Source of Image: WikiCommons
I learned (from Nurturing the Young Scientist: Experiences in Physics for Young Children by Meg Murphy Fedorowicz) a very hands on and concrete way to introduce the concept of states of matter to children is to do the following:
Gather together with your child or children and…
- Ask that they hold hands very tightly and say: “Solids are made of particles that are very close together.”
- Then have them stretch their arms while continuing to hold hands and say: “Liquids are made of particles that are further apart.”
- To end, have the children stand with fingertips lightly touching, barely brushing one another and say: “Gases are made from particles that are barely touching one another.”
Simple Introductory States of Matter Activity
Water is the perfect example of introducing states of matter to kids because it can exist in three different states: liquid, solid & gas. It always has the same chemical properties no matter which state it is in. Plus, there are great hands on visual ways to demonstrate states of matter using water.
- Liquid – Run a faucet, look outside on a rainy day or pour a pitcher of water into a glass
- Solid – Ice is a simple example. We also looked at different types of ice and snow images on Google Images.
- Gas – This one is fun because gas is invisible so you can’t technically see it. Remind your child of how air exists even though we can’t see it. Ask your child to breath on to his hand a few times slowly: “What do you feel on your hand?” Explain: “The “wetness” is water vapor. We breath water vapor, or a gas.
Changes in States of Matter:
- Watch an ice cube melt. Do it in person in different temperatures. There are also several YouTube videos of ice melting with a time lapse.
- Watch steam rise from a pot of boiling water
I have several activities within this area. I hope to get to many of them this winter. I’ll be sure to share with you. In the meantime, you might want to check out:
Thanks for reading! I hope that we inspired you. Please leave a comment! I love hearing from you!