Last weekend we did a fun experiment! We put a bunch of items in a bin filled with water to see if they would sink or float. It’s a great hands-on science activity for preschoolers and really gets them thinking. Ever since we did this activity my LOs keeps asking me to do it again.
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Whether an object sinks or floats in a liquid depends mainly on two factors: density and buoyancy. Preschoolers should be encouraged to observe whether the same objects will sink or float every time – that there is consistency in the way the objects behave. This activity helps kids categorize a variety of objects according to observable characteristics.
Here’s how we set up our sink or float science experiment.
What you need
- Container or storage bin
- Objects collected from around the house
- Fill a large container with water. We used a toy storage bin.
- Collect items to test out.
- We used stainless spoon, eraser, toy car, acrylic leaf, plastic scissors, plastic easter egg, plastic fruit, small bouncy ball, wooden block, lego, puzzle piece, toy happy man. I made sure to collect two of each, so both kids get to see what it does – float or sink.
- Suggested materials for this activity – wood, metal, plastic, aluminum foil, apples, oranges, plastic bottles, toy blocks, paper, bathtub toys, plastic forks, rubber balls, soda-bottle caps, pencils, erasers, and sponges.
Everytime Miss A(3.5yrs) dropped an item inside we tried to take a guess and observe what it did. We thought lego will sink, but it floats! This was really interesting for her. She learnt new words float and sink and knows what it means.
For Miss D(2yrs) its was fun dropping items in water. She did observe each item to see if which item went down(sinks) or which item stayed up(floats) But was more interested in dropping them in and picking it up back from water.
We had a sheet with words sinks & floats written on it. A did this experiment all by herself and sorted the items in the respective columns. D & me sorted items by looking at which goes down & which stays up. Later the paper got wet, so we had to use a large bin. We kept repeating it for a while – rechecking by putting just the items that float and just the items that sink. This little science activity was a big hit with my kids.
Note: Do this in a place where you don’t mind getting wet and easy to clean up. I used a tray below the water bin to hold spills, but we still got the floor a little wet. If the weather is good you might consider taking it out. We will definitely be doing this again on a warm day outside in our water table.