Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Preschool Activities: Sink or Float?

by Tiffany Rudd
I remember doing this activity with my mom when I was young and it has been a favorite of my preschool students every year. It’s a favorite of mine too, mostly because it really gets kids thinking and creates such fun surprised reactions, and partly because it is about as simple as it comes. Just a few minutes of preparation and you have a instant fun learning opportunity for children as young as 2 or 3.
All you need for this activity are a collection of random items gathered from around the house and something to hold at least a few inches of water. I used a small storage container, but you could use a large bowl, a bucket or even just the sink or tub. Then just download and print out the “Sink” and “Float” pages I created and have some fun. 
Before letting the kids test the objects, I always start by having them predict which items they think will sink and which will float. It’s fun to see how their little minds work. Usually they end up with all the large items on the “Sink” page and all the small objects on the “Float” page. After they have tested about half the items they begin to make more accurate predictions. 
After they have made their predictions, let them take turns dropping each object in the water. Was the result what they expected? Their surprise and excitement upon discovering which items sink or float make this activity so much fun. I love watching them learn and discover things on their own. Children learn so much better through “doing” and participating in experiments like this than they would through an explanation alone. 
I always end with a quick discussion about why certain items sink or float, but I almost guarantee this experiment won’t stop there. After we finished the activity Cameron and Brooklyn spent at least another half hour gathering items they wanted to test on their own. It made for a very fun and busy afternoon!

Click HERE to download the Sink and Float pages.
If you want the signs to last through more than one day of experimenting I would recommend laminating them.

*If the item does not automatically download, click on the gray box that says, "Download This File"
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I like this activity and the pages look like they may communicate to pre-readers. I appreciate the download!

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