Teachable Moments-Investigating Air for Preschoolers

My four year old and two year old have developed an adorable habit of sharing snacks together.  Adorable, except when they are sharing fish crackers, which involves breaking them in half.  Big mess.  I realized what they were doing a little too late.  After breaking the crackers they decided to see if they could blow the crumbs off the table onto the floor.   This gave me an idea.  Later that day we talked about air. We took some breaths and watched our chests rise and fall.  We talked about how air is all around us.  We talked about how air can move things.

I put several objects of different shapes, sizes and weights on the table.  I asked them to make predictions about which items would be easiest and hardest to move by blowing air at them.  They then tested the predictions by blowing through the straws.  My four year old observed that the paper he tried to move was “like a sailboat,”  which led to a discussion about how a sailboat works.  The kids had a blast and learned some basic attributes of air and practiced using the scientific method.

This activity can easily be extended by doing other activities requiring air such as blowing bubbles, using pinwheels or painting by blowing thinned paint on a paper.  Simple activities like these get children interested in science and in the world around them.  Watch your children and use what they are doing to facilitate a love of learning!

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