In the summertime, “absolutely not” becomes “whatever floats your boat” a little more frequently. And, because they’re kids, you’d better be prepared for their millions of questions about what that really means, exactly. So teach them! A day of boating science is as fun as it is educational, and we’ve got six simple activities that are bound to make some waves!

Weight and Buoyancy

Not all light things float, and not all heavy things sink, but why? Try this experiment by Rockabye Butterly to test various household objects and toys for buoyancy. Sort the ones that float by size, shape, and weight. Do the same for the ones that sink. You'll be amazed when your piles of objects that sink look similar to the one of those that float.

Scientific Principal
An object's size may play a factor in whether something will float or sink, but it's not the only factor. Density, how solid something is—or how tightly packed together its molecules or atoms are—is a better predictor of whether it will float or sink.

All photos by the author. 

How do you explain the science behind boats to your little captains? Tell us in the comments section below!

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—Shelley Massey