January 2009



Skills: observing; experimenting

Materials: balloon (Use a large balloon and blow it up first to make sure it will inflate easily.), permanent marker, bottle, vinegar, baking soda, spoon, and funnel

Directions: Blow up the balloon and draw a happy face on it with the marker. Put ½ cup of vinegar in the bottle. Put several spoonfuls of baking soda in the balloon using the funnel. Insert the end of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Hold up the balloon so the baking soda falls in the bottle and watch what happens. What made the balloon blow up? Have children draw pictures in sequential order of how this experiment was conducted.


Skills: experimenting; exploring

Materials: cornstarch, water, food coloring, measuring cup, bowl, and spoon

Directions: Put one cup of cornstarch in the bowl. Slowly stir in about ½ cup of water. (You may need to add a little more water to make it the right consistency.) Add a few drops of food coloring to the mixture. Try to pick up your mystery mess and play with it. How is it like a solid? How is it like a liquid?


Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: 6 paper plates scissors, stapler red, yellow, and blue cellophane or acetate (Report covers are made from clear acetate and can be found at office supply stores.)

Directions: Using a paper plate as a pattern, cut circles out of the acetate. Cut the centers out of the plates as shown. Staple a different color of acetate in between two paper plate rims. Let children experiment by looking through each color. Next, let them put two colors together and hold them up to the light. Encourage the children to name the two colors they put together (primary colors) and the color that they create (secondary color).

Color Paddles

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Adaptations: Take the color paddles out on the playground and experiment with them.


Skills: observing; predicting

Materials: small mirror, paper, pencil, attached sheet (click to download)

Directions: Place the mirror next to the pictures.

Adaptations: Let children make their own designs and half pictures to reflect in the mirror.

Have children write their names and then hold the mirror next to it. Why does it appear backwards?


Skills: observing; experimenting

Materials: ice cube tray, eye droppers, food coloring, cups of water

Directions: Prepare 3 cups of water with the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). Let the children take the eye dropper and mix a few drops of each color. What happens? What colors make purple? Green? Orange?

Color Mixing

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Adaptations: Give the children crayons and paper to record their results. Let children experiment with water colors to create a color wheel.


Skills: experimenting; observing; predicting

Materials: zip sandwich bag, sharp pencil

Directions: Fill the sandwich bag with water. Hold the pencil and say, “What do you think will happen if I stab this pencil in the bag?” Take the pencil and quickly insert it through the bag. What happened? Why?

In the Bag

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Skills: observing; experimenting

Materials: wooden toothpicks, eye dropper, water

Directions: Take 5 toothpicks and bend them in the middle. Do not break them apart. Place the bent edges together in the middle to make a 10 pointed star. How can you turn it into a 5 pointed star without touching the toothpicks. (Let children brainstorm all the possibilities.) Take the eye dropper and put a drop of water in the middle of the 10 pointed star. Observe as the toothpicks move to form a five pointed star. What made the toothpicks move?


Skills: observing; experimenting

Materials: Styrofoam meat tray or Styrofoam plate, clear plastic wrap, tape, tiny objects (coin, flower)

Directions: Cut a circle in the middle of the Styrofoam plate or food tray. Tape clear plastic wrap across the top. Pour a little water on top to cover the circle. Look through the water at the tiny objects. What happens to them?

Water Magnifier

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Adaptations: Fill a clear glass with water. Put a pencil in the glass and look at it from the side. Does the pencil look broken? Why? What happens when you stick your finger in the water? Why?

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