15 Creative Ways to Teach About States of Matter

Make root beer floats in the name of science!

Six separate images about States of Matter.

Understanding the various states of matter is one of the key concepts kids need for exploring chemistry and physics. These states of matter activities help them learn the physical changes that take place as matter converts from solid to liquid to gas. They’ll enjoy the hands-on aspects as they get to see science in action!

1. Start with an anchor chart

States of Matter Activities Terra Palmer Pinterest

An anchor chart like this gives students something to reference as they learn the concepts and complete states of matter activities.

Learn more: Terra Palmer/Pinterest

2. Read books about the states of matter

Read a book or two to introduce younger learners to the concepts of solids, liquids, and gases. Here are a few of our favorites to try.

3. Sort and match states of matter

States of Matter Gift of Curiosity

Grab the free printable cards at the link, or cut pictures out of magazines. Then have kids sort them by states of matter.


Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/Sort and Match States of Matter


4. Discover the states of matter with water

All you need is water for one of the easiest states of matter activities. Start with ice cubes, melt them down to water, then bring them to boiling to watch steam form.

Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/States of Matter using Water

5. Color and learn about states of matter

Kids who love to color will enjoy these free printable worksheets. As they color in the pictures, talk about the differences between the states of matter.

Learn more: This Reading Mama

6. Use cereal to represent atoms

Use Cheerios (or M&Ms, or raisins… you get the idea) to diagram the action of atoms in the various states of matter. Snack on the “atoms” when you’re done!

Learn more: Mrs. Thompsons’s Treasures

7. Drink root beer floats

States of Matter Activities Learning Lab Resources

Speaking of delicious science, root beer floats are one of our favorite states of matter activities! We guarantee this one will be a hit.

Learn more: Learning Lab Resources

8. Churn ice cream in a bag

States of Matter Activities Around the Kampfire

If you’re really feeling ambitious, make your own ice cream for the floats! It’s a fun way to explore the change from liquid to solid too.

Learn more: Around the Kampfire

9. Harvest water from fog

States of Matter Activities Science Buddies

Simulate fog by spraying water from a bottle. Use a piece of nylon stocking to catch the fog and turn it back into water.

Learn more: Science Buddies/Fog Catcher

10. Explore liquids and solids with crayons

This experiment explores the change from solid to liquid and back again using heat. And at the end, kids have “new” crayons to color with!

Learn more: Life Over Cs

11. Make a cup of hot chocolate

Ready for another edible experiment? Hot chocolate is a cool way to explore the states of matter. (Don’t forget the solids: marshmallows!)

Learn more: Cool Progeny

12. Try cotton swab painting

States of Matter Activities Inspire Me ASAP

Use cotton swabs dipped in paint to make illustrations of how atoms move in solids, liquids, and gases.

Learn more: Inspire Me ASAP

13. Make a batch of butter

This experiment not only explores solids and liquids, but also the process known as emulsion. You get double the science, and a yummy treat!

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

14. Fill balloons with solids, liquids, and gases

Fill balloons with water (liquid and frozen) and air, then talk about the properties of each. This is a good way to prove that gas is there, even though you can’t always see it.

Learn more: Fit Kids Clubhouse

15. Explore the properties of Oobleck

Just when kids think they understand the states of matter, along comes a non-Newtonion fluid like oobleck to confuse matters! This is one science demo that never fails to amaze.

Learn more: Science Buddies/Oobleck

Like these state of matter activities? Try these 28 Edible Science Experiments You’ll Actually Want To Eat.

Plus, 50 Easy Science Experiments Kids Can Do At Home.

15 Creative Ways to Teach About States of Matter