CREATIVE FAMILY FUN: Amaze preschoolers with science tricks

By Donna Erickson

This slithery goop appears to be solid one moment, only to ooze out between your fingers. (Donna Erickson)

Amaze your preschoolers and young school-age kids with the exciting world of science with these three simple tricks. They are safe and fun to do at home when you’re looking for something new to share together.



Stuff a piece of facial tissue or a hankie into the bottom of a tall plastic cup. Turn the cup upside-down and submerge it directly into a sink, bathtub or backyard wading pool filled with water. Push the cup all the way to the bottom of the sink, tub or pool, and bring it straight up and out of the water.

Pull the tissue or hankie out. It will be dry! (Remember, the key to success is to keep the cup perfectly straight when plunging into the water and pulling it out again.



Your kids will be amazed to see a dingy penny or copper pot transformed magically into a shiny object, while you get a few of your neglected copper pieces sparkling at the same time.

Mix together 1/2 cup vinegar and 5 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Drop tarnished pennies or small copper objects in the bowl, and stir them around. Watch as they change color. Eventually remove objects with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to dry. Buff with a soft cloth.



Here’s a bit of magic your kids won’t want to miss. This slithery goop appears to be solid one moment when you shape it like a ball in the palms of your hands only to ooze out between your fingers, over your wrist and down your arm seconds later.

Make the concoction, play with it and then come up with words to describe it!


Here’s the simple recipe for this sensory activity:

  1. Measure 1½ cups cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Add about 1 cup water and stir to form a thick paste. Add more water if it’s too thick. (For color, add liquid tempera paint, if you wish)
  2. Now, roll the goop in your hand to form a ball. As you hold it tightly, it behaves like a solid. Squeeze it, and then let it drip through your fingers to discover its unique properties as it flows into the bowl in ribbons. Or, place it on a cookie sheet, press it flat, roll it in a ball or let it go. It’s amazing!


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© 2022 Donna Erickson

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