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Sink or Float Science Activity

Splash into the wonders of science with a fun sink or float activity. Make and test predictions, and then make a graph, all while having fun.

Sink or Float Science Activity

Why Play Sink or Float with Preschoolers

Hands-On Science Exploration

Preschoolers are hands-on dependent. They rely on touching things to help them learn.

This is especially true with concepts like math and science.

The more preschoolers interact with their learning, the more conclusions they can make by themselves, and the more likely they will remember it.

Sensory Experience

Playing in and experimenting with water are great ways to have preschoolers enjoy a different sensory experience—the splashing from the items being dropped in and reaching into the container of water offer sensory experiences.

Critical Thinking

Part of the sink or float activity is having the preschooler think if the item will sink or float.

The more your little one does this sink or float activity, the more they will start to see patterns about what items sink and which ones float.

Sink or Float Science Activity

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Testing Predictions

After a prediction of whether the item will sink or float is made, your little one gets to put it to the test.

Teaching testing predictions from a young age is a great way to encourage scientific thinking.

Introduce Bar Graphs

Data is collected as tally marks and then put into a graph.

This extension of the sink or float activity provides an excellent opportunity to introduce creating a bar graph and what the bar graph shows.

Sink or Float Science Activity

Materials Needed for the Sink or Float Activity

*container (bucket, water table, the kitchen sink– all work!)

*items to test (be sure that water won’t hurt them– no batteries)

*towel to put under the container

Sink or Float Science Activity

How to Play Sink or Float

1. Go around the house (or classroom) and have your preschooler pick out items that your little one is interested in testing.

2. Put a towel down where you plan on doing the sink or float activity.

3. Place the container on top of the towel.

4. Add water to the container. Do NOT fill all the way. When the items are added, the water level will rise.

Sink or Float Science Activity

5. Let the fun begin! Encourage your little one to predict if the items will sink or float. This can be as simple as grabbing an item and saying the prediction before placing it into the container—no need to write it down.

6. Keep track of the items sink or float using paper. Place a tally under sink if the item sinks. Place a tally under float if the item floats.

7. Once all the items are tested, grab your paper with the tallies.

Sink or Float Science Activity

8. Help your little one make a bar graph with a sink and float on the horizontal side and numbers going up the left-hand side.

9. If five items sank, make a bar up to five above the word sink. If three items float, make a bar up to three above the word float.

10. Take it a step further and let your little one experiment to see if she can make items that are floating sinks. A fun thing to do this with is an orange. Try it peeled and unpeeled!

Sink or Float Science Activity

Science Activity for Preschoolers

The wonderful thing about the sink or float activity is that it can be done repeatedly with different items. Once your little one knows how to do it, it’s a great activity to have available in your back pocket so you can finish your coffee while it is still hot.

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