First graders will cheer when you announce that they’ll get to do a real, hands-on science experiment! These 1st grade science projects are easy for kids to do, with concepts that will help build their science knowledge for the future.

To make it even easier to find the best science projects for 1st graders, we’ve given each a rating based on difficulty and the materials you’ll need:

Difficulty:

  • Easy: Low or no-prep experiments you can do pretty much anytime
  • Medium: These take a little more setup or a longer time to complete
  • Advanced: Experiments like these take a fairly big commitment of time and/or effort

Materials:

  • Basic: Simple items you probably already have around the house
  • Medium: Items that you might not already have but are easy to get your hands on
  • Advanced: These require specialized or more expensive supplies to complete

Jump to:

Animal and Nature Science Projects for 1st Grade

Learn about animals, plants, and the Earth in general with these fun science activities for first graders.

Sort animals by features

Fairy Poppins

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Use a printable or pull out the toy animals and have kids sort them into categories. It’s an early introduction to classification systems.

Learn more: Animal Sort at Fairy Poppins

Build the layers of Earth with Play-Doh

A ball of play doh has a slice taken out of it. It has a yellow center, a brown layer, a red layer, and a blue and green outer shell (first grade science experiments)
Evans Elementary School

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Another creative use for Play-Doh! Teach your students about the different layers of Earth and then have them create the layers using different colors of Play-Doh.

Learn more: Layers of the Earth at Evans Elementary School

Turn a plastic bag into a greenhouse

House made of green paper, with zip top plastic bag containing paper towel and sprouting seeds (First Grade Science Experiments)
Lessons for Little Ones

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Turn your 1st grade science class into gardeners! Use a damp paper towel in a plastic bag to allow them to see a seed sprouting and growing roots.

Learn more: Greenhouse Bag at Lessons for Little Ones

See how shadows change throughout the day

First grade science students measuring the shadows on a sunny day on the playground
The First Grade Roundup

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Start in the morning: Have kids stand in one spot on the playground while a partner traces their shadow with sidewalk chalk. Ask them what they think will happen when they stand in the same spot during the afternoon, then head back outside after lunch to find out.

Learn more: Shadow Experiment at The First Grade Roundup

Discover how plants drink water

Three glasses of water dyed different colors with a celery stalk in each
Lessons for Little Ones

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Capillary action is the name of the game, and your 1st grade science kiddos will be amazed at the results. Place celery stalks in cups of colored water, and watch as the leaves change color!

Learn more: Capillary Action at Lessons for Little Ones

Build a bird feeder

Platform-style bird feeder built from colorful wood craft sticks and filled with mixed seed (First Grade Science Experiments)
Mombrite

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Set young engineers loose with wood craft sticks, glue, and string to create a bird feeder. Then research the best seeds to fill them with, and hang them outside your classroom window to draw in some feathered friends.

Learn more: DIY Bird Feeder at Mombrite

Observe the birds at your feeder

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Once your feeder is in place, teach kids to identify common birds and keep track of their visits. Report their findings to one of Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science projects to let kids be part of real-life research. (Find more bird-watching activities for kids here.)

Experiment with apples and oxidation

Four jars with apple slice in each, filled with air, water, vinegar, and oil, with two magnifying glasses
Camping Teacher

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Apples turn brown when they’re cut open due to oxidation. Is there any way to prevent that from happening? This experiment aims to find out. (Explore more apple activities here.)

Learn more: Apples Experiment at Camping Teacher

Use colorful beads to learn about camouflage

Printed picture of a wildflower meadow with colored beads laid on top
The First Grader Roundup

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Animal camouflage is an important way for prey to protect itself from predators. To learn how effective it can be, place matching colored beads on top of a photo of wildflowers and see how long it takes students to find them all.

Learn more: Camouflage Activity at The First Grader Roundup

Expose a sponge fish to pollution

A series of images showing fish-shaped sponges in containers filled with oil, dirt, etc.
The Owl Teacher

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

It’s never too early to start learning about how important it is to protect the Earth. Use sponge “fish” to see how polluted water affects the wildlife living in it.

Learn more: Pollution Experiment at The Owl Teacher

Dig in the dirt with claws

Student's hand wearing pink glove with plastic spoons attached to fingers, digging in dirt
The First Grade Roundup

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Animal adaptations allow creatures to live in just about every environment on Earth. Learn how claws help some animals survive and thrive by gluing plastic spoons to a glove.

