The benefits of science in the early years

Children are naturally drawn to the things that make them curious about the world around them. Channelling this curiosity and encouraging them to develop through science can make for some great learning activities.

Read on to learn about some of the benefits of different early years science activities.

Why science education is important for early years 

Children tend to warm to fun science activities as they’re naturally interesting and unusual. Science appeals to their inquisitive minds as they try to make sense of the world and how things work.

Science activities for early years tap into their curiosity and develop the desire to explore and experiment. This ultimately strengthens their problem-solving and analytical skills. It gets children to question how things work and develop an understanding of their environment. Children are born mini scientists, science exploration nurtures children to be agents of their own learning, fostering skills in critical thinking.  

What skills can children in the early years develop through science? 

Developing your child’s sense of adventure through science will give them the confidence to ask questions about the world, find out how things work, and give them an understanding of their environment. 

Other wonderful benefits of early years science activities include: 

  • Strengthening communication skills as they describe what’s happening in front of them
  • Introducing a rich vocabulary of scientific concepts from an early age helps with confidence when they get older and start looking at the concepts in closer detail
  • Developing scientific thinking and concepts that provide a basis for further learning at school
  • Offering unique, hands-on experiences that will help their minds develop through physical exploration and foster critical thinking
  • Supporting the development of collaboration and team skills through group science experiments and fun
  • Perseverance, as well as analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • Help them expand their vocabulary by using scientific terms that are appropriate for their age group
  • Extend and embed their learning through related literacy, numeracy and creative activities
Early Years Science Activities
Sink or Float 

Sink or Float is a fun early years science activity that allows little ones to explore the concept of buoyancy. The wonderful thing about this water play activity is that you can use almost anything to help your child explore. 

We like to use stones, sticks or even leaves found outside to play this game. You can choose whichever objects you like that won’t be damaged by getting wet! 

First, you can show your little one what sinking and floating means. Then, you can give them an array of objects so they can choose which objects to experiment with. This provides opportunities to see cause and effect in action, to hypothesise what they think the outcome will be and then see if their guess was true. 


This is an early years science activity that your child can go ahead and explore independently. Grab a tray, a set of objects with interesting textures, and a magnifying glass to investigate with. Again use this as a great opportunity to go outside, find random interesting objects and look at them to see them in more detail. 

Ask your little one to look at the different objects through the magnifying glass then, firstly, ask them to describe what they see, this helps build language development, encouraging the use of adjectives in sentences. Then if age-appropriate you can ask them to draw what they see, building into their creativity and future writing skills.  

Will it Dissolve?

Just like Sink or Float, Will it Dissolve? teaches little ones how different substances react to water, another great cause-and-effect activity. To teach children about solubility, we like to use sugar, oil, salt, rice, flour, food colouring and even vitamin tablets. 

Once you have gathered the soluble and insoluble objects, lay out several small transparent water tubs. Show your children the concept of dissolving substances in water, and then ask them to guess which of your chosen substances will dissolve. 

This is such a fun science experiment for early years as it gets them thinking about how different objects behave in different environments. You can see the awe and wonder on the children’s faces when they do these activities. 

Get in touch

It’s so rewarding watching your child develop through science. These science activities for early years offer fun, easy ways to let your child explore through experimentation and discovery. At Partou, our philosophy is that children are scientists and agents of their own learning. For impactful and meaningful learning we always encourage children to learn by doing, these activities are great for supporting and developing all areas across the curriculum. 

If you’d like to find out more about how we can support your young child’s development or to learn more about how we encourage development at our nurseries, contact us today.

Related news

Supporting your child’s transition to school

We recognise that starting “big school” can be a worrying time for both you and your child and talking about it certainly helps.

Your child’s key person is always on hand to discuss the transition with you, to guide and support and to help make it as smooth as possible....

Read more

Getting ‘big school’ ready with Partou

At Partou, we know that starting school is a key milestone for children and their family.

There is the element of the unknown as well as the change in routine, environment, and new people to make relationships with and build attachments to. This includes the adults too!

Read more

How to promote sensory development in babies

As adults, we may take our sense of smell or sight for granted, but during the first year of life a baby’s senses have a lot of developing to do.

Promoting sensory development is beneficial during your baby’s first year to help them adapt to the world, as well as supporting both mental...

Read more