Water is such a wonderful resource in the preschool classroom as it can be used for all types of play, exploration, and learning.

One of our most recent water activities was to gather up some items from nature then answer the question “Does it sink or float?”

The Checklist

The children started out by reviewing a short checklist of nature items I put together based on the kinds of items I knew were available around our school grounds.

Then each child took their checklist outside to find and gather each of the items on their checklist.

Bringing the Items inside

As the children found each item, they brought the items inside and set them by their name until they had every item on the list sitting on the table.

Testing the Items

Now we were ready to begin our exploration with sink or float. The children chose the first item on their list which was a piece of bark and made a guess as to whether the bark would sink or float. Once the guesses were all in, the children dropped their bark in the water to check their guesses and make any other observations they found interesting.

The bark was then removed from the water and we repeated the process for each item on our check list which included sticks…



And flowers…

This bright group of students were able to guess quickly which nature items might sink or float but some of our items tricked us a bit since it had rained the night before. The bark was particularly tricky because although some of the pieces of bark floated, some of them sank depending on how wet they were. We also took a few minutes to watch our leaves float across the water by blowing on them.

A terrific study on the concept of floating vs. sinking!  If you would like a copy of our checklist – just click here for the PDF!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Exploring what will sink or float in preschool by Teach Preschool

Balloons and Water by Teach Preschool

Sink or Float Bottle by Chasing Cheerios

F is for Float by Brilliant Beginnings