Sink or Float: A Science Experiment for Young Learners

Do toothpicks float? Does a plastic spoon sink? In this fun and easy Sink or Float Science Experiment, your little ones will find out which types of objects float and sink with this exciting science project. Your kids will get to practice making hypotheses about what they think will happen to each object and then test whether they are right through experimentation.

Want to explore buoyancy with your little one? This sink or float experiment can help!

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Ready to get started with this fun buoyancy activity contributed by the team at Let’s get started!

Experiment for Young Learners

What You Need:

  • Plastic dishpan
  • 5-7 Small household items. Examples include a paper clip, plastic spoon, coin, toothpick and sponge
  • Notebook or binder paper
  • Newspapers
  • Towel
  • Marker or Pen
  • 2 sheets of construction paper

What You Do:

1. To set up for the project, place the newspaper on a table. Write the word “Sink” on one sheet of construction paper and the word “Float” on the other. and the other piece with the word “Float.” Put the objects on the newspaper.

2. Review the meaning of the words “sink” and “float” with your child. Explain that we are going to do an experiment to see which of the objects sink down when they are placed into water and which ones float.

3. Ask your child to guess which objects will sink and which one will float. Place each object next to the appropriate sheet of construction paper based on the prediction.

Sink or Float: A Science Experiment for Young Learners
I had my little one write out her Sink or Float predictions to give her handwriting practice.

4. Divide a piece of binder paper into thirds vertically. Ask your child to draw each object on a piece of binder paper and write her prediction next to each object in the middle column of the paper (sink or float). On the right column of the paper, add a label that says “Result”.

5. Next, add some water into the plastic dishpan. Choose one of the objects and place it into the water. Observe whether it sinks or floats and record the result on the binder paper next to each prediction. Repeat this for each of the remaining objects.

Sink or Float: A Science Experiment for Young Learners
In addition to the items suggested in the activity supply list, we experimented with a LEGO brick, one of the Smurfs, Cinderella, and more. My kiddo loved adding her own items to the test list.

6. Have your child compare the prediction for each object to the result. If any of them do not match, discuss why your child thought about those objects and what she learned. Your child should now have a better understanding of what types of objects sink and float!

More Sink or Float Learning

Want some other ideas to help with teaching buoyancy to your young learner? Here are a few resources to add to your Sink or Float Science time:

  • Buoyancy Worksheets from – These worksheets are great for documenting the experiment or piquing interest a day or two before doing it with your kiddo. While you’re there, be sure to check out their other free worksheets. I’ve been using them in our homeschool for years! :)
  • Magic School Bus Season 2, Episode 13 – You can buy the Season 2 DVD on Amazon, stream the episode through your Netflix subscription, or buy the individual episode through Amazon Prime Video.

Sink or Float: A Science Experiment for Young Learners

Lastly, if you’d like to find more inspiration for tackling preschool at home, see our Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Preschool. :)