Here are four more easy experiments to try with your older early learner!

1. Glitter slime!

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Pour 6-8 oz. of your favorite color glitter glue into a plastic container. Then, pour in 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in ¼ cup of liquid starch (available at most grocery stores or Amazon). Stir until the liquid starch is no longer visible and the glue has the consistency of slime. Add more liquid starch if too watery—more water if too thick. Play! Store in a plastic bag or plastic container when finished. The slime should last for one to two weeks.

 

2. Make your own geodes (borax crystals)

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This science experiment takes a little time and steps are primarily completed by adults—but it’s worth it! Use your judgment to decide which steps your older early learner can do.

  1. Set up a tall, clear recycled or disposable glass. We purchased two at Goodwill for 50 cents. Then, boil enough water to fill the glass midway to the top.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, take a pipe cleaner and have your early learner fold it into their favorite shape. (Ours were folded into blobs!) Next, take a piece of dental floss, string, or ribbon and tie it around the shaped pipe cleaner. Tie the other end to a chopstick, pen, or piece of flatware that will balance on your glass.
  3. Pour your boiling water into the glass. Then, stir 3 or more tablespoons of borax into the water. Stop putting in borax when you see that the water will no longer absorb it.
  4. Finally, lower the pipe cleaner into the water. Don’t let it touch the sides! Make sure that the chopstick or other item is secure on the top of the glass. Cover the glass with a cloth and leave for at least six hours (preferably more). The picture below shows crystals after 24 hours.
  5. Feeling adventurous? Try with both metallic and non-metallic pipe cleaners!

Questions to ask:

  1. After the crystals form, remind your early learner what materials were used in the experiment. Ask, what do you think formed the crystals?
  2. What would happen if we left the pipe cleaners in the solution even longer?

 

3. Shaving cream rain clouds

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This is a favorite—and very economical. Fill a large glass ¾ full with water. Then, cover with a shaving cream “cloud.” Additionally, fill 4-6 glasses with about an inch of water. Then, place 3-4 drops of food coloring in each glass. (We used six so we could mix to make purple and orange.) Stir, and then decide what color you’d like it to rain first! Take a plastic eyedropper and allow your early learner to drop as many drops as they’d like into the large glass with the shaving cream. Finally, watch the colors go through the cloud!

Questions to ask:

  1. Why didn’t some colors go all the way through the cloud? (Use this question when your early learner doesn’t add enough colored liquid with the eyedropper.)
  2. How many colors can you see in the cloud? In the water?

4. Make your own plastic!

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This experiment can be used to make Christmas ornaments, or objects to display! Heat approximately a cup of milk in the microwave so that it is just hot, not boiling. (We used 2%, and it worked just fine.) Next, stir in four tablespoons of vinegar. This creates a substance called “casein” (just in case you have a future scientist on your hands!). Continue stirring until the casein clumps together. Then, use a strainer to separate the liquid from the solids. Push down on the casein so that all moisture is eliminated. You’re now ready to shape the plastic the way you want, use cookie cutters to make shapes, or play with it!

Questions to ask:

  1. What made the casein (milk solids) form
  2. Why do you think we need to heat the milk before stirring in the vinegar? (This is a hard question, but allows your early learner to start to recognize the differences between hot and cold liquids.)

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Topics: Child care

Claudia Auger

Written by Claudia Auger

A volunteer for Child Care of Southwest Florida