Float or sink experiment

What do you think, will it float or sink?

What do you think, will it float or sink?

Floating minion toy on water

Finding out whether everyday objects will float or sink is an easy and fun scientific activity to do at home with toddlers and pre-school children.

You will need:

  • medium-sized tub of water
  • a variety of waterproof objects from around the house

What to do

Encourage your child to place objects in the water, to explore whether they sink or float. As the activity progresses, you can encourage them to consider the similarities and differences between objects that float and those that sink. They can then use their observations to make predictions about whether other objects will float or sink.

Older children could make, write or draw their findings.

Tip: Try putting an unpeeled orange in water, then peel it and see how this changes the outcome! Or try putting an egg in tap water, then adding salt to the water and see what happens.

Learning and development

This activity will support the development of children’s higher thinking skills, through encouraging them to make observations and apply their knowledge and experience when making predictions.

For toddlers, this is a great activity for extending their vocabulary by introducing new words.

Encouraging your child to write or draw their findings also enhances their literacy development. This activity provides fantastic opportunities for you to help extend your child’s vocabulary, through introducing new words such as buoyancy, theory, observation, experiment and hypothesise.