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Children all explore for themselves the ‘concepts’ of float and sink just about every night in the bath.
And I’ve found we can make the experience even richer, by adding various things from around the house to the bath toys.
A large plastic ball that floats, for example, plus 2 small plastic balls of the same size, 1 that sinks and 1 that floats, allows children to see that whether something floats or sinks is a complicated combination of size and weight.
Float or Sink Concepts
This early self-exploration is a great foundation for asking lots more questions:
- Does size make a difference?
- Does what things are made of make a difference?
- Does weight make a difference?
- Does something that sinks in water sink in all liquids?
- Can you change whether or not something sinks in water?
- If you hold something under water will it float when you let go?
- What different things float in different liquids?
- Do some things float with more air in them?
- Can you continuously change whether something floats or sinks?
- Do frozen things float? What happens when they melt?
Luckily there’s loads of fun, simple experiments – not all of them bathtime friendly! – that you can do, even with pre-schoolers, that allow children to explore these questions for themselves.
The key thing I’ve found is that it doesn’t matter if you ‘know’ the ‘right’ words to explain what’s going on – my science education sucked, so I certainly don’t.
Just have the confidence to ask questions and to help children observe what happens – that’s science!
Float or Sink Experiments
We’ve already enjoyed some of these fab ideas for experiments from our fave bloggers and can’t wait to try the rest …
- A simple does it float or sink tray Hands On As We Grow and Trial and Error Mama
- An outdoor float and sink tray including wood that floats and duplo that floats until it’s full of water from Fresh Art Photography
- An outdoor version of a float or sink tray Take Time for Today
- A sink or float bottle from Familylicious
- Seeing what happens to a balloon when you put more air in it Teach Pre-school
- Making pop corn dance in fizzy water Kids Activities Blog and making raisins dance in fizzy water from Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas
- Making something heavy float in water Kids Activities Blog and Sugar Snips
- What do you need to do to a lemon to make it sink Science Sparks
- Floating ice and making rainbows 5 Orange Potatoes
- Shakeable density jars from A Homemaking Journey showing coloured oil and water separating, silt settling, glitter falling and lots more ..,
- What do you have to do to make a marshmallow sink Steve Spangler
- Why do diet soda cans float but full soda cans sink Yo Mamma 321 (you need to scan right down the post for this experiment)
- The impact of water temperature on food colouring dispersal Raising Sparks
- Exploring colour dispersal in water with different amounts of salt in Inspiration Laboratories
- Combining different things to make something “flink” 🙂 Lets Get Fancy
- A very simple density jar showing different things floating different liquids Science Sparks
- Multi-layered density jars from I Love Charts and Science Sparks
- Making eggs float in water by adding salt from Experimenting Mom and Tinker
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