Preschool science and sensory with balloons and water

This week, we have been exploring water balloons. Before I share this activity with you – let me remind everyone that there are wonderful opportunities for learning with balloons but you have to be watchful and remind young children not to put them in their mouths while they play. Under the right supervision, this activity is really fun for preschoolers…

This was an exploration of hot and cold, sink and float, as well as a little sensory play in the process. To begin this activity, I partially filled a few balloons with some warm water…

As I tied off each water-filled balloon, I handed it off to Wy and he would take it over to the table and place it in a tin foil cake pan filled part way up with cold water…

While waiting for me to fill up more balloons, Wy explored the feel of the balloons. He tried squeezing them and even flattening them like play dough. Because the balloons only had a small amount of water in them and because they were stronger balloons (not thin water balloons), they didn’t pop or burst…

I placed a second cake pan of warm water down next to the pan of cold water and Wy transferred the balloons back and forth from one pan to the other…


After a little time, Wy placed all the balloons in the warm water. Wy preferred playing in the warm water over the cold water. As Wy played, he used the words “warm” “hot” and “cold” often…

Towards the end of Wy’s play, I added a few balloons filled with air. Wy dropped them in the water too and noticed easily that they floated on top of the water. He tried pushing them down in the water but they popped right back up. I mentioned the words, “floating and sinking” through conversation as Wy explored the two different types of balloons…

Because Wy is only 2 1/2 years old, he did not seem to quite grasp the words “float” and “sink”. He really didn’t seem to care for this part of the activity very much. He preferred the balloons that would sink into the water and felt squishy to the touch…

For more to do with balloons – check out these fun ideas…

Sensory Balloons and Balloon Painting from Share and Remember

Play Dough filled balloons from Play Create Explore

Sensory Balloons from Play At Home Mom

Balloon print caterpillar from Moments of Mommyhood

Balloon painting from Jada Roo Can Do

Balloon inflating experiments from Tired, Need Sleep

Balloons from The Motor Story Blog


I am linking this post up with No Time for Flashcards Link and Learn!



Classified: Mom


By |2011-07-31T00:39:20+00:00July 31st, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Chris O July 31, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Try putting some water filled, round balloons in the freezer and let them explore in an open ended way. Good opportunity to learn about condensation.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 31, 2011 at 11:26 am - Reply

      We did do this too – I just didn’t blog about it today:)

  2. Kristah July 31, 2011 at 11:49 am - Reply

    We played with water balloons in water too, my daughter loved it. We put some colored cups with them though. Mixed colors. I like the hot and cold water. I will have to try that.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      I hadn’t thought of adding cups – I will mark that down for another day:)

  3. Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas July 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Deborah, we froze balloons with water recently and the girls loved it too – we explored their size before and after freezing and then they had fun with the frozen balloons.

    We also explored sink and float using some of their toys and at ages 4 & 5 they really got into this activity!

    Would love to invite you over to our child centered linky party – The Sunday Showcase –

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the invite – I have added to your linky:)

  4. Amy July 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    I really like this idea. Do you think it would be a doable project for an 18 month old?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      Hmm, well I think your 18 month old will enjoy feeling and squeezing the balloons but he will definitely want to put them in his mouth too so watch for that:) He (or she) might like to take them in and out of a bucket or jar better than transferring from pan to pan as well.

  5. I like that you added pans of warm/cold water. Love the bright colors! Who can resist balloons? Thanks for sharing my link too.

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