Will it Float? Salt Water Science

Have an itty bitty one at home that loves our Sea Saw underwater game? Let’s be honest… who doesn’t love watching the fish?

There are lots of questions you can ask your child to enhance their play-based learning while they’re swimming in Sea Saw. One way to develop their scientific reasoning is to introduce the concept of prediction. Ask questions like “Which color fish do you think we’ll see next?” or “How many purple fish do you think we’ll see?” Be sure to follow up each question with why, which encourages your child’s cognitive reasoning (plainly stated, the ability to think about his or her thought processes). Don’t worry if your two year old provides a reason that seems silly or says “I don’t know.”

If you want to take the concept of predictions even further, you can explore salt water life with your kiddo — right in your own kitchen. Your little one will love (and I really mean love) getting to be a scientist in this fun experiment!

Will It Float? Salt Water Science

This experiment comes from the whole idea of bath toys and seeing what floats and what sinks. The idea originally came from Kiwi Crate, but I’ve adapted it a bit to make it work for toddlers and young preschoolers.

SUPPLIES: Water, two clear glasses, 1 oz. of salt, small balls or other objects, soap, spoon

BACKGROUND: Set the experiment up by explaining to your child that the ocean — where all those fun animals live in Sea Saw — is VERY salty. Today, you’re going to  investigate what things float in fresh water and what things float in salt water.

STEP ONE: Fill each glass 3/4 of the way full with water. Add food coloring if desired (we did to make our photos easier to see!)

STEP TWO: Add salt to one glass. Stir well.

STEP THREE: Look at your objects. Ask your child if they think a particular object will sink or float in the fresh water. Remind them about the bath tub and to think hard about the toys that sink or float when they take a bath.

STEP FOUR: Drop a small ball in the fresh water. Observe what happens.

STEP FIVE: Retrieve the ball from the fresh water and drop it in the salt water. What happens?

STEP SIX: Drop the small soap in the fresh water. Does it sink or float?

STEP SEVEN: Drop the small soap in the salt water? Does it sink or float?

CONCLUSION: Salt water is heavier than fresh water, so very light things will float in both. Things that are heavy will sink in both. Some things, like soap, are heavier than fresh water and lighter than salt water. So soap will sink in fresh water, but float in salt water. The ocean’s salt water is what makes it easier for us to float, too! You can find out more by visiting Kiwi Crate.

Again, your young child may or may not grasp all of the scientific concepts being introduced in this one activity. But bet they’ll love playing in the water. And that’s what counts.


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