What is Soil?


  • Crumbly rocks
  • Newspaper
  • Hammer

Put the crumbly rocks on the ground or on top of a large rock. Cover them with several layers of newspaper. Let the children pound the rocks with the hammer until the rocks are a fine powder. Tell the children that is how soil is made. Ask the children if they can think of any ways that nature pounds the rocks. Discuss how waves, wind, and rain wear away rocks.

What is Erosion?


  • A small fan
  • Dry sand or soil
  • Hose or bucket of water
  • Sand box with sand

Erosion is a concept that is probably too difficult for preschoolers to understand, especially the impact that it has on our precious topsoil. However, many preschoolers have been exposed to the effects of wind erosion on a windy spring day when the farmers’ fields are bare and the wind blows the topsoil through the air. Demonstrate this with the fan and the sand. You can do this outside and watch the sand blow away. Repeat this demonstration on a grassy area. Why doesn’t the soil blow away? The grass holds the soil in place.

Erosion with water is a fun thing to do in the sand box. Create a small hill and a river bed flowing from your hill. Allow water to flow down the hill. Watch your river get bigger and your hill get smaller. Allow the water to run slowly then change the speed of flow.

Activities provided by:

Story County Conservation
Nature Boxes for Early Childhood Educators
Debbi Williams
56461 180th St.
Ames, IA 50010
Story County Conservation

_ 0-1
_ 1-2
_ 2-3
_ 3-4
✓ 4-5
✓ 5-6

Category: Group Activities

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.3, 9.4, 11.1, 12.4, 14.3