How to explain pressure to a five years old?

2023 Jan 12

Pressure is a concept that can be difficult for a five-year-old to understand, but there are a few ways to explain it in a simple way. One way to start is to explain that pressure is a force that pushes or pulls on something. You can give examples of things that they might already be familiar with, such as the air in a balloon pushing against the walls of the balloon when you blow it up, or the water in a hose pushing against the pavement when you spray it.

Another way to explain pressure is by using the example of pushing a toy car across the floor. You can tell them that when they push the toy car, they are applying pressure to the toy car and that makes it move.

Another way is to talk about the feeling of pressure in our body, for example the pressure we feel when we have a headache or when we have ear pressure during a flight.

You could also use simple props like a squeezy ball or water bottle to demonstrate what pressure is, by squeezing the object and explain that the pressure inside is pushing against the wall of the object, or pouring water from a container to show that pressure of the liquid inside is pushing it out.

It’s also important to be patient and let your child take their time to understand the concept. Keep repeating the explanation in different ways and give them examples of pressure so they can start to build a mental model of the concept.