Clubhouse Truth: Preschool Science Matters

It started with the weather forecast. 100+ degrees every day this week, for the first time this year. We go outside every day, so it was time to start adjusting to the Summertime heat. Enter, ice play. Simple, fun, and although the prep time lasts longer than the ice does around here, the Clubhouse Kids always love it.

Speaking of prep time, I turned to my very own kid for help with this one. He was more than happy to help fill muffin tins, balloons, heart shaped molds and small cups with water, food coloring, glitter, water beads, small letters, etc.

While we were working he says,
"Momma, this is a lot of water we're going to turn into a lot of ice!"

My reply, without even really thinking, was
"You're right. We're taking a lot of liquid and turning it into a lot of solid!"


and so it begins.

We started with 3 balloons. The Clubhouse Kids observed them closely.
"There's nothing in there!"

Exactly. We're going to change that though, so grab the Clubhouse Science Journal and let's get started.

We started with gas. First I asked, what can we put in the balloon?

That was simple.

Air is made up of gases all around us, but we don't see it. If you put some air into the balloon, it captures it.... then we can see it.
The oohs and aahs were adorable at this point.

"I see his air!"

"I'm exhaling in it!" 
(Love when they remember, and use, past words of the day.)

Now it was my turn. I blew balloons up  nice and full and let each child take a turn pinching the bottom, and then letting it go. 

Let's watch gas in action...
This they loved. Balloons whipping around the room while they ran around,

"The gas is going to get me."

"The gas makes a fart sound when it comes out of the balloon!"

Yes, that made me laugh.

Out loud.

This went on until I was pretty sure I was starting to see spots, so we took a break. They all got it though. Air is a gas, and at this point they thought this whole gas concept was awesome. I tied up some air balloons for further studies.

Moving on... 
We talked about how water is a liquid and we filled up our liquid balloons. At this point I stopped using the words water and air, and only said liquid and gas. 
We had liquid balloons and gas balloons, now it was time for solid balloons. Which of course, I already had on standby in the freezer (balloons filled with water, frozen overnight).

They quickly used the words I was using to describe the balloons, thus completely embracing the solid, liquid, gas concept. 

Never underestimate the power of your words ;)

Ok, now we each had three balloons, all filled up and ready for Scientific observations.

They squeezed them.
"The liquid is squishy in there."

They drooped them to see them swing.
"The liquid swings best."

They even weighed them, and check this out...
"The solid is heavier than the liquid."

A three year old just observed something I'm pretty sure I was taught in 3rd grade. I was thoroughly impressed. Without my prompting, actually without any real direction at all from me, they were making some very accurate conclusions. 

They continued observing and discussing their balloons for awhile. I was certain that by this point we would have had a popped balloon, but we didn't. So of course, the question I had been waiting for...

"Can we throw them?"

Of course we can. All in the name of scientific research, of course.

They started dropping balloons and reaching conclusions...

"Gas floats!"

Clubhouse Scientists, they never cease to amaze me.

"Solid hits hard, I can break it."
"Told ya I'd break it!"

Yes there are water beads in that ice egg, thanks to A Little Learning for Two for that idea.  They loved digging the beads out during our other ice play activities.

The liquid balloons were the most fun to drop, of course.
"The liquid one is water so it will splash."

The "floating gas" balloons weren't cooperating with the destruction factor, so the Clubhouse Kids had to get creative.

"It's really hard to pop the gas out!"

Yes that made me laugh. Out loud. Again.

Eventually they popped all of the liquid and gas, which led them to another conclusion...

"The solid didn't pop, but it's melting....." (little wheels turning in that 3 year old brain, I could just see it.) "...IT'S A LIQUID AGAIN!"

Brilliant, don't you think?

This was really fun, and something that I think can be used with older kids as well. Then you can introduce the discussion of space between particles, volume, size, etc. 

The best part is you don't have to wait until kids are older though. You can teach the three basic States of Matter to a bunch of three year olds, with three simple balloons.

Even in Preschool, Science matters ;)

If you like this post, 
and don't want to miss out on all of the Preschool Science fun, 
be sure to go "like" 

Ms. Liz

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1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful! We have the same sort of weather, and I am sure my kids would love this--I'll definitely be using it! I'm pinning it too--I'm so glad you shared it on Teach Me Tuesday!!