Floating Art (Art and Science Combined)

Sep 10, 2012

"floating and sinking" "floating activity" "kids science"

Today we decided to combine a bit of floating/sinking science with a creative and challenging way to get arty

Introducing, Floating Art

Ages- 2-6+

Materials- Items that will float (we used natural elements from nature), 
Water, vessel to hold water (we used a large bowl and a deep lid)

We started this activity with a walk outside to find and collect, items that would float
(It was up to Maddie 3.5 to determine what she thought would float but we encouraged her to test a few extra items that she was unsure about)

After collecting items, I set up a table with the materials, a large bowl of water for testing and a large plastic tray/lid to put our tested, floating objects on.

Testing the objects. Use this time to talk about why things float.
Maddie really didn't think the lemon was going to float. This is why we encouraged her to give it a go

Encourage your child to guess whether each item will float or sink before testing.
Older/more advanced children could keep a written record of this.

All the items were tested and those that floated were then placed on the tray/lid ready to make art with

For added fine motor skills we started adding the materials with tweezers
(Although Maddie ditched these after a few goes as it was too slow for her)

Some of Maddie's creations

How about some added early Literacy?
It's a great challenge to make things on water as they keep floating away!

Simple frame

I wanted to create as well. We enjoyed creating and talking together

My progressive Floating Art

More Water Science for kids

Floating, sinking and predicting [Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning] 
Colour Water Discovery Transfer [Learn with Play at home]
Water Science with everyday objects [Creative Connections with kids]
Cloud Jars [Learn with Play at home]
Float, Sink, Freeze, Melt [Momma's Fun World]
Water Bottle Fountain [Learn with Play at home]

More Art with Natural Materials

Flower Stencil Spray Painting [Learn with Play at home]
Flower window collage  [Play Dr Mom]
Sensory Flower Petal Picture [Learn with Play at home]
Ikebana Inspired Teacup Arrangements [The Cardboard Collective]
A Nature picture from nature [Learn with Play at home]

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by focusing on creating the floating art. Where appropriate, introduce the concept of things that sink a float but keep it basic

- Extend this activity by providing a greater focus on the science behind objects sinking and floating. Older children can begin to process things like density and surface area. As suggested, have children predict whether items will sink and float before testing. Have them write up the process in a Science journal or with a basic scientific proforma. 

- Even younger, preliterate children can draw a picture of something floating and something that has sunk and they can always make and test predictions

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "floating" "ripples" "progressive" etc. This will help with their language development and give them words to describe what they're creating and experiencing

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding, eg. "Do you think that will float or sink?" "Why do you think the big lemon could float?" "How are you going to get that to stay in that position?" etc.

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.

Happy playing, creating and discovering,
Debs :)

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  1. So pretty, what a lovely idea. We love anything where you bring the outside in and adding water you can't go wrong!

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  2. This is so cute and really pretty too! It would be a cute idea to do for a party. The kids would get a kick out of their work being displayed on the table! I love your site, and I really love how you give ideas on how to adapt your projects for different ages and stages. Thanks! Thank you for sharing your Water Bottle Fountain post with our Bonbon Break readers this week too! We are thrilled to share your great work and site with our readers!

  3. Oooh this is sooo pretty!!!!! Great to combine science and art!

  4. I love this post, Debs. Your photos are beautiful and it looks like an activity that any child would love.

  5. Those are so pretty! And a great deal of learning involved too! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a lovely little activity.
    My daughter has become obsessed with picking flowers at the moment. Today we made a floating garden for the fairies- but I might just suggest some floating art tomorrow.

  7. How fun, and pretty! This is now on my to do list with my 4 year old. Thanks so much for linking up with Tip toe thru Tuesday. I hope we see you next week.

  8. The images are amazing. Seeing flowers floating in water has such a calming effect. I would totally have bronze pots with floating flowers around the house if my kids were a bit older.

  9. So simple, yet there's so much learning in this. I love the handy tips, they really are handy. The images are beautiful too, the framed flower is my fave!

  10. This is such a gorgeous idea! I love how you have brought science and art together into one fabulous activity. I can imagine my kids making a bit of art soup with all the flowers and plants too! Love it Deb!

  11. I have a 3.5 year old girl too who would just LOVE this. What a perfect idea!!!!

  12. Great activity Deb! Love all the colours and pics are just so pretty! Where did you get those tongs btw?
    So many wonderful ideas here...off to pin now!

  13. Swimming also provides a sensational learning experience for toddlers. When he is busy splashing water and giggling, he’s also learning basic physics concepts of sinking and floating. Know more about the best baby float.


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