August 3, 2022

Sunscreen Science Project for Preschoolers

The Lady from a Small Town commented on an earlier post, Sunbleached Alphabet Puzzle. This inspired the sunscreen science experiment. She was familiar with an experiment in which sunscreen was painted on paper, and then the sun bleached it except for the painted areas.

The Scientific Method was added because I had always wondered which sunscreen type was more effective: spray-on or rub-on.

What’s the Scientific Method? This is a method of identifying a problem and finding the solution using evidence. The Scientific Method has four steps.

  1. Ask a question
  2. Create a hypothesis or a statement about truth
  3. Experiment with your hypothesis.
  4. Find out if your hypothesis is true.

Question Which sunscreen works better: Spray-on or rub-on?

Hypothesis: Ruby-on is better.


This sunscreen science project has been tried twice. We had mixed results, as you’ll see below. Both experiments used the same sunscreen brand and had the same SPF. We folded each page in half because there were different shades on the pages. The kids’ freestyle was painted on one half of the paper with sunscreen. We then sprayed sunscreen on the other side of the paper. After that, the papers were placed in the sun for several hours.

This sunscreen experiment requires supplies

    • Any color construction paper, except white
    • Sunscreen spray or rub-on (the exact same brand and SPF)
    • Paper plate
    • You can also use your fingers or paintbrush

Step 1

Use brightly colored or dark construction paper to fold each sheet in half. Fold your paper in half again.

Step 2

Use a spoon to apply some sunscreen to a piece of paper. You can use your fingers or a paintbrush for fun pictures on the other half of your construction paper.

Step 3

Spray your sunscreen on the other side of the construction paper. Let your paper pieces out in the sun for at most 3 hours. Then wait to see what happens.

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