Sink or Float: a classic activity for toddlers
Your toddler needs to play sink or float. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s a powerful science experiment that toddlers can so success for with. You need to set this one up!
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Just about the easiest activity you can set up…
Sink or Float is one of the easiest science experiments to set up for a toddler, but it’s one of the best.
Kids love the instant gratification of testing an item to “sink or float” and I love how this activity stays with them: forever they will question whether an object sinks or floats – harking back to this activity.
It’s an oldie but a goodie for a reason.
Sink or Float teaches kids so much about science
It may not seem like some fancy shmancy science experiment, but this is a GREAT one for teaching kids more about the scientific method.
This activity uses all the steps and it’s amazing to see kids really internalize the steps in this process. How amazing that something which I didn’t learn until high school, is so simple that my toddler can start applying it today (which help of course…).
Here’s how it follows the scientific method:
1. We gather our materials.
2. We pose a question: will the objects sink or float?
3. We make a hypothesis (I share this word with my kids but I don’t make them memorize it. I say “Let’s make a hypothesis if this will sink or float. Let’s take a guess.” Kids are amazing at understand language, internalizing it, and applying it later. We just have to be willing to share those “million dollar words” with them.
4. Do the experiment and test the hypothesis.
5. Analyze the result: did sink or float?
6. Share the conclusion of the experiment: this one is a no-brainer because kids LOVE sharing new information with us.
What a simple activity – but it’s so important!
It’s important that we expose our toddlers to science – there’s no reason not to and every reason TO DO IT.
Toddlers and science go together. Their natural curiosity is the heart beat of science. After all, isn’t every toddler’s favorite words, “but why?”.
They were made to be scientists!
It’s an easy set up for sink or float
I did this in a sensory bin – I love to define the learning space with a storage container AND that helps hold in the water.
Inside the bin, I put a bowl of water and a gaggle of items from around the house. I didn’t know which ones would sink and which ones would float.
My toddler (2.5 here) was charged with finding out the answer.
He’d hold an item, make his hypothesis / guess, and then test the item.
He did 3 rounds of this using the same items and it was HUGE for him. Months later, he still talks about whether an item might sink…or if it’s going to float.
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Think more about toddlers and science.
These little learners of ours are full of passions for science – we just need to introduce it to them. And that scientific method – we don’t need them to memorize the steps, but we can explain the process to them.
This is a not-to-be missed activity.
When will you set up sink or float?
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