April 6, 2014

Sink or Float

Water Science for Kids

Sink or float with a twist - combining an object that sinks with one that floats to see what happens

Everybody loves the classic sink or float game, right?  We play this often, and my boys especially enjoy finding new objects to test in the water.  We've been having some hands on fun with water science for kids lately including making a needle float.  To continue with our water science theme we put a simple spin on the game of sink or float.

How to play sink or float

How to Play Sink or Float

Directions:  First gather as many random items from around the house as you can.  Like I mentioned, the boys love this part.  A few of the items we used included a ruler, a spoon, a Lego figurine, a bubble wand, an apple, a pipe cleaner, a marble, a Nerf dart, a pom pom, a token, a crayon, a matchbox car, a wine cork, a wooden block, and a domino.

Water science for toddlers - sink or float with common household items.

With younger children, toddlers and young preschoolers, have them take turns dropping objects into the water.   Depending on their age, children can make predictions about whether an object will sink or float.  Even older children, like JZ (6), can make a chart.

He wrote down every object and marked an X either under the word "sink" or under the word "float" depending on his prediction.

Homeschooling with multiple ages can be tricky, and having toddlers around provides and excellent way to develop patience in older children (and mom!)  Tank and Peanut (35 months) wanted to quickly throw everything in to the bucket of water.  Who can blame them?  We worked hard to take turns and occasionally had to fish something out of the water if JZ had not yet made a prediction.

A simple twist on the classic sink or float game - water science for kids

Though these moments require extra patience, they are worth it.  I love watching my four boys learn together.  These are the best parts of my day.

Some of the objects like the matchbox car and marble are easy to predict.  Other items tricked us.  My favorite was watching JZ's face when the pom pom sunk to the bottom.  Since it is so light he expected it to float.  Instead, it quickly absorbed water and made its way to the bottom.

Will it sink or float?  I love finding items that have surprising outcomes in this water science game.

The fun twist we put on this water science classic was to see if we could make objects that float sink to the bottom by attaching them to something that sinks.  As seen in the image at the top of the page we used a pipe cleaner to attach a toy car to a wine cork.  In the first round of sink or float, the car immediately sunk to the bottom while the cork floated on top.  JZ correctly predicted that the weight of the car would pull the cork to the bottom of the bucket.

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How to play sink or float - simple water science for kids

More water science for kids:

How to make rain in a jar - hands on weather science for kids  How to color bubbles - what a simple way to this favorite past time even better!  Exploring surface tension - simple water science for kids


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