“What Dissolves in Water?” Experiment for Kids from the Pantry

SciencePreschoolers30 Comments

This is a fun experiment for preschoolers to predict and observe what will dissolve and disappear in water and what won’t. Find out what dissolves in water!

I’ve mentioned before that Henry’s really been into experiments lately.

He’s created his own experiment as well as begs for others to do quite often.

Like I mentioned in the how to become hands on post last week, I go to Pinterest for a lot of my ideas. On a whim when Henry asked for an experiment to do, I checked out my ‘All Things Play’ board and this post popped up:  Does it Dissolve? from The Picky Apple.

So we simply set up a dissolve experiment station with stuff from the pantry.

What dissolves in water? A simple experiment from the pantry.

I found a few things in my pantry that might dissolve, along with a few that I knew wouldn’t dissolve:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Orzo Noodles
  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Colored Sprinkles

Use pantry goods to see what dissolves in water

I started out setting out two pitchers of water to have Henry use each one to predict that it would dissolve or not and pour it in the corresponding pitcher. But right off the bat, he predicted wrong, and realized how hard that was going to be to tell if the next one dissolved or not.

So, instead, I filled up seven different plastic jars with water.

Equipped Henry with a funnel and a couple wooden spoons.

And let Henry have at his experiment.

The experiment to see what dissolves in water

He predicted before pouring in each one if he thought it would dissolve or not and then observed to see what happened after he stirred for a bit.

He was wrong a lot. And I’m so glad it didn’t upset him.

He did really like when something changed the color of the water, though.

Some changed the color, or made it foggy, but still didn’t dissolve.


And the sprinkles were, of course, the most fun to watch.

See if sprinkles dissolve in water

They changed the color of the water, but the sprinkles still didn’t dissolve.

Watching sprinkles dissolve in water

I had a hard time choosing what to use for our experiment… I’m curious what other items we’d have to ‘test’ out.

What do you have in your pantry to dissolve?

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  1. Veronica says

    That’s a great science experiment I’ll have to book mark for as my daughter get’s into Kindergarten and 1st grade. We love fun hands on activities like these. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rachelle | TinkerLab says

    I love how you set this up with the canning funnel, and made it a real experiment for the kids to test and figure out. If you were to do it again you could try asking them what they’d like to test. Now that they’ve done it once they might have some ideas about what would and wouldn’t dissolve. Otherwise, a few more ideas: yeast, brown sugar, salt (various kinds).

  3. Cara says

    I love your blog, so I was so thrilled to see you mention my post about our experiment. The Little Apple LOVES this activity, and we’ve done it many times. Great choice using colored sprinkles, by the way! I will definitely be including those next time. And I think for the youngest kids, setting up a cup/bowl of water for each substance is probably the best way to go. That way it doesn’t get all muddled, and they can stir stir stir! Happy Wednesday!

  4. Samanta says

    I really love this page when I showed it to my mom she was like surprised and said wow i love this page for u and every time I do a science project now i dont waste my time in other websites and just go here my 4th grade teacher was surprised about my science project

  5. says

    Thank you for the great idea, Jamie and Cara. I’m planning a water lesson for our homeschooling co-op (preK-2nd grade), and although the kids love it, I’m so tired of doing “Sink or Float?” experiments and food coloring experiments. This is a fresh idea that I haven’t come across on the hundreds of homeschooling and teaching websites I scan for ideas. So easy to throw together, cheap/free, and engages the children in real discovery. = Simple genius. :)

    If you don’t mind, I might do a write-up about this on my own blog when I run the program with my kids. I’ll throw credit your way.

    My list of pantry ingredients I plan on using, in addition to your suggestions:

    cocoa powder

    broken up spaghetti
    goldfish crackers
    bits of torn bread

  6. says

    Hi! I am new to your site…I love what I have read thus far! :) I have a daughter who just turned 4, and a son who will be 1 next week…
    I am going to try this experiment with my daughter this week…thanks for the fun idea! :)

  7. Jane says

    I also LOVED the idea of dissolving tests with younger science minds, particularly in the rich prediction piece. I would also suggest Alka Seltzer tablets (even pieces of it) and biodegradable packing peanuts (these corn-based, eco-friendly foamy pieces dissolve in water and leave a distinctly corny smell as they dissolve in water) and as other test materials. Sprinkles are a GREAT idea!

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