Learn more: Claw Glove at The First Grade Roundup

Observe plant transpiration

Tree branch with leaves covered with an air-tight plastic bag (First Grade Science Experiments)
Teach Beside Me

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Many plants take in more water than they need. What happens to the rest? Wrap a plastic bag around a living tree branch to see transpiration in action.

Learn more: Leaf Transpiration at Teach Beside Me

Weather Science Experiments for 1st Grade

Try these science activities to explore wind, rain, and more with your firsties.

Create a weather vane

A weathervane is made from a pink container with a pencil with a sewing needle in the eraser coming out of it. A straw with a piece of paper are attached to the top horizontally (first grade science experiments)
Rookie Parenting

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

A weather vane is one of the oldest scientific tools—they help people know which way the wind is blowing. Learn how to make your own with this cool weather experiment.

Learn more: Weathervane Experiment at Rookie Parenting

Grow a rainbow

Paper towel stretched between two glasses of water, with rainbow colors stretching across it (First Grade Science Experiments)
The Best Ideas for Kids

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Kids learn the colors of the rainbow along with chromatography as they watch marker streaks climb up and meet across a wet paper towel. The word might be a big one for little kids to learn, but they’ll love to see it in action!

Learn more: Grow a Rainbow at The Best Ideas for Kids

Make it rain

Glass of water with shaving cream on top and blue food coloring dropping down
Fun Learning for Kids

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

You need rain to make a rainbow. Simulate a rain cloud in a jar with shaving cream and food coloring, and see how the coloring saturates the “cloud” until it simply must fall.

Learn more: Shaving Cream Clouds at Fun Learning for Kids

Create frost in a can

A tin can has frost developing in it (first grade science experiments)
Kindergarten Worksheets and Games

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

This is an especially fun experiment during those chilly winter months. First, fill the can with ice and halfway with water. Then have the kids sprinkle salt in the can and cover the top. Finally, shake it and wait about three minutes for the frost to begin to appear.

Learn more: Frost in a Can at Kindergarten Worksheets and Games

Create an avalanche

Blue tray covered in flour and small pebbles (First Grade Science Experiments)
A Dab of Glue Will Do

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Learn about the destructive power of an avalanche in a safe way with this experiment. All you need is flour, cornmeal, pebbles, and a plastic tray.

Learn more: Avalanche Experiment at A Dab of Glue Will Do

More 1st Grade Science Projects and Experiments

Looking for more? Try these experiments on a range of subjects to teach first graders all about science.

Give gummy bears a bath

Four plastic cups with liquid and gummi bears, sitting on a printable worksheet (First Grade Science)
First Grade Buddies + Co

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Drop gummy bears into different liquid solutions to see how they change (or don’t) over time. Kids will learn about osmosis, as well as how scientists must be good observers.

Learn more: Gummy Bear Experiment at First Grade Buddies + Co

Play a DIY flute

First grade science student playing a homemade pan flute
Buggy and Buddy

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

These homemade flutes are fun to play, but they also help young kids learn about sound. Let them experiment with straw lengths to see what tones they can make.

Learn more: DIY Pan Flute at Buggy and Buddy

Play with Play-Doh to learn why we have bones

Worksheet entitled Why Do I Have Bones with Play-Doh, drinking straws, and simple model of human figure
Keeping My Kiddo Busy

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Ask kids to build a person from Play-Doh and see if it will stand on its own. Then show them how adding drinking straws gives it structure and strength, and explain that bones do the same for us! (Get more clever ways to use Play-Doh in the classroom here.)

Learn more: Play-Doh Bones at Keeping My Kiddo Busy

Find out which objects magnets attract

Two sheets labeled Magnetic and Not Magnetic with small u-shaped magnet and a basket of small objects
Fairy Poppins

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Equip students with magnets and send them out to explore and discover which objects the magnet will stick to and which won’t. Record their findings on the free printable worksheet at the link.

Learn more: Magnet Science Experiments at Fairy Poppins

Grow a crystal garden

Glass bowl holding blue water solution covered in crystals
Babble Dabble Do

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

First grade science students might not grasp the concept of supersaturated solutions, but they’ll still love a good crystal project! Grab some magnifying glasses and let them examine the crystals up close (try not to touch, as they’re very fragile) to see the cool geometric structures.

