It’s too cold to be outside for long, but your preschool scientists can still explore properties of the cold, on the playground. Although most of the investigation can happen inside, each of these take a few minutes outdoors. Besides, the cold never bothered me anyway…
- Nature Icebergs: Take a quick nature walk around the playground and collect pebbles, pinecones, seeds, or leaves. Put them in containers of water and leave them outside to freeze, if it’s cold enough. Use magnifying glasses to look closely and see how the water affected the items. Use mallets or small hammers to chip the ice away. This can be outside on the ground or in an outdoor sensory table.
- Frozen bubbles: Blowing bubbles in cold weather makes them last longer. Do they look different? Do they float like usual? What happens if you catch one on the bubble wand? This tends to work best if the temperature is below freezing.
- Ice Balance: Use an outdoor balance scale. How many ice cubes heavy are objects outdoors or around the room? Try pine cones, small toys, or blocks. Do two cups of ice cubes weigh the same amount as two cups of water? Why do you think that is? What else can you compare?
- Freezing Point: Does everything freeze at the same temperature? Grab an ice cube tray and pour a different liquid into each section. Try things like tap water, salt water, juice, vegetable oil, milk, etc. Set it outside on the playground and check back throughout the day. Are some freezing before others? The reverse can be observed as well: when the tray is brought inside, how long do they take to thaw?
Instead of little fingers and noses freezing, we can let other objects freeze instead. Get outside for a few minutes to gather materials, feel some sunshine, and then let your frozen scientists get to work!
Continue learning on the playground
Check out toddler and preschool outdoor STEM exploration
Outdoor Classroom Sensory Table
Outdoor Classroom Balance Scale
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