Fun Preschool Activity
Fun Preschool Activity
This month, our students at Growing Brilliant Preschool Academy in our Little Learners and Kindergarten Readiness class enjoyed a fun preschool activity with a fantastic scientific sensory bin! We used a water play sensory bin and explored the concepts of density and buoyancy, better known to children as sink and float! You may be wondering, “How do you explain density to a preschooler?” Of course, at their ages (2-5 yrs), the vocabulary and understanding of WHY objects sink or float is not particularly important. The importance of this activity lies in providing the opportunity for children to explore their curiosity and observe the operations of the physical world around them. You can continue the learning that was introduced in class by setting up the following experiment at home! There are SO MANY levels of development touched on in this activity, but don’t let that make you overthink the “right” way to conduct the experience. The learning is happening just by participating in the activity on any level!
Preschool Activity: Sink or Float
Sink or Float Printable PDF (Click the file to download the template for the activity)
Developmental Focus Objectives: Knowledge of the world around them, prediction and observation,
positive social interaction with adults, writing skills, and recording observations.
-Large container of water
-Household objects or toys of various size, shape, material, and density
(ex. Toy animals, blocks, rocks, shells, kitchen utensils, plastic food toys, anything you don’t mind being
submerged in water and does not pose a choking or other safety hazard)
-Optional: Paper or whiteboard to record predictions and observations.
(Click here for our free sink or float prediction and observation printable)
Be sure to do this in a location where your child can fully explore the activity. This is a great outdoor
activity for kids! If outside isn’t an option, you can do it anywhere on the floor with a towel under the
container of water. The floor is preferable to a table, as the child will have better access to the
With all of the objects out of the water, present the objects one at a time to the child and ask the
following questions for each:
-What is this?
-What do you think it’s made out of?
-What do you think will happen when we put this in the water? (At this point, let them think about their
own prediction, we don’t even need to use the words sink or float.) If they are able to make a
prediction, you can record it on the paper. If they have trouble coming up with an idea, you can prompt
them: “Do you think this will float on top of the water, or sink down to the bottom?”
Have the child put the object in the water and ask them to tell you what happened. Record their
observation on the paper. Go on to the next item and repeat the process until they have predicted and
observed as many objects as they are interested in exploring. (Or until you’ve run out of objects you’re
willing to put in water!)
Ways to stretch learning: If your child doesn’t yet write, you can still encourage them to record their
own observations. If they can write single letters, you can encourage them to write the letter that
represents the beginning sound in the name of the object you are working with. If they aren’t forming
any letters at all, you can still encourage pre-literacy and writing skills by allowing them to make any
mark on their paper indicating they are recording their observation.
During the activity, you can encourage critical thinking by asking open ended questions. “Why do you
think that big boat floats on top of the water?” “What do you think will happen if we take the rock out
of the water and put it back in? How do you know?”
Yes, even for infants: Put various objects in the container of water, allow the baby to play with the
objects and the water and explore them as they choose to. You can point to objects and name them, or
push on objects that are floating to submerge them and let your baby watch them pop back up to the
surface. Or you can hold a dense object above the water and gently drop it in so your baby can watch it
sink to the bottom. Use an excited tone and talk about what your baby is choosing to do with the
objects as well. “Oh, I see you chose the apple! Was that apple floating? Now, what will you do with the
apple?” The more time you observe your baby exploring, the easier it is to recognize that literally
everything they do is for the purpose of making meaning of their world. It’s never too early to science,
We would love to hear about your experience trying this fun preschool activity at home! What variations did you use
to tailor it for your child? What were their reactions? Let us know!