Earth Day Absorption Science

Water is a fantastic “chemical” to do science experiments and investigations with.  I love this easy water absorption activity, especially for the littlest tots.   Easy to set up with cotton make-up pads, some water and droppers.  Using blue and green water, this makes a perfect Earth Day STEAM activity.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Small tray/plate or cookie sheet
  • cup of blue water
  • cup of green water
  • dropper
  • Round cotton pads

Show your little one a picture of the Earth.  We spent some time talking about our planet and where we live on the planet, that the blue was oceans, the green and brown was the land and the white were the clouds.

Next, I gave them a cup of green water, blue water, dropper and a cotton pad and told them to drip the colored water onto the pad to create their own Earth.

The tots LOVE droppers!

The youngest ones dipped their pads in the water or dumped the water onto their pads.

The older ones were particular about where to place the green and blue drops.

They were so proud of their Earths!

The Science Behind the Activity:

I love using droppers whenever possible as it is a great way to strengthen muscles in preparation for learning to write AND it develops fine motor skills, both of which are vital as pre-writing skills begin emerging.  It’s also a great way to watch how water gets “sucked up” by the cotton pad and to introduce big words such as “absorb” and absorption” to their expanding vocabulary.

Visit this link to see where I got my “wet” idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/earth-day-water-science-experiment/

For more Earth Day activities, try the following:

Also, if you like this activity, you will LOVE the Water Absorption Tray!  Another easy water science activity that you can put together with whatever you have at home!

Water Absorption Tray

Water is a fantastic “chemical” to do science experiments and investigations with.  I love this Water Absorption Investigation Tray for toddlers and preschoolers.  Easy to set up with whatever you have at home and it’s sure to keep your little ones interested for a while.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Small tray/plate or cookie sheet
  • cup of water (I added color to mine because colors make everything more fun!)
  • dropper
  • Materials to test (we used: cloth towel, paper towel, styrofoam, plastic wrap, foil, sponge, cotton pads)

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Cut your materials into small sizes for testing.  Arrange them on the tray with a cup of water and a dropper.

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Give the tray to your child and ask them what they think will happen when water is dripped onto each material.  With older children ask them to explain why.  Let them test each material individually.  Ask them if their prediction was right.  Let them explore.

Some materials absorbed and soaked up the water.

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Some materials did not absorb the water and formed “blobs”.

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There was some pouring and some squeezing as they tested each of their materials.

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This was perfect for toddlers as well as preschoolers.  And you can use whatever you have at home and repeat over and over again.

The Science Behind the Activity:

I love activities like this because they are open ended and require no instructions for kids.  Using droppers helps strengthen those little fingers in preparation for writing as well as developing fine motor skills.  Testing each material individually and watching what happens helps them with cause and effect.  Several of the tots were surprised at how the water droplets behaved differently on the different materials.   The exploration was so fun to watch as some poured, some used droppers, and some squeezed out the sponges and towels.  One little boy had fun dragging the “blob” of water around on the sytrofoam.  SO MUCH learning to be had from a simple little tray filled with scraps of paper, plastic and fabrics.

Visit this link to see where I got my “wet” idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/preschool-water-science-experiment/

Fireworks in a Jar

New Year’s Eve  is coming up and here’s an easy colorful way to get your holiday started with some science!  Just 3 ingredients from your pantry.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • water
  • oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • food coloring
  • clear empty glass jar (we needed two because each of my older boys had to have their own)
  • clear small glass bowl
  • fork

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First we filled the empty jar with water. We filled 2 jars because my older sons MUST have their own jars.

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In the small bowl, we added about 1/3 cup of vegetable oil.  The actual amount doesn’t really matter.

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Add a few drops of food coloring to the oil.  We added a few drops of each color.

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Notice that the food coloring doesn’t mix or dissolve but remains in droplets in the oil.  Use a fork to mix the droplets with the oil.  The color will not dissolve but the droplets will break into smaller droplets which is what you want.

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Now the fun part!  Pour the oil into the jar with water.

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The oil will float at the top because oil and water do not mix and oil is less dense than water.

Be patient.  In less than a minute, you should see the colors drip from the oil and into the water, looking like fireworks in the water.

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The different colors will mix and form new ones.  It really is so fascinating to watch!

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Even our littlest superhero came over to see what the fuss was all about.  He promptly shook the jar as toddlers usually do 🙂  Good thing I took pictures before he got to experimenting!

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The Science behind the Activity:

Oil and water are known to be immiscible, meaning they do not mix or dissolve into each other.  Chemically this is because water is polar and oil is nonpolar.  Food coloring dissolves readily in water but does not dissolve in oil.  When the oil is poured into the water, the oil will float on top of the water for 2 reasons: 1. because water and oil don’t mix and 2. because oil is less dense than water.  As the drops of food coloring fall to the bottom of the oil layer, they meet the water and immediately mix and dissolve, creating the pretty swirls.

For more details and to see where I got this idea from visit this link:  http://www.exploratorium.edu/blogs/spectrum/fireworks-bottle