7 Fun Gravity Experiments for Preschoolers

Gravity is a fascinating concept in physics. As adults, we already know what gravity is and how it works, but it is a novel concept for young preschoolers. Introducing them to this concept is a great way to fuel their curiosity and help them learn how the world around them works. One of the best ways to introduce young minds to new concepts is through experimentation. After all, why should fun physics games, activities, and experiments be reserved only for high school students?

Experiments allow kids to interact with materials and surroundings and give them an opportunity to explore. As they question how things work, conducting experiments helps them draw conclusions and build on important skills like problem-solving and logical reasoning. If you are a preschool teacher looking to acquaint your students with the existence of gravity, you may conduct some fun gravity experiments. We have covered some great experimentation ideas in this write-up for your reference. 

Explaining the concept of gravity to preschoolers

Preschoolers are too young to understand the complex physics language explaining gravity. So, you will have to explain the entire concept to them in simple, child-friendly language. Now, how do we do that? Here’s what you can say –

What happens when you toss a ball in the air? Does it stay there or fall to the ground? 
If you play on a bouncy house, do you come down whenever you jump or remain in the air forever?

After kids give their answers, start explaining – 

The reason why the ball falls back on the ground and you come down every time you jump on the bouncy house is that there is an invisible force that pulls everything down. This force is known as the Earth’s gravity. It is why people and objects are drawn toward the Earth’s surface. Without gravity, everyone and everything will be floating around. 

So, basically, Earth is like a giant magnet that attracts things with mass toward its center and keeps things firmly on the ground. 

After you have explained the concept orally, it’s time for kids to see it in reality. This is when you can let your students try out a few hands-on gravity experiments to better comprehend the concept. By doing fun and educational gravity experiments, kids will be able to infer if what they have learned is true or false. 

Mind-blowing gravity experiments your preschoolers will love

1. Playground Slide Experiment

 Playground Slide Experiment

Take your preschoolers to the playground and have them collect different items like rocks, pine cones, acorns, sticks, etc. Head to the slide on the playground equipment and ask kids to release the collected objects one by one from the top. 

Through this simple experiment, kids will see gravity in action as objects slide on their own toward the ground due to the force exerted by the Earth. You can also talk about how things travel at different speeds as they head downward on the slide. Explain that friction is responsible for the difference in speeds because it acts against gravity to varying degrees for different objects. 

2. Gravity and Air Resistance

Gravity and Air Resistance

You will need a feather and a ball for this fun experiment. Have a student stand on a chair and drop the feather and the ball from the same height. Ask the kids to observe which object reaches the ground faster, the ball or the feather. When kids see that the feather takes longer to get to the ground, explain to them that gravity is not the only force acting on the two objects. 

There’s something known as air resistance, which affects how soon an object reaches the ground. Because the feather is light in weight compared to the ball and has a larger surface area, air resistance has a more substantial effect, which hinders its fall. Therefore, it takes longer to reach the floor. But if the two objects are dropped in a vacuum, in the absence of air, they will hit the floor at the same time because then, only the force of gravity will be in action. 

3. Hole in the Cup

Hole in the Cup

Use a disposable cup and some water for this experiment. Make a small hole at the base of the glass. Press a finger over it and fill the glass with water. Now, gently remove the finger while holding the glass, and see the water flow out of the hole and spill on the ground. In the next step, release the same water-filled glass and see what happens. 

In the first instance, gravity acts only on the water (because you’re holding the glass) and makes it flow out of the tiny hole in the glass. But in the second instance, as you drop the glass as well, water doesn’t flow out of the hole, and both glass and water hit the ground simultaneously. This shows that gravity only shows its effect when a solid is entirely released into the air, but a liquid like water comes under the influence of gravity even through tiny holes or crevices in a container and flows out toward the ground. 

4. Galileo’s Experiment with Water Bottle  

Years ago, Galileo Galilei demonstrated that when two objects with different masses but of the same size and shape are released from the same height, they reach the ground at the same time. To reinforce this inference, bring two similar water bottles. Fill one of them completely with water and let the other remain half-filled. 

Invite one of your students to drop the two bottles simultaneously and from the same height. Kids will observe that the two bottles will hit the floor simultaneously despite having different masses. This happens because bottles face the same air resistance because they are of the same shape and size, thus confirming Galileo’s observation.

5. Marble Run Gravity Fun

Wall-based marble runs are fun STEM activities that can be used to experiment and learn the concept of gravity. Use a pool noodle, tape, and some marbles for this experiment. Slit the pool noodle in half across its length and make pieces of different sizes. Help kids make a marble run on a wall using tape to secure the pieces. 

Invite students to drop marbles from the top and see what happens. The marbles will tumble across the pool noodle pieces and reach the floor. Explain to your students that it is because of gravity that marbles start moving downward until they get to the bottom. Also, talk about how the slope of pool noodles plays a vital role in supporting the action of gravity. 

6. The Balloon Experiment

The Balloon Experiment

Get your preschoolers excited to learn about gravity with this exciting balloon experiment. Bring one pre-filled helium balloon to the class and use your breath to inflate the other one in front of your students. Ask them what will happen if you release the two balloons. They will probably say the two balloons will drop and touch the floor in some time. 

Now release the balloons to let them see what happens. The inflated balloon will descend to the floor, but the helium balloon will rise and touch the ceiling. Talk about how gravity acts more on a balloon inflated by air and less on a helium-filled balloon because helium is lighter than air and is subjected to upward force, which keeps it from falling on the ground. 

7. Defying Gravity with Paper Clips

This experiment is a great example of how an experimental approach engages young learners. It shows little kids how we can defy the effects of gravity using simple objects. Do this experiment after you have done a couple of investigations related to the effects of gravity, so kids are well-versed in it. 

For this experiment, take a few paper clips, tie them to individual strings, and use tape to fix the string on the table. Now ask your students to come forward and pick up the paper clips, and see what happens when they release them. Of course, the paper clips will fall back on the table due to the effect of gravity. 

Now use a strong magnet and bring it closer to a paper clip to see what happens. Kids will observe that the paper clip gets attracted towards the magnet, and if you keep the magnet a little higher than the length of the string, the paper clip will hang in the air, defying the effects of gravity. 

Wrapping up, 

Sir Isaac Newton’s remarkable discovery answered why objects always fall towards the Earth’s surface and not in any other direction. He helped establish why planets have remained in their orbits for thousands of years without getting dispersed into space. 

Learning about these notable findings is beneficial for children, even at an early age. Interesting force and motion online games and gravity-related investigations encourage kids to learn by doing and observing cause and effect in front of their eyes. It helps them gain clarity through physical exploration and sparks their scientific thinking abilities. So, make some time for a few gravity experiments in your classroom and see your students engaging in hands-on scientific fun!

Leave a Comment