E Is For Experiment

Who says preschoolers are too young for science? These engaging activities will fascinate them and teach them useful concepts for primary school, too.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Who says preschoolers are too young for science? These engaging activities will fascinate them and teach them useful concepts for primary school, too.

Kids in Singapore start formal science lessons only in Primary 3, but there’s so much you can do with your preschooler before that.

Introduce your little one to scientific concepts in a safe and fun way with these cool activities from Amy Lim, senior principal at Kinderland (Yio Chu Kang).


WHAT TO DO Make your own bubble solution with dishwashing detergent and water. Create bubbles using straws or pipe cleaners as bubble wands.

Now try making new bubbles by adding glycerine, corn syrup or vinegar to the soap solution. Which ingredient makes longerlasting bubbles?

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS Chemistry, surface tension.

FUN FACT The secret to making bubbles is surface tension. Adding soap to water changes the surface tension, creating bubbles. When glycerine, corn syrup or vinegar is added to the same water, it lowers the surface tension, so bubbles last longer.


WHAT TO DO Do different activities with water, such as filling up containers of different sizes.

Ask your child open-ended questions on measurement, weight and volume.

These help promote predicting skills and sharpen problem-solving abilities.

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS Measurement, weight, volume.

FUN FACT Weight is the force on an object due to gravity. Volume is the space an object or substance occupies, measured in litres and millilitres. The same volume of two different substances may have different weight.


WHAT TO DO Create a seesaw with a ruler as the plane and a toilet roll as fulcrum. Balance the plane with equal weight on both ends.

Then, move the fulcrum to either end of the plane. Can you balance the plane as you did earlier, with materials of different mass?


FUN FACT The lever is one of the six simple machines, which helps lift heavy objects with less effort.

There are three classes of levers: A seesaw is a first-class lever; a wheel barrow is second, while tongs are third.


WHAT TO DO Write a list of tasks on blank cards. Group them under a “To do” list. Use vocabulary such as “measure”, “observe” and “experiment” to define the actions that your child needs to perform.

A younger child can create cards with illustrations and words to assist with word recognition.

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS Picture-text association, reading, writing.

FUN FACT These cards can double as flash cards for words or sentence formation games. Flash cards are a handy resource and a great way to present, practise and recycle vocabulary.


WHAT TO DO Create different kinds of ramps with drops, hills, jumps and loops by using toilet rolls, cardboard, tissue boxes and a pair of scissors.

Place a marble or table tennis ball on the ramp. Did the marble or ball travel faster as it went farther down the ramp?

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS Inclined planes, speed, weight, shapes.

FUN FACT The inclined plane is one of six simple machines. An inclined plane makes it easier to raise something heavy, such as a rock. Instead of lifting the rock straight up, you can raise it from its original location with less force by pushing it up a ramp.


WHAT TO DO Mix powder paint with some oil. Drop the mixture into a tray of water. Observe how the paint stays afloat on the water.

Mix in oil paint of different colours and observe the change. When done, place a piece of drawing paper on the water surface and then remove it to unveil a piece of art.

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS Chemistry, liquids, properties of materials.

FUN FACT Water and oil do not mix because they have different densities. Density is a measurement of how solid something is.

Oil is less dense than water so it floats on water.


WHAT TO DO Tape straws or cardboard cutouts onto a box lid to create a maze. Have your child plot two or more paths through the maze. Create a “start” and a “finish” point.

Drop a marble ball into the maze, then lift and tilt at any angle to guide the marble to the “finish” point within the shortest time.

CONCEPTS YOUR KID LEARNS 3D objects, measurement, spatial awareness.

FUN FACT Making a marble maze promotes spatial understanding and awareness in a child. It helps her develop an organised knowledge of objects in relation to herself in a given space. The fun is endless with marble maze.