Teaching students about the properties of science that are related to sinking or floating is a great opportunity to incorporate some hands-on science experiments. As students begin to learn more about density and buoyancy, they can use household items to test their thinking. These 20 sink or float activities will spark lots of sensory learning and help students understand more about the concept of buoyancy.
1. Sink of Float Sort
This printable sink or float activity requires students to sort items based on their hypotheses or observations. They can explore and research to see which ones float or sink. If you prefer they can sort them based on their guesses and test them out or research afterward.
Learn More: Mrs. B’s Beehive
2. Sink or Float Prediction Activity
Using common household items like food and coins, students can touch each item and make a prediction of whether it will sink or float. They can use the worksheet to make predictions first and then test them out; marking their findings in the next column.
Learn More: Gift of Curiosity
3. Garden Sink or Float
Learners can use a large container of water to test out items from the garden to see if they will sink or float. Let students gather rocks, leaves, flowers, and other items from the garden. They can track their findings on a checklist.
Learn More: The Kindergarten Connection
4. Tin Foil Boat Experiment
For this activity, you’ll need aluminum foil and coins. Learners can build small tin foil boats and add coins as they determine how much it takes to sink their foil boat. Students can make estimates as to how many coins each boat will hold before it sinks.
Learn More: Hands On As We Grow
5. Surprise Egg Sink or Float
Use a large bowl of water and fill plastic eggs with surprise items. Students can see which ones float and which ones sink. Then, they can open the eggs to check out which items are buoyant or not.
Learn More: In the Playroom
6. Video and Experiment
Show this video to students so they’re able to have more background about sinking and floating. They can learn more about the vocabulary associated with this topic. Then, they can test out their predictions, using common household items.
Learn More: PBS Kids
7. Test Different Ways
Most sink or float activities require students to add items to a container of water. This experiment is a bit different. Add items to a container and then add the water. Before adding the water, learners can make predictions about which items will float. Have students find natural items from nature to test out.
Learn More: A Stemful Mind
8. Sink or Float Play Station
Create a play station for students to explore sinking or floating. Arrange four different bins. One is for holding the items to be tested and one is full of water. The other two bins are for sorting the items into the sink or float status.
Learn More: Fun with Mama
9. Sink or Float With Oranges
This simple orange sink or float activity allows students to test their theory on whether or not an orange will float. Will it matter if you take off the orange peel? Try both theories in a cup of water and have students make predictions before you test the fruit!
Learn More: Laughing Kids Learn
10. Egg Experiment
Will a plain egg sink or will it float? Students can make predictions and test them out. They can add salt or other things to the water to see if they get a different result. You can also have them test out a hard-boiled egg and make predictions as well.
Learn More: Moose Mischief
11. Peeps Sink or Float
Marshmallow peeps are a fun treat! Use them in this experiment to decide if it will sink or float. This handout will allow students to state their prediction, draw what happens, and state the final test result.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
12. Fill Your Boat While It Floats
This experiment will leave a lot up to students to decide. They can decide if they want a single, flat sheet of aluminum foil or several sheets formed into an aluminum ball. They can then use small glass beads or even marbles to see how much their design will hold before it sinks.
Learn More: Inquiring Minds
13. Salt Water Experiment
This experiment calls for salt water. Use a cup of water as a control, and then add salt water, sugar water, and baking soda to other cups of water. Students can make predictions based on the added materials to the water.
Learn More: The Science Kiddo
14. Density Experiment
By demonstrating how items are affected by the liquid they are placed in, students will be able to see the distinct separation of three liquids.
Learn More: Brigitte Brulz
15. Apple Boat Floating
Little ones will enjoy creating apple boats to see if they float or sink. Cut the apples into smaller pieces, and add a toothpick and a paper sail. Then, place the apple boats in the water to float. Students can test out the weight of the apple piece, the shape, the size of the sail, and many other factors they think will have an effect on the apple sinking or floating.
Learn More: Mom Brite
16. Different Liquids Experiment
Fill three cups with water. One will be the control and the other two can have oil and soap added to them. Use these to test items; checking to see if they sink or float. Students can keep track of their predictions, and test results, and compare their findings with their friends.
Learn More: A Dab of Glue Will Do
17. Island Stacking
Fill a punch bowl with water to test out this sink or float activity. Let students stack assorted items and determine how much can be stacked before the tiny towers topple and sink. They can use different items and make predictions for each material.
Learn More: The Keeper of The Memories
18. Christmas Themed Sink or Float Experiment
Themed sink or float activities are a great way to have some fun around the holidays. Choose Christmas-themed items, like a bell, colored pom poms, cookie cutters, and even foam ornaments. Students can touch the items and make predictions before testing them out.
Learn More: Toddler Approved
19. Include Picture Books
Students will be intrigued by the thought of how things float or why they sink. Including nonfiction picture books in your lesson planning for this unit will be a great way to provide ideas and a model for students to use and see as they learn more about the topic.
Learn More: Mrs. B’s Beehive
20. Willy Wonka Candy Experiment
All candy is not equal! Use popular candy bars to test out whether they will sink or float. Students can practice measurement skills and record all the data on a tracking sheet. They can make their predictions and record results after testing each one out.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers