Teaching the concepts of hot and cold is a fun way to get your preschooler involved in science. This is something they can feel on their own and most likely already understand the difference between by the age of 3, so the experiment isn’t beyond the grasp of their understanding. And who doesn’t love to play with water and ice! Let’s do hot and cold science experiments for preschoolers!
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What You Need for Hot and Cold Science Experiments for preschoolers:
- 2 bowls
- Hot water (not too hot)
- Optional: a small stone or rock
How to Do the Science Experiment for preschoolers:
Before this experiment, we read the story Fireflies in the Night as part of our Summertime Activity Plans. The story talks about how hot and cold affect the firefly’s light, so it provides the perfect opportunity to then talk about hot and cold.
First, add water to the bowls.
To one bowl add the warm water. To the other add cool water from the faucet.
Then give your little one a cup of ice. Let them touch the ice and talk about what it feels like. Then have them dip their fingers in the bowl of warm water to feel the difference between the two.
Next, let your preschooler pour a few ice cubes in the cool water. While they sit in the water, also put a few in the hot water. Ask them what happens to the ice cubes as they watch.
Why did the ice cubes melt? What does the water feel like now?
Now look back at the cool water bowl. What has happened to the ice? It shouldn’t have melted as much, but the water should be cooler to the touch as well.
Allow them to play with the water and ice cubes as much as they want, keeping the discussion going about what they feel and why they think it happened. Just have fun with it!
Extra credit science experiment:
If you want to keep the experiment going, give your toddler the warm rock now.
(To warm the rock, put it in a 200 F oven for just a few minutes. You want it warm to the touch, but not hot enough to burn.)
Now put an ice cube on top of the warm rock. What happens to the ice cube? How does the rock feel now? Put the rock in a bowl of ice. What happens to the rock?
Again, let your little one lead the experiment and have fun as they explore the concepts of hot and cold!