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Science with a 3-Year-Old

On Friday, I was handed a "science kit" as I collected my 3 year old from nursery. It looks like all the kids get handed it at some point and asked to do some of the experiments and write something in the book about the experience.

So we decided it was good thing to do on a wet and windy Saturday. I looked out my old lab coat from university and my old prescription safety glasses so that the two of us could match.

Experiment 1: Mixing colours

This experiment involved adding food colouring to water in some test tubes then mixing them. Ideally we would have used the primary colours but we didn't have any yellow, so we could only make purple. But the young scientist seemed to enjoy it all the same.

Experiment 2: Sink or float

This experiment, as you can probably tell from the title, was to half fill a beaker with water, then place random objects into the water to see if they sank to the bottom or floated on the top.

The instructions asked to guess whether the item would sink or float before putting it in the water. The young scientist disagreed with this method. It took too long and we were better just putting things in the water.

Experiment 3: Dancing rasins

This was on of my favourite experiments as a kid. Replace the still water with something fizzy and repeat the previous experiment with rasins.

As the carbon dioxide bubbles form on the surface of the rasins, they are lifted to the top. There the bubbles burst and the rasins sink.

I think the young scientist enjoyed watching this experiment but was anxious to get back to mixing things.

Experiment 4: The volcano

The old favourite, mix sodium bicarbonate with vinager and red food colouring.

Rather than using the provided beaker, I decided to be cleaver and look out an old conical flask. Being not so cleaver, I didn't notice that the flask volume was about 4 or 5 times greater than the beaker and so my initial quantities of bicarb and vinager were much too low.

But we eventually managed to shove enough into the flask to get the desired effect.


It was a fun way to spend nan hour while making a mess of the dining room.

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