My First Science Experiment: a fun, simple, hands-on project you can do at home to fascinate preschoolers and kindergartners with the scientific method!

first science experiment at home preschool kindergarten hands on

My oldest son was 5 when he asked, “Daddy, can we do a science experiment?” My husband, a brilliant engineer and an awesome dad, was obviously delighted to oblige. John designed a simple experiment to explore with our son and daughter (then 5 and 3 years old) demonstrating the process of the scientific method at home! Since then, he’s recreated the same demonstration twice: once with our middle daughters (when they were also 5 and 3) and once with our youngest son when he was 4. Try this “Does it Float or Sink?” experiment with your own preschool or kindergarten children for hands-on science experiment fun!

easy beginner science experiment for preschool and kindergarten at home

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The Scientific Method Explained Simply for Preschool and Kindergarten

For our littlest learners, we can simplify the scientific method in this way:

  • Look Around! What do you see? (This is where we observe something in the world around us)
  • What do you want to know? (This is when we ask a testable question)
  • What do you think will happen? (This is your hypothesis)
  • Let’s see if we’re right! (Design a simple test, record what actually happens, and compare it to your hypothesis!)
science experiment with preschool and kindergarten

My First Science Experiment: “Does it Float or Sink?”

Even the smallest child understands the concept of floating or sinking through their personal experience. This conversation might come up in the pool, at the beach, or even in the bath tub. This is definitely a phenomenon they have already observed!

Next time you have the opportunity, bring this observation into the open, and ask your child if they know which things around them sink or float. This is when they begin asking questions and coming up with ideas and you get to tell them that they are actually a SCIENTIST because that’s what scientists do: they ask Big Questions!

my first homeschool science experiment

Set up the “Does it Float or Sink” experiment for your preschooler or kindergartner

It’s best if you’ve already prepared the simple materials before gently guiding the discussion with your young child so they don’t get distracted or bored. This shouldn’t take too long at all!

My husband has at times created a basic printed spreadsheet, and another time simply wrote the chart by hand on a piece of paper. You can do whichever you prefer, or use the simple chart I created for email subscribers (sign up in the sidebar or below for fun exclusives like this chart!)!

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early elementary science chart

At the top, list the question (“Does it Float or Sink?”), the child(ren)’s name(s), and the date.

Next, list each item you and your child have selected for your test. (Please make sure nothing will be permanently damaged by water! No mobile phones in the water, please.)

Beside each item, have your child make their prediction about whether it will sink or float. Do not guide them or ask them to think about it more or make any direction here at all! These is their hypotheses.

Now the time has come to test the hypotheses! You can use a sink filled with water, a plastic bin, or a bathtub. Place one item in the water at a time and observe what happens. Mark on your chart whether it sinks or floats. Make sure to give it a little bit of time; some items may begin floating but end up sinking!

Wasn’t that hands-on science experiment easy?

A hands-on science experiment with a preschool or kindergarten student should be a time of great joy and curiosity. High-five your young scientist and look over their chart. Did anything surprise them in the results? If they’re still interested, consider talking more about why something might have floated or sunk in unexpected ways.

hands-on science experiment at home for preschool and kindergarten

Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten is Fun!

Homeschooling your preschool or kindergarten student doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. Many of the most important lessons they learn occur as you read and play and explore together. Don’t let the contemporary obsession with the pressure to have a stellar STEM education make you worried. This simple experiment demonstrates how easy it can be to take 15 minutes to encourage the curiosity and wonder of your young scientists!

A few additional picture books to encourage the love of science with your preschooler and kindergartner

(I love book lists! Check out book lists for all ages on a variety of topics here!)

my first science experiment easy hands on STEM preschool and kindergarten at home
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3 thoughts on “My First Science Experiment: a fun, simple, hands-on project you can do at home to fascinate preschoolers and kindergartners with the scientific method!”

  1. How utterly precious and amazing that you have a picture of all of your kiddos doing this science activity! ❤
    The simplicity of this activity is what makes it so appealing. I love it!
    xo, Lauren

    1. It’s become such a precious family memory. John is not routinely involved in the details of our homeschool, but this is one special idea he had that he has wanted to do with each child. And, yes, I love how simple it is! We don’t do complicated over here. 😉

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