Sink or float

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Developmental Area
Open-Ended Play Opportunities for Young Children

Sink or Float!

This activity allows children to explore a variety of materials and test to see if they will sink or float. Children use their critical skills, create and test their hypothesis and discuss the end result of the experiment. This may seem like a simple learning opportunity but with the right questions and materials, can be turned into an engaging and fun learning opporutnity.


For this activity you will need:

Learning Goals

Here are the aims and goals of this preschool activity and learning opportunity:

Process Description

Step 1

Children collect various materials from the natural and man-made environment. Materials can include coins, leaves, paper, wood or any material they find interesting. When the materials have been collected, ask children to predict if they will sink or float when placed into water and record their assumptions.

Step 2

The items children think will float, should be placed on one side if a table while the items they think will sink, should be placed on the opposite side. If you have labels (i.e. sink / float), put the relevant materials under their relevant label.

Step 3

It’s time to test! Start placing the objects into the water to see if they will float or sink!

Step 4

Engage in discussion! What happened? Was your assumption correct? Why/why not?


If you find that children are interested in science or want to introduce further water-based science experiments to the children, check out our video on exploring with water clouds.

Reflective questions

Here are some sample reflective questions to get you started…

Looking and responding

Start by asking the children to describe what they see. Draw attention to specific details that link into curriculum goals. Why did this float but not this? What is the difference between these two objects (size, weight, density)?

Author Bio

Wendy Oke
CEO, TeachKloud

TeachKloud is a cloud-based management platform for early childhood educators and parents!


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