G is for Gravity Experiment

We’re continuing the A to Z Science series for toddlers and preschoolers here at Inspiration Laboratories with the letter G. G is for Gravity Experiment. Experiment with gravity and have some fun with science.

G is for Gravity Experiment - part of the A to Z Science Series for Toddlers and Preschoolers at Inspiration Laboratories

What is Gravity?

Gravity is a force that attracts things {objects, masses, particles, light}. Most of the time we think about gravity as the reason we are walking on the ground rather than floating in the air. We are attracted to the Earth. Gravity is why objects fall to the ground. The strength of the attraction depends on the mass of the two objects and the distance between them. The greater the mass, the greater the attraction.

For a visual explanation of gravity, watch this video from Minute Physics:

How to Explain Gravity to Toddlers and Preschoolers?

For toddlers, you may not even want to explain it to them. It’s okay to just let them experience the concept without actually giving it a name yet. For preschoolers you can simply explain it as this: Gravity is what keeps your feet on the ground. It’s why objects fall to the ground.

Have your child jump up. Ask: Why did you fall back to the ground? Why didn’t you stay in the air? Because gravity pulled you back down.

Simple Gravity Experiment

Collect a number of balls of different sizes and weights. You might also want to grab a stopwatch. Choose a location to conduct your experiment. You can simply have your child stand on the floor. You could also head to the park and drop balls from atop the playground equipment.

Gravity Experiment Materials

Explain to your child that she is going to drop the balls and see which one hits the ground first. Ask her to predict which ball will hit first. {Choose one over another, or they can both hit at the same time.} It may be easier to drop the balls one at a time. In this case, you’ll want a stopwatch to time the fall.

Have your child hold a ball up and then drop it to the ground.

Gravity Experiment

You can also have your child drop two at a time. Hold the balls at the same height. Be sure to drop them at the exact same time. You might want to practice a few times.

Gravity Experiment

The Results

Did each ball take the same amount of time to hit the ground? They should have. The force of gravity depends on the mass of the object. The greater the mass, the greater the force of gravity. However, no matter the mass, an object will free fall at the same rate {the acceleration due to gravity}. The explanation has to due with inertial mass and a few other things that toddlers and preschoolers will not understand nor should they.

The point of the experiment is to observe gravity at work, ask questions, and make predictions.

If you drop two objects at the same height and they do not hit the ground at the same time, friction and air resistance are most likely to blame. They can slow down an object. Try different shaped objects and see what I mean.

Be sure to check out the rest of the A to Z Science series!

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