Science experiments are a fun way to keep curious minds engaged. These cool, hands-on science projects are easy to prepare and will keep your toddler entertained while learning along the way.
For some experiments, you may need to shop for ingredients, while for others you’re sure to have everything you need at home.
A little preparation before you begin
First, choose the right environment – where mess won’t matter – in the kitchen, the laundry or outside on the grass. Make sure you supervise your little one at all times. You don’t want ingredients getting into mouths, eyes or ears.
1. Foaming colour
You won’t be able to stop the giggles with this fun, foamy science experiment.
- Food colourings
- Baking soda
- Dishwashing liquid
- A glass or glass jar
- Small plastic containers
- A tray
Fill the glass jar halfway with vinegar. Add a few drops of food colouring and some glitter. Next, squeeze in some dishwashing liquid, stir and then place the jar on a tray.
If your child is old enough, they can now add a heaped teaspoon of baking soda, stir again and watch as the colour starts to foam.
If you want to keep the reaction going, add more baking soda and vinegar when the foaming slows down. To make it change colours, add a tablespoon of vinegar that has been mixed with food colouring into the centre of the brew.
The more you stir the mixture the more foamy it becomes!
2. Dissolve the shell of an egg
Your toddler won’t believe their eyes as they watch the shell dissolve right off an egg.
- An egg
- White wine vinegar
- Container – plastic or glass
Place an egg in the container, cover with vinegar. Straight away you and your toddler will see bubbles forming on the shell. This is the vinegar reacting with the egg. Pop into the fridge.
The shell will begin to disappear within an hour or two. Be patient! The longer you wait, the sturdier the outside of the egg becomes. Then your child can handle it and feel the texture.
If gentle, the egg will stay intact, but be prepared in advance in case it breaks into a gooey mess.
NOTE: Do not eat the egg!
3. Flowers that change colour
This super simple experiment takes a few days to see results so it’s also a good way for your toddler to learn patience!
- Picked flowers
- Different food colourings
- Glass, glass jar or vase
Fill the glass (one for each flower) with water. Add some food colouring that is different than the colour of the flower. Place the cut flower into the glass and put it somewhere out of reach, but where your toddler can watch it.
Have a peek every few hours to see if there is any difference. After two days, the process should be complete and you’ll see rings and dots of colour around the edges of the petals and even some through the veins on the petals.
Daffodils work well as do carnations. Experiment with different types of flowers and different colours. As your toddler sees the flower changing colour, explain how the flower is ‘drinking’ the water and that they get thirsty just like us!
4. Lava in a jar
Your toddler will be amazed as this glass of coloured water changes before their eyes.
- Vegetable oil
- Food colouring
- Original Alka Seltzer tablets
- A small cup or container
- A glass jar (one for each lava)
- A tray
Fill a glass jar halfway with water. Add one food colour. Next, break the Alka Seltzer tablets into two or three pieces and place in a small cup or container.
Fill a second glass jar about three quarters full with vegetable oil. Now pour in the coloured water until the liquid in the cup is about three to six centimetres from the top. This is where it’s good to use a tray underneath.
Let your toddler add a piece of an the Alka Seltzer table to the cup and watch the reaction!
BE CAREFUL – do not let them put the tablet in their mouth.
5. Magical dancing spaghetti
Watch spaghetti dance in this fun, fizzy experiment your toddler will want to do over and over again.
- Uncooked spaghetti
- 1 cup of water
- 5 teaspoons of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- A tall, clear glass jar
Put the water and baking soda into the jar and stir until the baking soda has dissolved. Break the spaghetti into three to four centimetre pieces and place about six pieces in the glass. Watch with your toddler as they sink to the bottom.
Next add the vinegar to the mixture in the glass jar and see what happens. Bubbles will form on the spaghetti and make it dance. When the dancing slows, just add more vinegar.
6. Soapy Souffle
Here’s a crazy science experiment your toddler will love. It’s a real winner, doesn’t take long and the ingredients are simple and cheap.
- Glass bowl
- Microwave safe plate
- Ivory soap
- Towel or large plastic mat
Fill the bowl with water and add the ivory soap. Let your child touch it as it floats. Remove the soap from the water and place it on the plate. Put the soap in the microwave for a minute or two.
What happens is amazing!!
Take out of the microwave and place on the towel or mat and watch your child ‘explore.’ Let them feel the texture which is really very different to most things in their world.
7. Tornado in a bottle
This is a favourite science experiment for kids of all ages. Your toddler will delight in the spinning water vortex in a bottle
- Clear plastic bottle with a lid
- Dishwashing liquid
- Glitter (optional)
Add water to the bottle until it’s about three quarters full, then place a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Sprinkle in a pinch of glitter which makes the tornado easier to see.
Next, put the cap on tightly. Turn the bottle upside down and hold it by the neck. Now spin the bottle quickly in a circular motion for a few seconds. Look inside to see if you can see the vortex starting to form.
There’s a bit of a knack to it but soon you’ll see your own little tornado in a bottle!
Supporting inquisitive minds at Petit
Petit Early Learning Journey believes in creating an atmosphere that awakens the love of learning, bringing forth a sense of wonder to uplift your toddler’s imagination.
Book a tour of one of our amazing, state-of-the-art centres near you and see what fun science-based projects your inquisitive toddler might enjoy!