You are currently viewing Explore And Learn

Science is all around us and children are natural born scientists. They are excited to explore and learn – it begins in infancy and continues throughout their development.

Babies and toddlers explore and learn about the world by forming questions and experimenting to find the answers. Have you seen a baby or toddler drop food from their high chair and look over the edge to see what happened?

Young children are curious, questioning, observant and determined problem-solvers. These are the traits of a successful scientist. They’re also the skills needed to succeed in Stem-related careers (science, technology, engineering and maths). Giving children the chance to conduct their own experiments allows these natural skills to grow and develop.

Find some fun science experiments to try in the kitchen here.

Let you child explore and learn with these fun, easy experiments at home. Ask questions after the experiment is completed to encourage them to analyse. Ask children questions such as: What do you think is happening? Why do you think this is happening? What do you still wonder about?

Rising Raisins

Supplies needed:
  • raisins
  • glass of water
  • glass of lemonade/soda
The experiment:

Add 1–5 raisins to the different glasses. Watch as the raisins in water sink, while they float in the lemonade.

What is happening?

Raisins sink in water (and initially in the soda) because they are denser than the liquid. The soda’s carbon dioxide molecules stick to the wrinkles in the raisins causing them to have increased buoyancy and rise. When the bubbles pop or the raisins get soggy they will begin to drop again.

Dyed Flowers

Supplies needed:
  • a few stems of bright, white flowers such as chrysanthemums, gerberas or carnations
  • jars filled with water and various shades of liquid or gel food colouring
The experiment:

Colour the water in each jar, place the flowers in the jar, watch and wait.

What is happening?

After a while, children can observe and understand how water moves through the parts of a plant.

Rainbow in a jar

Supplies needed:
  • tall, see-through container
  • honey
  • light corn syrup
  • green dishwashing liquid
  • olive oil
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water
  • Food colouring
  • a dropper
The experiment:

First, pour the honey into the jar, making sure to pour it into the middle of the container and not letting it touch the edges. Next, colour the corn syrup purple using the food colouring, and pour it into the middle of the container without letting it touch the edges. Next, add the green dishwashing liquid soap. Then add regular water, which has been coloured blue; again making sure to pour in the middle. Now add a fairly thick layer of olive oil and finally, colour the rubbing alcohol red. This is where the dropper comes in. If you pour the alcohol straight in, it’ll probably pick up the blue food coloring you used in the water and your rainbow will be ruined. The best way to add it is to drop the alcohol along the side of the container using a dropper. The key is to not break through the oil layer into the blue water layer beneath it – hence the thick layer of oil.

What is happening?

Since density is a characteristic property of a substance, each liquid has its own density. The density of a liquid determines whether it will float on or sink in another liquid. A liquid will float if it is less dense than the liquid it is placed in, and sink if it is denser.


Supplies needed:
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • empty plastic bottle
  • funnel
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • red food colouring
  • play dough
The experiment:

Make the volcano out of play dough around the plastic bottle. Pour the baking soda into the plastic bottle. Using your funnel, pour the vinegar into the baking soda and watch the eruption.

What is happening?

It is pretty awesome to discover what happens when vinegar and baking soda mix. They combine inside the bottle and are forced out the small opening similar to how a volcano erupts.

Little Professors, based in Cape Town, offers classes to young scientists who are curious about the world around them. They aim to foster this curiosity and re-enforce science, technology, engineering and maths related subjects in a fun, exciting and practical way so that the children can connect with these subjects from a very early age. Classes go from 6 months–6 years old. For more fun experiments, visit Little Professors.

Find out about other natural learning opportunities here.