How to Set Up a Preschool Science Investigation: Floating and Sinking

Lara has been playing with water a lot recently.

She has been learning about floating and sinking, density, capacity, and water displacement, whilst also honing her fine motor skills with all the pouring!

Yep, this is home education (unschooling) in action!

About to begin the experimenting

To set up a floating and sinking experiment for your toddler, you just need to assemble a few household items, some toys and other objects that they can use, and let them experiment.

You will need:
  • a bowl of water, preferably slightly warm
  • a large towel or two
  • a plastic sheet, oilskin tablecloth, or similar
  • a variety of small objects and toys
  • some small containers for pouring
  • a willing toddler (not difficult!)
  • a curious cat (optional)

  • Lay sheet on floor and cover with towels
  • Bring all other ingredients together
  • Sit back and watch
  • Comment occasionally on what is happening, but DO NOT interfere!! ;o)

I know these float...

... what about these?
Interestingly they stood up in some depths and floated at others.

The results so far

Misha wants to help

Honing fine motor skills with pouring.

Unfortunately Mr PotatoHead has holes so the water came out again, another learning point.

Lara then decided to separate her items into two categories -
those which held water, and those that didn't.

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