Air – How do you use air? Have the child breathe in and out. Can you see air?
Turn a glass upside down and immerse it in water. Tip it to the side to let the bubbles up. What was in the glass?
Blow up balloons or a paper bag. What happens to the shape? Air takes up space.
Make your own bubbles by mixing 3 Tb. liquid detergent, 1 Tb. glycerine (you can buy this at the drug store), and 1 cup water, Use a berry basket, plastic six pack holder, pipe cleaner, and other unusual shapes to make your bubbles.
Water – Water comes in many forms. Fill a glass with water and mark the water line. Freeze it and mark the line where the ice goes to. What happens to water when it freezes?
Give the child an ice cube to play with on a hot day. What happens to the ice? What makes it melt?
Ask the child what other things do they think will melt. Put the items they suggest on the playground and observe.
Give the child a pan of water and an assortment of items that will sink or float on the water. Let the child predict what will happen, then put them in the water to find out. Have the child categorize the objects that “sink” and “float” and summarize their results.
Some materials dissolve in water. Give the child a glass of water, a spoon, and salt, sand, sugar, pepper, oil, and other items to test. Let the child predict what will happen and then try to dissolve the materials in the water.
Some substances absorb water. Give the child an eye dropper and coloured water. Put a sponge, cotton, paper towel, foil, wax paper, and Styrofoam on a tray and let the child experiment to see which surfaces absorb the water.
Light – Some materials are transparent and some are opaque. Collect different types of fabric, paper, and objects that the child can hold up to the light to determine if they are transparent or opaque, or let the child experiment with a flashlight.
Make shadows with the light from a filmstrip projector or the flashlight.
Make silhouettes of the child’s shadows.
Put several objects on blue or purple construction paper and set them in the sun. What does the sunlight do to the paper?
Take a shoe box and cut a small peep hole in one end. Put a picture at the opposite end and ask the child to look in the box. Can he/ she see anything? Open the lid of the box. Can the child see anything now? Why?
Mirrors and Lenses – Let the child experiment with hand mirrors.
Give the child foil on the playground to experiment with.
Ask the child to write his/ her name, then hold them up in front of a mirror. What happens?
Give the child old glasses. What happens when you look through them?
Let the child look at various objects at home and in the playground with a magnifying glass.
Take a clear glass of water and put a pencil in it. What happens?
Give the child a kaleidoscope to experiment with.
Colour – Prepare the three primary colours (red, blue, and yellow) and let the child mix them at the easel.
Give the child a small ball of red, blue, and yellow play dough. Let the child pinch of small pieces and squeeze them together to make new colours.
Make colour paddles by gluing coloured cellophane to cardboard cut-outs. You can also tape cellophane to the ends of cardboard rollers to make colour telescopes.
Take clear plastic cups and fill them with water. Experiment making different colours with food colouring.
What would the world be like if there were no colours?
Electricity – To make static electricity, darken the room and shuffle your feet across a rug, then touch metal. (This works better in cold weather.) You can also make static electricity by rubbing two balloons together.
Magnets – Look around the school and house for magnets. Give the child a box of objects and let the child separate those that the magnet will attract from those that the magnet does not attract. Can he/ she generalize the results?
Will magnets attract through other materials? Put a paper clip in water and see if the magnet will attract it. Move a paper clip through a sheet of paper wit a magnet.
Experiment with a bar magnet, horseshoe magnet, and refrigerator magnet to see which one is the strongest. Sprinkle iron filings in a box of sand and let the child separate them with a magnet.
Gravity – Why do things fall to the ground? Gravity is the force that pulls things to the earth, If you drop a feather and a rock, which one will land first? Why? Experiment by dropping various objects.