The basis of any simple experiment for little kids is the question
What happens if we … ?
So you can turn any activity with even little babies into an experiment just by changing it slightly and seeing what happens. Babies do notice differences. They may not say ‘Wow! Look at that!’ but even babies only a few months old will look longer at something unexpected. So you can try demonstrating these for your baby, or let your big kids go on their own.
1. Bouncing Balls – what happens if we:
- Use a different size ball?
- Drop it from a different height?
- Throw it rather than dropping it?
2. Dripping Water – what happens if we:
- Turn the tap a bit faster?
- Drip if from a different height?
3. Running – what happens if we:
- Run faster (how does our body feel, how far can we go)?
- Run for a long time?
- Run in circles?
- Run around an obstacle course?
4. Sand – what happens if we:
- Add water?
- Compare different sands?
- Dig a wider hole?
5. Growing Crystals – what happens if we:
- Use salt instead of sugar?
- Add some food colouring?
- Put in more/less?
- Use hot water?
6. Balloons – what happens if we:
- Blow it up more?
- Blow it up and let it down lots of times?
- Leave it blown up for a few days?
- Put in some water as well?
7. Shining a torch – what happens if we:
- Hold it closer to the ground?
- Shine it on different surfaces?
- Cover it with some cellophane?
8. Rattling things – what happens if we:
- Use a different container?
- Use something different inside?
- Shake faster?
- Hit it with something?
9. Water containers – what happens if we:
- Have different shapes and depths?
- Leave it in the sun?
- Pour water from a height?
- Splash it?
10. Bubbles – what happens if we:
- Put in some food colouring?
- Change the proportions of the bubble mix?
- Use different shaped blowers?
- Blow fast or slow?
There are 35 ideas here for simple science experiments that need very little equipment and preparation. They can be used whenever you’re bored with your toddler wanting to play in the sandpit again or want an activity to last a bit longer. On the other hand, be prepared for the activity to last a really long time once you start them!
What do you do around the home where you could ask “What happens if we …?”
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