This is a nice open ended experiment that looks at buoyancy, Archimedes principle, displacement and gravity through play!

Suitable for ages:
2 years and up
Time required:
30 mins
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Related Programs: Vessels

Enjoying science play and simple experiments with young children is a fun and easy opportunity to foster their curiosity and problem solving skills.

You could keep this really simple by just using the plasticine and water to make a boat shape but if you’ve got the energy, letting them experiment with making something out of a range of materials is even more fun.

How to create brilliant buoyancy experiments 

What You'll Need:
  • Tray of water
  • Rubber bands
  • Foam or plastic party cups
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Plasticine
  • Weights such as marbles or balls of plasticine
  • Sticky tape
  • Balloons blown up to about 10-15cm diameter
  • Paper plates

How to Experiment:

  • Challenge your young scientist to create a boat that floats out of whichever materials they like.
  • Ask questions along the way to see what they observe.
  • Which materials float easily? Which ones sink?
  • Which materials are easily made into the shape of a boat or raft?
  • Try adding some weights to your boat. How much weight can it hold before it sinks?
  • What happens to the height of the water in our tray when we put the boats/ materials in? Use a marker to show how the water goes up. 

We’d love to see your creations! 
Please send us photos either by email to: web@sea.museum or tag us on Instagram - just tag the photo with our username @sea.museum

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