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Activity Documentation: What Floats & What Doesn't?

Whew! It got up to 90 degrees in southern California this week, and there's only so much time at the splash pad I can take. I am very thankful our new Science Idea Box came just in time! Some nice indoor activities to keep us busy is just what I needed. Today, our activity was "What can sink or float in a bowl of water?"


The setup for this activity was easy. I filled a large bowl with water, and Stratton looked around the house for items of varying size and weight. Then, it was time to get started! He made a guess as to whether each item would float or sink, and then, bombs away! Some items he tried were a penny, a pencil, a ball pit ball, and wooden ball.


After trying a clementine, he decided to peel off the skin and see if it would make a difference. It sure did!


After trying a full water bottle, he dumped the water out of the bottle and tried it again empty. It was interesting for him to see how much water the bottle needed inside for it to sink.


Afterwards, we talked about how the items were different, and the reasons why he thought each item behaved as it did. All in all, it was a great after-school activity. Easy to set up, lots of fun, and educational too!

►  Activity
What can sink or float in a bowl of water?

Idea Box

Age of child

Length of time spent on activity (approx.)
30 minutes

►  Materials needed/chosen
Bowl, water, various items around the house

►  Any prep-work? If so, what?
Just filling up a bowl with water, and gathering our items

Directions / What we did
We filled a bowl with water, and tested placing different items in the bowl, to see if they would float or sink.

►  Possible ways to expand on the activity
Maybe try altering each scenario to see if it makes a difference. More or less water, putting the item in the bowl before the water, or adding other substances to the water.

►  What would you do differently next time?
Maybe next time I'd have him write down all his guesses before experimenting with each item

What my child was able to do by themselves
I filled the big bowl with water, and then he did everything else on his own.

►  What my child needed help with
Just filling the large bowl with water and getting it to the table.

►  My child's thoughts about the activity
He thought this activity was fun! A few of the items surprised him!

►  Any other thoughts or info about the activity?
I love that this activity can be done at home with anything you have on hand, nothing special required!

Parent Blogger: Morgan

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