Saturday, August 24, 2013

Science Experiments for Two-Year-Olds

1. How Does a Seed Grow?

After reading The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, discuss what happens to the seed and what makes seeds grow (water, sunlight, soil, air). Provide your child with relatively easy-to-grow seeds (we tried snow peas and calendulas) and encourage him/her to explore the soil and plant the seeds. Ask your child what they think will happen to the seeds if we water them and leave them in the sunlight. Ask your child to predict which type of seed will grow the fastest.

Emphasize the importance of your child's responsibility to water the seeds every day. Observe what happens over the next week weeks/months, and have fun! Ryan is proud of his hard work and enjoys taking care of his plants and watching them grow over time.

Our snow peas started growing in less than a week, but we are still waiting for the calendulas after about 5 weeks.

2. Living or Nonliving?

Read Living and Nonliving by Angela Royston, which explains the characteristics of living things (including growth, moving on their own, using their senses, breathing, eating/drinking, getting rid of waste, etc). Ask your child to think about people, animals, and plants, and how they are different from toys, cars, and clothes. Cut pictures out of magazines and see if your child can sort them on a mat, into the categories of either "living" or "nonliving".

Afterwards, take a field trip to a zoo, farm, or pet store, and ask your child if he/she thinks that they will see more things that are living or nonliving. Keep track of the number of things that you find by making tally marks on a paper.

3. Sink or Float?

Read Sink or Float by Lisa Trumbauer, and ask your child to search for objects around the house that they want to use in our sinking and floating experiment. Ask your child which things they think will sink and which ones they think will float. Have your child toss each object, one at a time, into a big bucket of water and see if their predictions were correct.

Ryan enjoyed this experiment so much that he repeated it over and over again, for literally thirty minutes, while I watched him from the window. Too funny!

4. Is it Magnetic?

After reading What Magnets Can Do by Allan Fowler, present your child with their own large magnet to experiment with. Help your child to gather objects from around the house, predict which ones are magnetic, and experiment to see which ones are/are not. Group the objects into the categories of "Yes" and "No" and discuss (the only metals that magnets attract are: iron, steel, cobalt, and nickel, aka the "magnetic metals").

5. Chemical Reaction

Ryan loves mixing things with me in the kitchen when he helps with cooking, so this time I surprised him with a science experiment that involves mixing baking soda and vinegar. I asked him to predict what he thought would happen and he said, "maybe it will go all over the place and make a big mess." He was partially right. We also observed an explosion of bubbles and fizz when he poured the vinegar onto the pile of baking soda. Of course, I encouraged him to stick his hands in it afterwards for a little sensory experience.

Looking back, this experiment would have been more fun if I had taken the time to design a volcano, added orange and yellow food coloring/kool aid to make it realistic, then allowed it to "erupt". Here is a cool volcano experiment that one momma did. We will definitely try it next time!


  1. You are such an incredible and creative mom! These experiments look like they were so much fun for Ryan and very educational.

  2. @Karen-Aww thanks! These activities were super simple, but he did enjoy them. I like how the books provided an explanation, while the hands-on experiments really allowed him to grasp the concepts.

  3. How old is your son? These look fin but I'm not sure my 2 year old is ready for some of these. But I guess I won't know till I try :)

    1. Hi! Ryan was between 2 and a half and 3 years old when we did these. If you don't think that your child is ready quite yet, maybe just wait a couple months and then try? I believe that 2 year olds can change so very much in just a few short months!

    2. Ahh just realized the date on this. Well, your child is probably 3 years old by now anyways. I apologize for not responding to my comments sooner (yes, its been over a year!) I hope that your child ended up liking the activities regardless! :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...