Simple Science Experiments: Sink or Float?

Ivan siling with his sink or float experiment

Ivan is still really interested in science and exploring his world. He wants to know how things work and why.

It can be a challenge to find science experiments that are accessible to a kid like Ivan. He is totally blind and cognitively impaired, but he still wants to be involved in everything and get his hands into anything he can.

We’ve had to keep our science experiments simple, but I still see him learning something every time we try a new experiment.

And he’s having so much fun with it!

Here is a simple science experiment that Ivan loves! In this experiment we learn about which things SINK and which FLOAT! This is a great way to encourage your child to touch, think and explore.


What You’ll Need:

  • a large bowl filled with water
  • small toys or kitchen items that can get wet
  • balloons filled with water
  • balloons filled with air
  • lots of patience and towels for drying off!


Conducting Your Experiment

touching the balloons in the water

  1. Fill up your bowl with lots of warm water. No need to make this an experiment in getting cold! If your child is comfortable they are more likely to remain engaged.
  2. Place your collection of items on the table or floor within arm’s reach. Have your child scan and find an item. Talk about it. Do you think it’s light or heavy? What will happen if we put it in the water? Will it sink or float? Let’s find out!
  3. Place the item in the water and find out if you were right. Don’t be surprised to get a couple wrong yourself. I could have sworn the baseball would sink because it’s heavy… but it floated because it has a hollow center! Talk about which items float and which sink and why.
  4. A fun game to play is to have balloons filled with water and balloons filled with air. They feel very similar because they are all made of the same material, but one is much heavier than the other. And of course only one will float!
  5. If you want to get really crazy, bring out mini and regular marshmallows. One is much bigger than the other, so will the big one sink and the little one float? Nope! They both float! But what happens to them when they get wet? (By the way, Ivan LOVED playing with the wet marshmallows!)


Experiment, have fun and let your child’s curiosity be your guide!



Will it sink or will it float? A simple and accessible science experiment.


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