written by: Keren Perles
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 3/2/2012
Preschool students are busy learning about how the world works. You can help them understand their world with these science activities about air and temperature, planting and even breathing!
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Air and Temperature
Science activities should help your students/children find out about different parts of the world around them. This activity helps students learn about the relationship between air and temperature.
Make a dent in a ping-pong ball and show it to the children. Then place the ball into a cup of warm water, and tell the children to watch the ball. The dent will slowly push out. Explain to your child that when air gets warm, it expands, or becomes bigger. The air inside of the ping-pong ball expanded, so it pushed out the dent.
Ask preschoolers to guess what happens when air gets cooler, and then do this experiment to see if they are right. Fill a flexible plastic bottle about two-thirds full with water. Help children crush some ice into small pieces and quickly slide the crushed ice into the bottle and close the lid. Let the preschoolers take turns shaking the bottle slightly. The sides of the bottle will squeeze inward. Ask them what happened to the air in the bottle, and discuss that the air contracted, or became smaller.
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Bean Planting Ideas
Help preschool students plant a bean and watch how it grows. Wet a paper towel and press it against the inside of a foam cup. Slide the bean between the paper towel and the cup, and wait for it to grow. It shouldn’t take more than a few days for the bean to sprout, and the children will enjoy watching their plants grow before their very eyes.
You can help the preschool students do some simple experiments with plants. For example, try leaving one bean in a cup without water, and see whether it grows. Try leaving another bean in a cup in a dark drawer or closet, and see what happens. You can measure each plant every day and record how tall it is, or how many leaves it has. As the plants grow bigger, you can note which direction the plant grows (towards the sunlight?) or cover one leaf with foil for a day and see what happens when a leaf doesn’t get sunlight.
Have students draw pictures of their findings.
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Exercise and Breathing
Children are constantly breathing, but may not even realize it. Ask them to guess where the air goes when they breathe in. Show a picture of the respiratory system, and explain that the lungs are like huge balloons that take air in and breathe it out. Then, using a clock, have them count how many breaths they take in 20 seconds, breathing normally. Then run around with them to get their pulses up, and repeat the activity. Compare the two numbers, and discuss why they might breathe more after exercising.
These are great ways to get preschool children interested in the way the world works. If your class seem especially interested in any of these topics, take a field trip to the library to read some books together on the subject.