans are alive, whereas rocks, chairs and books are not alive. Explain that some things may not look alive, even though they really are. Give students small piles of yeast grains and a magnifying glass, and encourage them to examine the yeast. Ask them if the yeast seems to be alive or not alive.
Add a teaspoon of dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to 1/4 cup of warm water. When the yeast causes the water to bubble and froth, explain that the yeast is really alive, and that when it ate the sugar in the mixture, it "burped" up the air that caused the water to froth. Make sure that students understand the connection between yeast and bread.
Playing with Static Electricity
- Give each student a balloon, and take one for yourself. Rub your balloon on a wool sweater to create a static charge. You can then demonstrate for students how the charge helps the balloon pick up an object, such as a single sheet of paper. Encourage students to rub their own balloons on the sweater and to see what other objects in the room the balloons can pick up. Point out that the balloons also can make students' hair stand up!
- Most high school physics classes teach students how to weigh substances using a triple beam balance. Preschool students can learn the basic concept of this equipment by understanding that one object can weigh more than the other, and that you can compare the two using a simple balance scale.
Give preschoolers two objects of different weights (such as a rock and a toy) and ask them which one they think weighs more. Show them how to put the objects on either side of the scale, and point out that the heavier one sits lower than the lighter one. Give them plenty of time to experiment with different objects on the scale to see which one weighs more.