15+ Best Floating and Sinking Activities for Preschoolers

Floating and sinking activities are science experiments and activities that help to teach children about the concepts of buoyancy and density.

These activities can involve predicting and testing whether different objects will float or sink in various liquids, experimenting with materials to build floating structures, and exploring the properties of fluids that affect floating and sinking.

What are the Benefits of floating and sinking activities made for kids?

Floating and sinking activities can help children develop a variety of skills, including:

Scientific thinking and problem-solving

Children learn about the properties of materials and how they interact with water. They can experiment with different objects to see which floats and which ones sink and explore why this is the case.

Fine motor skills

Children use their hands to manipulate objects and perform various tasks such as pouring water, stirring, and scooping. So whenever children are invested in performing those activities, their motor skills tend to respond and work in accordance with their brains. 

Social-emotional development

Socio-emotional development refers to children’s emotional, social, and personal skills as they grow. It encompasses a wide range of abilities, including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and the ability to form positive relationships. Children learn to take turns sharing materials and develop patience and persistence as they experiment and make observations.

Language development

Language development is how children learn to understand and use language. It is a complex and ongoing process that begins in infancy and continues throughout childhood and adolescence.

During these activities, children will be able to learn new words related to floating and sinking. They also have opportunities to talk about their observations and predictions.

Sensory development

Sensory development refers to the method through which children learn to use and interpret the information that comes through their senses, including sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell

Children experience different textures, temperatures, and sensations as they handle objects and play in the water. The memory of various senses stays well bonded and allows the child to develop the feeling of feeling things.

What are the Educational benefits related to floating and sinking activities for kids?

Floating and sinking activities can provide a variety of educational benefits for children, including:

Science Education

Children learn about the properties of materials, such as density and buoyancy, and how they interact with water. They can also learn about basic physics concepts like displacement and how it relates to the buoyancy of an object.

Math education

Children can learn about measurement and weight as they experiment with different objects and compare their size and weight. They can also learn about volume and how it relates to the amount of water displaced by an object.


Children are educated to manipulate objects and carry out actions like pouring, to stir, and scooping with their hands, improving their dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Language learning

Language is closely linked to cognitive development, and as children acquire language, they also develop necessary cognitive skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. While performing activities, children learn new and newer words related to floating and sinking activities. Children can later use these words to explain their observations and forecasts.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is analyzing information, understanding different perspectives, and making logical and informed decisions. It is an essential skill for children to develop as it helps them navigate the world around them and make sense of the information they are presented.

To help them develop their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, children learn to predict outcomes, analyze data, and draw conclusions from their observations.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking is the ability to think outside the box, develop new and unique ideas, and approach problems and challenges in innovative ways. It is an essential skill for children as it helps them become more adaptable and resilient in an ever-changing world.

Overall, floating and sinking activities are a fun and engaging way for children to learn and explore different concepts in science, math, and other subjects, while also developing essential skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

Floating and sinking activities you can do with preschoolers.

Listen to the books 

In this case, you are trying to teach preschoolers about what ‘floats and what doesn’t through the medium of art. Children love a storytelling session as the world of cute cartoon characters in children’s books not only narrates them a story but a lesson.

Many children’s books have now transitioned into audio-visual mediums. One such book, “What Floats in a Moat, ” tells the story of a moat that surrounds a castle and the different objects that float in it. It’s a picture book with colorful illustrations and simple text that is perfect for young children learning to read.

The book teaches children about numerous objects and animals that can float in a moat and encourage them to think creatively.

Try Singing Along 

What do preschoolers like to do? They want to make noise. Singing was first seen as noise by many, but there are no such worries when you have a voice that children like.

You can start by selecting popular rhymes and songs that talk about things that float while taking the kids on an adventure. If you make it fun and engaging enough for them, they are bound to sing along to the tales of a boat that floats.

There are various sing-alongs and renditions of excellent books available in the audio and video medium, from which you can choose.

Playing in the water.

