Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christmas Sink or Float: Toddler Science

Want to try an easy to set up toddler science activity? 

This Sink or Float science activity is popular year round with any materials you have on hand, but today we're giving it a Christmas twist! I always love a good theme. 

If you have a container, water, and a few Christmasy objects, you can do this Christmas Sink or Float activity right now with your toddler. This activity is always guaranteed to give me at least 15 minutes of peace (often more). 

Note: Make sure you are always supervising kids around water.

Christmas science doesn't get better than this! 

Dropping things in water and making a little splash and trying to sink things is my kid's idea of heaven.

What do kids learn doing sink or float?

When kids get started with a simple sink or float activity, you don't need to go into the nitty gritty details about buoyancy and density. That will be totally over their heads.

The first thing I like to teach kids when starting an experiment is to make a guess about what is going to happen (or hypothesis). Then, we try out the experiment to see if we were right and make a conclusion.

We keep it really simple. 

We also teach kids the new vocabulary words: sink and float.

Sink means that the object goes all the way under the water. Float means that the object stays at the top of the water. 

How to set up Christmas Sink or Float:

To get started, grab your materials! 

Here are the materials we used for sink or float:

  • Bowl
  • Large plastic container
  • Water 
  • Items around the house that will sink or float (I try and help kids pick some heavy and light objects. We try and avoid objects that are non-porous or could rust).
  • Piece of easel paper
  • Markers
  • Painters tape 

Instructions to do sink or float:

1. First we put a paper on the wall that listed off each object and we wrote an S or a F next to it depending on whether we thought the object would sink or float. This was our guess (aka hypothesis).

2. Then we were ready to start dropping objects into the plastic bin. Each time we dropped something, we put an X on our paper under either sink or float, depending on what it did.

Some of the objects were tricksters.

For example, the plastic ornaments floated for awhile, and then as they started to get water inside of them, they would start to sink.

This was so surprising and helped my toddler problem solve a bit to try and figure out what was happening.

Similarly, one of the plastic cookie cutters sunk to the bottom while another floated. My kids loved experimenting again and again with these to see if it changed,

The pom pom also floated at first, but then began to sink as they got heavier from the water.

The kids were fascinated by the unpredictability of these items.

This Christmas science activity is a great way to introduce your child to the scientific process in a hands-on non-pushy way. 

Do you have any other favorite science activities for toddlers?

Here are three more fun Christmas science activities your toddler will love:

For Day 5 of our #HandsOnChristmas series with Jenae from I Can Teach My Child, we're sharing some easy Christmas science ideas! 

If you missed any of our activities, Go here to check them out.

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