Preschoolers love science experiments!
This experiment with lemons is simple and easy to set up for independent exploration and investigation.
And the best part, it uses items you likely already have in your kitchen!
Before presenting this invitation, it's best to do a little prep-work.
Slice your lemon in half, push holes in the pulp of the lemon, this gives space for the colors to settle.
Mix your food coloring with a little water and put into small containers for your preschooler. We used paint palette trays, small cups would also work.
A dropper works well for adding the color, if you don't have one you can use medicine cups or even spoons would work.
Be sure your dish soap is in a manageable container for little hands, if your dish soap is jumbo sized, consider adding some to a small cup instead.
Put some baking soda into a small cup and add a spoon.
You might be wondering how much of each material you need...you can just eyeball it, you only need a small amount of each. I gave a little more than I thought they needed in case they wanted to explore freely after the initial exploration.
If you want to add a math component you can write out a simple recipe and supply measuring spoons.
Introduce the materials to your preschooler. See which materials they can identify, identify the unknown materials for them.
Ask which materials they have used before. Have they tasted a lemon? (have extra available for a taste test) Have they ever used watercolors or painting with a dropper? When have they used dish soap? What does it do? How about baking soda? If your preschoolers have experimented with baking soda and vinegar they may have some predictions to share about this experiment.
Write down their hypothesis to recall after the experiment.
add some color
Invite your preschooler to add some color to the lemon. We used watercolors. Next time I would water the colors down more, however the bold coloring turned out really cool!
Add Dish soap
Squeeze some dish soap from the bottle. I instructed them to use a "small amount", if we wanted to do the experiment again we could talk about using more/less and what might happen. We would also talk about measurement so we could compare the amount used.
**You could do this experiment with multiple lemons at once and add different amounts to each to see the differences.
Add Baking Soda
Time for the final ingredient!
Add the baking soda, and watch the reaction. The reaction is slower than doing the baking soda/vinegar experiment. This was great because it allowed more time for observation!
You can talk with your preschooler about how the components are all blending together and causing a reaction.
After observing for a bit, they pressed the baking soda down into the lemon to get a bigger reaction.
After the experiment invite your preschoolers to talk about it as a group. If you are doing this one-on-one, invite your child to call a family member and tell them about it.
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