Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist, educator and doctor during her time in Italy. Through scientific observation, she concluded what was the best way for the children to absorb knowledge and she modelled her education system after that.
With the Montessori method, children learn and increase their knowledge by using concrete materials where exploring and cognition are linked. There are multi-sensory materials that will be used in this activity to develop specific skills of the child. Understanding comes through the child’s own experience with these materials. These experiments allows the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves.
Here are two fun experiments for you and your child to conduct at home! We hope you have a wonderful time trying these out together.
Activity 1: Sink & Float
- 1 clear jug of water
- Large container, tub or bucket
- Heavy items found at home (coin, eraser, key etc.)
- Light items found at home (Ball, pom-poms, Lego, etc.)
How to do Activity 1
- Lay out the materials on a table
- Explain to your child that they will be conducting an experiment about sinking and floating
- Discuss that they will be finding materials around the house to drop into the container
- Once they have found the materials, lay these out on the table together
- Invite your child to fill up the container with water (just above half level). Guide them the first time you try this activity, if necessary.
- Show the item to your child and ask them to guess whether it will sink or float.
- Let them drop it into the water.
- Now let your child observe and explore. What do they think? Isn’t it interesting what sinks and what floats? What else can we experiment with?
This experiment should be repeated. Try it with different materials, themes, containers and so on! Have fun!
Suggested items for a sink or float experiment:
Items that sink
- Metal utensils
- Toy car/truck
- Glass gemstones or marbles (not suitable for toddlers)
Items that float
- Stick or popsicle stick
- Bathtub toys
- Foam shapes
- Rubber ball
Activity 2: Blow up a balloon without using your mouth!
- 2 or more clear containers (e.g. a reused container as pictured here)
- 1 cup
- Baking soda
- Food colouring (optional)
How to do Activity 2
- Lay the materials out on a table.
- Explain to your child that they are doing an experiment on how to blow up balloons without using their mouths to inflate them. They will also be able to observe which balloon blows up faster and slower!
- Allow them to measure out two separate measures of vinegar – one with less vinegar and the other with more.
- Fill each bottle with the vinegar using the funnel.
- OPTIONAL: you may add a few drops of food colouring in the bottle. This will aid the comparison portion of the experiment.
- Invite your child to stretch the balloon together.
- Insert the funnel in the balloon hole.
- Now fill a balloon with more baking soda and the other balloon with less baking soda.
- Place and guide your child to stretch the mouth of the balloon over the bottle hole. Be very careful and try not to let the baking soda inside spill! Once done, your child can lift the balloon up. Be prepared for the balloon to inflate!
- From the experiment, let your child observe and explore what happens when the baking soda mixes with vinegar.
- Explain to your child that when we add baking soda to vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs and releases a large quantity of carbon dioxide, enough to inflate the balloon.
- Now, do the same with the second balloon and bottle.
- Let them observe which balloon blew up quicker and slower.
Repeat the experiment again!