Children love playing with water, so activities involving water are always enjoyable. Simple changes can add new experiences, for example using warm water, cold water, soapy water, coloured water or adding salt. Containers of different shapes and sizes, sieves, water wheels and funnels can also be added to extend the activity.
Floating and Sinking
You will need
Water Tray or a large bowl full of water
Various objects of different size, shape, weight, maybe include something with holes
2 containers or plates to put the sinkers and floaters on separately
Paper and pencils to record the results
- Select a variety of objects with the children.
- Talk about the size, shape and weight of the objects.
- Ask the children to guess which objects will sink or float.
- Place the objects in the water one at a time.
- Talk about what happens to the object: if it floats, which way up is it, is it on top of the water.
- Sort the objects into sets, those that float and those that sink.
- Talk about their predictions, were they correct, and encourage the children to discuss what they think makes something sink or float.
- Record the results with simple drawings on two halves of a page.
This activity can be extended by using small plastic trays and floating them on the water. Gradually get the children to add small bricks or other objects to see how many the tray will hold before it sinks.
Looking at Ice
You will need
Tray or large plate
Food colouring (optional)
This activity will probably need to be prepared in advance if ready access to a freezer is not possible.
Before making the ice ball, talk about water and when and how it freezes, maybe using reference books to show pictures of ice.
- If you have already prepared a frozen balloon, you could still show a balloon being filled with water and let the children feel it, before bringing out the frozen one.
- When you bring out the frozen balloon compare it with the one filled with water.
- Talk about any changes the children notice.
- Tap both balloons with a small hammer or drum stick, what's the difference?
- Touch both balloons, but be careful with the frozen one as it may burn small fingers.
- Cut the balloon off the frozen water, put it on a deep tray and let the children look at the ice.
- Talk about what they can see.
- Ask the children about what will happen to the ice if it is just left on the tray.
- Ask if they know how to make it melt faster.
- Leave the ice to melt, but get the children to look at it every 15-30 minutes depending on the temperature of where the ice is.
- Record the size of the ice as it shrinks using black paper and chalk.
The frozen water can be made more interesting if food colouring is added to the water before it is frozen.
In the summer months it might be fun to extend the activity by making Ice lollies.
All children love bubbles so this activity will always be popular.
You will need
Bubble blowers, bought and hand made, (for hygiene reasons enough for each child to have their own blower)
Some suitable solution to make bubbles
Container for the bubble solution
To make some blowers, plastic covered garden wire (medium thickness) and some tape to bind the handle.
A cloth is useful for all the drips especially
inside where it can make the floor slippery.
Care should be also taken with bubbles bursting near children's eyes.
Bubble activities can be done anywhere but can be more fun outside as any breeze will carry the bubbles away; if it is damp outside the bubbles will also last longer.
- Ask the children where they might see bubbles at home, when washing up, bath time etc.
- Using some bought blowers let the children blow some bubbles.
- See who can blow the biggest or the most bubbles.
- Talk about the shape and size of the bubbles.
- Look closely at a bubble while it's still attached to the blower: can the children see any colours?
Make some different shaped blowers using the garden wire, make a shape and then twist the two ends of the wire to form a handle. If the ends of the wire are sharp bind them with some tape or fabric plasters.
- Talk about the shape of the hand-made blowers and ask the children what shape bubble they think they will make.
- Let the children blow the bubbles and see if they were right.
- Record their findings, draw the shape of the blower and next to it draw the shape of the bubble it makes.
- Ask the children what they have learnt from this.
The activity could be extended by doing Bubble painting for some ideas.