Playing in the water can be a great way to encourage physical activity and promote lessons of floating and sinking in preschoolers. Kids play with numerous objects in the water, thus giving them visual wisdom of what is floating and what is sinking.

Here are a few examples of water activities that are suitable for preschoolers:

  • Water play: Provide preschoolers with water toys such as cups, funnels, and measuring cups to encourage them to explore and experiment with the properties of water.
  • Bubbles: Blow bubbles in the water and let preschoolers try to catch them. This activity can be a great way to improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Sensory play: Fill a kiddie pool or basin with water, add items such as beans, pasta, or rice, and let children explore the different textures and sounds.

Sink or Float game

The sink or float game is a simple and fun way for preschoolers to learn more about the concept of density and how it relates to objects. Here is one way to conduct the experiment or game

  • Collect objects that will sink or float, such as a plastic toy boat, a rubber duck, a penny, a piece of wood, a piece of aluminum foil, etc. You will also need a large water container, such as a plastic tub or a sink.
  • Explain to the preschoolers that you will conduct an experiment to see which objects will sink and which will float when placed in water.
  • Place the objects one at a time in the container of water. Ask the preschoolers to predict whether they think each object will sink or float before they place it in the water. Observe as they place each object in the water, and discuss why some objects float and others sink.
  •  After the experiment, discuss the results with the preschoolers. Ask them why they think some objects float and others sink. Please encourage them to explain their reasoning, and help them understand that an object’s density determines whether it sinks or floats.
  • Repeat and try different liquids: You can repeat the experiment with other liquids, such as syrup or oil, to see how the objects behave in different densities and liquids

This experiment can be an excellent way for preschoolers to learn about density and how it relates to the physical properties of objects. It’s also a fun and engaging way for them to learn about the scientific method and the process of making predictions and testing them.

Boat activity

A boat activity for preschoolers is a fun and engaging way to introduce the concept of buoyancy and how different materials can affect how well a boat floats.

Provide preschoolers with materials such as popsicle sticks, straws, or paper cups and have them create boats that will float in a basin of water.

Once the preschoolers have finished creating their boats, have them place them in the water container and observe whether they float or sink.

If a boat sinks, have the child make changes to the boat to make it float. After the boats are tested, discuss the results with the preschoolers.

The game of shapes

You will need a container of water, such as a plastic tub or a large bowl, and various materials for the preschoolers to make their shapes from, such as play dough, clay, or modeling clay. Then, give each child a piece of play dough, clay, or modeling clay and have them create different shapes, such as a sphere, a cube, a cylinder, and a pyramid.

Once the preschoolers have finished creating their shapes, have them place them in the water container and observe whether they float or sink.

Fun Science Activities related to floating and sinking

Water displacement

Fill a container with water and provide small objects such as marbles or beads. Ask the preschoolers to place the objects in the water one at a time and observe how the water level changes. Explain that the water level rises because the object is displacing the water.

Floating and sinking race 

Provide the preschoolers with materials such as plastic cups, paper boats, and corks. Ask the preschoolers to race the materials in a sink or a tub of water and observe which materials float and which sink.

Water density 

Provide the preschoolers with various liquids such as oil, corn syrup, and water. Ask them to predict which liquids will float on top of the others and then perform the activity. Once it’s done, discuss the concept of density and how it affects whether an object floats or sinks.

Density experiment

Fill clear containers with different liquids (such as water, oil, and syrup) and have students predict which objects will sink or float in each fluid. They can then test their predictions by adding various objects (such as a coin, a cork, and a marble) to the containers.

Buoyancy challenge

Give students materials such as clay, straws, and paper and have them design and build a boat that will float and hold a certain weight.

Object scavenger hunt 

Provide the preschoolers with a list of items and ask them to find the objects around the classroom or house. Have them sort the objects by whether they would float or sink.

These activities are a fun way for preschoolers to explore the concepts of floating and sinking and to develop their understanding of density and how it relates to objects.

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