This preschool science experiment is designed for kids who have already had experience playing with mud--both mixing mud and drying mud out.
For best results, try this experiment after your child has explored the properties of dirt and mud.
• Multiple dirt samples (sand, topsoil, dirt-and-gravel, etc.)
• Dried leaves or grass
• Buckets and bowls
• Stirring tools (sticks and large spoons)
• Brick molds (e.g., ice cube trays)
• Watering can
• Self-sealing plastic sandwich bags
• Masking tape or adhesive labels
• Notebook to record predictions and results
What to do
Have your child mix several different kinds of mud. At least one mud batch should be made from sand. Another should combine soil and dried leaves or grass. Let your child improvise his own mixtures as well. Pour some of each mixture into a brick mold. Label each mold, noting what each mud “recipe” each contains.
In addition, put a little of each mud mixture in a plastic sandwich bag. Label the bag and staple it to a page in the notebook. On each page, leave space so you can write down your child’s predictions and results for that mixture.
Ask your child to anticipate how each type of dirt mixture will turn out.
• How do you think the mud will change?
• Which recipe will make the hardest, toughest bricks?
If your child is reluctant to make predictions, help her think up several alternative scenarios. The point is not to create a contest about who's predictions are correct. Rather, you are trying to get your child to think about the future and to understand how the experiment will allow her to test predictions.
Help your child record her predictions in the notebook.
Leave bricks to dry in the sun for at least 2 days. Then try popping them out of their molds. Let your child play with his bricks.
Observe, record, and discuss the results.
More preschool experiments
For more experimental activities involving the power of the sun, see this preschool science experiment with ice.