Learn more: Crystal Garden at Babble Dabble Do

Build a jelly bean structure

First grade science student building a structure from jellybeans and toothpicks
The STEM Laboratory

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

If you’re doing this STEM project in the spring, jelly beans make the perfect base. If you can’t get a hold of jelly beans, try substituting tiny marshmallows in their place. Make sure to have some extras on hand since little hands are likely to snack as they build.

Learn more: Jellybean STEM Challenge at The STEM Laboratory

Experiment with marshmallow Peeps

Three cups labeled water, vinegar, and soda, each with a pink marshmallow bunny floating in it
Gift of Curiosity

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Peeps used to just be an Easter treat, but these days you can find them in different shapes throughout much of the year. Use them to practice making predictions and recording observations with this sweet experiment.

Learn more: Easter Peeps Science Experiment at Gift of Curiosity

Spark excitement with static electricity

Pink balloon with scrap of yellow tissue paper stuck to it, labeled Static Electricity Experiment for Kids (First Grade Science)
Kids Activities Blog

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

No doubt your 1st grade science students have already encountered static electricity by rubbing a balloon on their hair. This experiment takes things a step further, letting kids explore which objects an electrically charged balloon can pick up and which it can’t.

Learn more: Static Electricity Balloons at Kids Activities Blog

Melt crayons to explore solids and liquids

A rainbow of crayons laid on white paper, melting and running down. Text reads Melting: Solid to Liquid, Solid plus Heat equals Liquid
First Grade Circle

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Dig out some old crayons and use them for this easy experiment that demonstrates the difference between liquids and solids. When you’re done, you’ll have a cool piece of art to display. (Discover more uses for broken crayons here.)

Learn more: Melting Crayons at First Grade Circle

Talk through a paper cup phone

Two green paper cups connected at the bottoms by long pink string (First Grade Science Experiments)
There’s Just One Mommy

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

This classic experiment will help your 1st grade science class understand that sound travels in waves, through the air, and across other objects. Watching their faces light up when they hear whispers in their cups will make your day!

Learn more: Paper Cup Phone at There’s Just One Mommy

Blow a bubble snake

A little boy is seen blowing out a long stream of bubbles that are all attached (first grade science experiments)
Hand 2 Mind

Difficulty: Medium / Materials: Basic

You’ll need to plan this experiment for a day with nice weather since it is best suited to outdoors. You will need an empty water bottle, a washcloth, a rubber band, a small bowl or plate, food coloring, scissors or box cutters, distilled water, dish soap, and Karo syrup or glycerin. There’s a lot of prep, but the end result is definitely worth it!

Learn more: Bubble Snakes at Hand 2 Mind

Learn why we have night and day

Paper plate divided in half, with night illustrated on one half and day on the other
Universe Awareness

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

The Earth’s daily rotation gives us days and nights. This simple demo helps kids understand that. They draw a day scene and a night scene on a paper plate, then cover it with half of another plate that can be moved. This is an art project and 1st grade science experiment all rolled into one.

Learn more: Night and Day Play at Universe Awareness

Float food coloring on milk

Glass of milk with blue, red, and orange food coloring floating on the surface (First Grade Science Experiments)
STEAMsational

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Learn about surface tension by dropping food coloring onto different types of milk (whole, skim, cream, etc.). Then use dish soap to break down the fats and surface tension, and watch the colors dance!

Learn more: Surface Tension Milk at STEAMsational

Drop water onto a penny

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Continue your exploration of surface tension by adding water drop-by-drop to a penny. The surface tension will allow you to add far more water than you might think.

Will it sink or swim?

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Ask students to predict whether a variety of items will sink or float in water. Then test each object to check their hypotheses.

Blow up a balloon using yeast

Young student pouring yeast through a funnel into a plastic bottle
The STEM Laboratory

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

This is similar to the classic lemon juice and baking soda experiment many kids do at some point. But this one is better for younger kids since you don’t have to worry about them splashing the juice in their eyes. Kids will be just as astonished at the results as the yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide gas!

