young boy dressed as scientist looking at beaker with protective glasses

Sensory-Based Science Projects for Little Kids

By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center

Children have a natural curiosity for the world around them and love to explore their environment by using all five senses. A great way to encourage a life-long love of learning at an early age is through science.  Kid-friendly science can be done rain or shine, indoors or out and can entertain your child for hours without involving screen time. Science can also be a great way to spend family time together and teach your little one how to carry out projects safely. Adult supervision is important when working on these “experiments.”

Here are three fun and safe science projects for your budding scientist:

Time for Slime!

One of the most popular projects these days is slime. However, many of the common recipes first introduced were later found to use ingredients that were not safe for children. Below is an easy, safe recipe for your child’s favorite glittery goo from Elmer’s.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tbsp contact lens solution
  • 6 fl oz Elmer’s Glitter Glue

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out an entire bottle of Elmer’s Glitter Glue into your mixing bowl.
  2. Add in ½ tbsp of baking soda and mix well.
  3. Stir in 1¼ tbsp of contact lens solution.
  4. Mix all ingredients together until you obtain the desired slime consistency.
  5. Take slime out of bowl, knead with hands and play!

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Sand Foam

This enjoyable sensory activity is fun for all ages and can be made more smooth or grainy, depending on your child’s texture preference.

Ingredients

  • 1 large container
  • 3 cups of sand
  • 1 can shaving cream

Instructions

  1. Pour 3 cups of sand into your container. Gradually add the shaving cream and combine using your hands. Continue to add more shaving cream until you reach the desired consistency.
  2. Allow your child to shape, flatten and cut shapes into the sand using sand toys and cookie cutters.

Tie-dye Milk

This activity is a fun, colorful way to teach kids how different types of liquids interact with one another. The activity shows how the fat in whole milk keeps the colors from mixing, but once the dish detergent is added, the degreaser basically “attacks” the milk fat, and causes the colors to mix together.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallow baking dish
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 different bottles of food coloring
  • Dawn dish detergent

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into your baking dish.
  2. Carefully put one drop of each of the food colors onto the surface of the milk. Make sure they are widely spaced and not in the center of the dish.
  3. Squeeze one drop of Dawn dish detergent onto the surface of the milk in the center of the dish and observe how all of the colors start to blend together to form a “tie-dye” design.

Sensory-based science projects are a fun, educational way to keep your child entertained and spend quality time together learning new concepts.

What science experiments have you tried with your family?

References:
http://elmers.com/slime
http://www.nipissingu.ca/education/jeffs/4284winter/pdfs/magicmilk.pdf

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