Inquiry-based Science Activities for Young Children

Anne Epstein

Why can’t I drink this milk with spots in it? Where does water go after it rains (or after I flush)? Teachers can harness preschoolers’ natural curiosity with simple “Kitchen Science” activities and build critical thinking skills at the same time. We will invite volunteers to explore the following: oobleck (surface tension with corn starch and water), run away pepper (surface tension with soap), Picasso-style color swirls (detergent action with whole milk and food coloring), and fizzy bubbles (classic chemical reactions with vinegar and baking soda). We will also explore a simple, safe electrical circuit that costs less than $5.00USD to build. Participants will discuss developmentally appropriate critical thinking questions (inference and analysis along with prediction and comparison) for each activity.