Science Experiments for Toddlers — Sink or Float? (With free printable!)

I’ve had this one on my mind for a while, and after seeing the way L was interacting with the objects I put in her water sensory bin, I knew it was finally time!

We love water works over here — the opportunity to get wet is more than L can resist, and I figure if she’s going to do it anyway I might as well make it educational.  This is our first “science” work, and it’s a hit!

I set up a tray with a bowl full of objects, a sorting chart, and a clear bin full of water.

[I do not keep the bin full of water when it’s just on the shelf — it is very heavy, and N is starting to be able to reach up that high!  I fill it when L asks for it.]

sink or float2

Before we started, I explained the chart to L.  She can’t read yet (she’s only 2!), so I included simple pictures to go along with each category.  I showed her that the triangle on the first side of the chart falls to the bottom of the bin — it sinks.  The triangle on the second side of the chart stays on top of the water — it floats.

sink of float 3Before we dropped each object into the water, we guessed whether it would sink or float.  L guessed “float” for almost all of them.  Then we dropped one object in and observed.  We compared it to the pictures on her chart, then took the object out and placed it in the correct category.  We repeated this process until all of the objects were sorted.

When she was finished, L got a washcloth to dry up the water all over the tray and chart.

This is a great first science experiment for young children, as well as an introduction to opposites!


Click here for your free Sink or Float Chart.

{I laminated mine so it doesn’t get ruined by the water.  If you don’t have a laminator, you can try putting it in a sheet protector and sealing the open end with clear packing tape.}

Tag me on Instagram [@angelamomtessori] when you do this project so I can share you!  🙂



9 thoughts on “Science Experiments for Toddlers — Sink or Float? (With free printable!)

  1. I have to try this with my 2 year old. Is always hard for me to figure out activities to do with him. As a teacher I want to make sure he is ready for school but since I teach middle school sometimes I am out of touch with what appropriate for his developmental level of learning. Thanks a lot for this idea.

  2. Love this! There is a hollow wooden shell near us which, because we’re in England, is usually full of water and Little Bear loves to see what he can find that will float and sink.

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