Learn more: Yeast Balloon Experiment at The STEM Laboratory

Push on air

A piece of paper says Pushing On Air. It has a barrell, plunger, syringe, etc. on it
First Grade Adventurers

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

Teach your students about air compression and air pressure using a barrel, plunger, syringe, and flexible tube. Kids will definitely get a kick out of air wrestling and popping off their plungers using air pressure.

Learn more: Air Pressure Experiment at First Grade Adventurers

Test your reaction time

Blue ruler dropping into student's hand
Science Sparks

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Do your students have lightning-quick reflexes? Find out with this easy experiment. One student holds a ruler vertically, while another places their hand just beneath and waits. When the first student drops the ruler, the second catches it as quickly as possible, seeing how many inches passed through their fingers first.

Learn more: Reaction Time Experiment at Science Sparks

Assemble a DIY lava lamp

Glass jar filled with water and floating yellow oil
What Do We Do All Day?

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Your firsties are too young to remember the lava lamp craze, but this science project will give them a taste of it as they learn about liquid density.

Learn more: Salt Volcano Lava Lamp at What Do We Do All Day?

Learn the scientific method with candy

Worksheet labeled Will It Melt? with dish of various candies and a red crayon (First Grade Science Experiments)
Playdough to Plato

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

See the scientific method in action as kids hypothesize what will happen to various types of candy in the hot sun. Observe, record, and analyze your results to see if their predictions were correct.

Learn more: Candy Scientific Method Activity at Playdough to Plato

Look into mirrors to discover symmetry

Young student's hand holding a mirror on a piece of paper with the letters A I U, showing symmetry (First Grade Science Experiments)
Buggy and Buddy

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

By now, 1st grade science students may have noticed that mirrors reflect objects backward. Ask them to write the alphabet in capital letters, then hold it up to the mirror. Which letters are the same when they’re reflected? Use those findings to talk about symmetry.

Learn more: Mirror Symmetry at Buggy and Buddy

Create a super-simple circuit

A child's hands are shown holding large batteries, tin foil, and a small light.
What Do We Do All Day?

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Medium

This is the perfect way to introduce the concept of electricity to young students since the materials and steps are minimal. You will need a D battery, tinfoil, electrical tape, and a light bulb from a flashlight.

Learn more: Super-Simple Circuit at What Do We Do All Day?

“Bend” a pencil using light refraction

Mason jar of water with a pencil in it, viewed from the side
STEAMsational

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Tell your students you’re going to bend a pencil without touching it. Drop it into a glass of water and have them look at it from the side. Light refraction makes it appear to be in two pieces!

Learn more: Bending Pencil Experiment at STEAMsational

Roll marbles to explore momentum

A ruler propped on one side on a flat book, with a marble rolling down it toward a folded index card (First Grade Science Experiments)
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Momentum is “mass in motion,” but what does that really mean? Find out by rolling marbles of different sizes down rulers placed at various slopes.

Learn more: Momentum Experiments at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

Dunk eggs to understand dental health

A series of plastic cups filled with varieties of soda, juice, and other liquids, with an egg in each
First Grade Funtastic

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Grown-ups are always telling kids sugary drinks are bad for their teeth, so try this experiment to put your money where your mouth is! Eggshells are a good substitute for teeth since they’re both made of calcium. Leave eggs in different kinds of beverages to see which ones do the most damage to the shells.

Learn more: Dental Health Eggs at First Grade Funtastic

Melt ice cubes to make new colors

Plastic containers holding colored ice cubes floating in water of different colors
Gift of Curiosity

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Color mixing is one of those incredibly cool activities that kids will want to try again and again. Make ice cubes using primary colors, then let them melt together to see what new colors you can create.

Learn more: Color Mixing at Gift of Curiosity

Fly a paper airplane

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Kid absolutely love creating and flying paper airplanes, so this experiment is sure to be a hit. Have your students create different-style planes and then experiment with thrust and lift to see which fly the farthest, highest, etc.

Weigh items with a homemade balance scale

Hands are shown punching holes into small plastic cups (first grade science experiments)
WikiHow

Difficulty: Easy / Materials: Basic

Make a simple balance scale with a coat hanger, yarn, and some plastic cups. Have students gather items from around the classroom, make predictions about which will be heavier, then test their hypothesis.

Learn more: DIY Balance Scale at WikiHow

If you love 1st grade science, be sure to check out these 25 First Grade STEM Challenges.

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