From the perspective of a curious toddler, hands-on science experiments can be engaging and fun. And, from a parent’s point of view, experiments have additional benefits. They provide stimulating sensory experiences for toddlers while supporting their cognitive development. It’s a win-win scenario! 

Wondering where to start? Check out these four ideas for fun science experiments for toddlers.

#1: Will It Sink or Float?

For this experiment, all you’ll need is a plastic container or other tub you can fill with water. Then, have your child gather together toys and place them by the tub. One by one, your child can pick up a toy, decide if it will sink or float, and then find out by placing it in the water-filled tub. 

Meanwhile, you can observe and ask questions to keep your child engaged in the process. Some toys will sink right away, some will stay floating, and others will float for a while and then sink, which creates a great topic for conversation.

#2: Bubble Snake

Find a mismatched child sock or one with holes that you won’t use again. (The author notes that children’s size 6-10 works perfectly for this experiment.) Then, cut the bottom off an empty water bottle, stretching the sock over the open end and pulling it over the entire bottle. Fold the sock back a bit (the picture on the experiment page makes it easy to see what they mean by this step). 

In a small container, mix a “big squeeze” of dish soap with a half-cup of water to make bubbles. Dip the end of the sock and bottle into the mixture, and then allow your toddler to blow bubbles. Blowing lightly will create a big ball of bubbles; a hard breath will make a bubble snake. 

#3: Ice Painting

You’ll only need plastic containers and watercolors to paint this experiment. First, freeze water in a container before placing the resulting ice on a plastic tray. Put watercolors on the tray and invite your child to paint the ice and watch what happens when the ice melts. If your child would like a more permanent copy of their artwork, press a piece of paper on top before it melts too much!

#4: Vegetable Seeds

This experiment can be ideal when making dinner. Let’s say that you’re including red peppers in the meal. Simply put the seed-rich top of the pepper on a cutting board and give your curious toddler a small bowl and pair of tweezers. Then, your child can remove the seeds, placing them in the bowl—perhaps counting along the way, or discussing the colors and shapes.

Horizon Education Centers Toddler Program

Horizon incorporates enjoyable hands-on activities for cognitive development into our curriculum, including fun science experiments for toddlers—all in a safe and engaging environment. Learn more about our toddler care program and how to enroll your child.

Horizon Education Centers offer child care for toddlers at its Lorain and Cuyahoga County locations in Cleveland, Ohio.