Here are 3 easy chemical reactions for preschoolers to do to learn about chemistry. These simple science experiments are safe, and educational, and they’re done with supplies you already have around your house. Your kids will make baking soda fizz, they’ll make a diet coke explosion and they’ll turn a liquid to a solid with these fun and fascinating activities.
It’s easy to find ways to teach young kids about biology and physics because there are so many examples in everyday life. We have loads of easy science activities here among the pages of my blog. But teaching chemistry to toddlers and preschoolers may seem more challenging because we’re limited when it comes to chemicals that preschoolers can safely explore.
Happily, Alana, from Parenting From The Heart, is with us today to demonstrate 3 simple chemistry experiments that you can do at home with your toddlers and preschoolers. The ingredients used in these experiments are safe (supervision is still required of course), and the reactions that take place when they’re combined will delight and fascinate your kids.
These chemical reactions are perfect for homeschool, daycare or the preschool classroom, and a great way to introduce young children to science. Over to you, Alana!
I’m a self-proclaimed science nerd. In university, I took up a job as a groundskeeper – weeding, sweeping, and even cleaning bathrooms – just to be able to work at a marine science centre and to have the chance to go behind the scenes whenever I was at work.
Since having kids, I love any chance to learn along with them and to pass my love of science along to them.
During the winter, we love to go to science museums. This is great place for kids to learn about physics.
When summertime hits, we go to the beach to examine tide pools, or to go on nature walks and talk about what we see. These opportunities are wonderful for understanding basic biology.
Finding ways to teach my preschoolers about chemistry seemed like it would be a bit trickier, but I’ve found some simple chemical reactions that we can do with supplies and ingredients that we already have around the house.
3 Easy Chemical Reactions For Preschoolers
Maybe it’s because I didn’t study chemistry in school. Or maybe it was because I was just overthinking things. Either way, it took me a while to figure out that preschool chemical reactions can be quite simple and fun!
If you’re wondering how to teach kids about chemistry, here are three preschool chemical reactions my kids enjoy doing again and again.
Baking Soda Fizz Experiment:
This preschool science experiment is about as basic as it gets but it’s lots of fun. While exploring this chemical reaction, kids will witness hydrogen ions (vinegar) reacting with sodium and bicarbonate (baking soda). This creates carbonic acid and sodium acetate. Kids are also working on fine motor skills (needed for printing). Add in food colouring and cardstock and they’re also engaging in process art.
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Supplies for Baking Soda Fizz Chemical Reaction:
- Bin or pan
- Plastic cup
- Box of baking soda
- Food colouring (optional)
- Medicine droppers or pipettes
- Card stock
How to do the Baking Soda Fizz Experiment:
Empty a box of baking soda into a pan or bin. Spread it out evenly.
Get kids to drop different food colouring combinations throughout the baking soda.
Fill a plastic cup with vinegar.
Using pipettes or medicine droppers, have the kids drip or squirt the vinegar on to the baking soda.
Once they have seen the fizzy chemical reaction happen again and again, they can press card stock on top of the baking soda and vinegar to make a coloured impression!
Diet Coke and Mentos Explosions:
I highly recommend doing this outside in a place you can hose off. My kids and I use our kiddie pool for fun and messy activities like this. It works great for this experiment because the chemical reaction creates quite a geyser.
To understand why the mentor and Diet Coke react together the way they do, and to see the experiment in action, check out the awesome Steve Spangler video below:
Supplies for Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment:
- Bottle of Diet Coke – other soda will work too – just not as well
- Original Mentos – the flavoured variety has a candy coating
How to do the Mentos and Diet Coke Experiment:
Take your kids outside.
Using a large container or an empty driveway, open the bottle of Diet Coke and have your children drop the Mentos into the bottle.
Then back up fast!
Dripping Slime Experiment:
The first time we did this activity, my kids were under the age of three. Years later, this is still one of their favourite activities of all time. They are now old enough to execute the entire chemical reaction on their own.
You can make Dripping slime with Borax and water, or you can create the same chemical reaction with with saline solution (it must contain boric acid) and baking soda.
This chemical reaction works because the borax forms borate ions that bind to the liquid-like polymers in the glue. This makes the glue flow less easily becoming more of a solid.
Add in the cooling rack and scissors and this activity becomes great for fine motor skill practice too.
Note: if using Borax, this activity should not be done with children who might taste or mouth the slime.
Supplies to Make Dripping Slime:
- 1 cup hot tap water
- 1 tsp Borax
- White school glue
- 1/4 cup tap water (temperature doesn’t matter)
- food colouring (optional)
- Colander or cooling/baking rack
- Scissors (optional)
Making your slime:
Measure one cup of hot water and mix in Borax until fully dissolved.
In a separate container, combine glue, 1/4 cup of water and food colouring.
Mix well, and then mix in the water-Borax mixture. There will be excess water left over in the bowl. That’s okay.
Then, hang a cooling rack or colander. We’ve used cupboard handles or balanced a cooling rack across two chairs. Make sure the floor below isn’t carpet.
Place the slime on the cooling rack. Wait. It can take a while. Slowly, you’ll see the slime drip down.
Encourage kids to grab scissors and cut the drips.
So, you see? Explaining chemical reactions to preschoolers really isn’t hard at all with easy science experiments like this! Now that you’ve seen how fun and easy it can be, I hope you’ll try them with your kids.
More fun and easy preschool science activities:
Be sure to check out this collection of 20 easy science activities for toddlers and preschoolers.