Playful Science: Sink or Float Experiment with Lemons

This simple science experiment for kids, is a fun way to learn about buoyancy. It requires nothing more than a glass of water and a lemon, and the results might surprise you!

Sink or float experiment with lemons

We carried out this simple sink and float experiment to learn about buoyancy. If you have a glass of water and a lemon (or lime or orange) on hand, then you have all you need to try this out. You’ll need two lemons of a similar size – one with the rind on and the second one peeled. Alternatively, use the same lemon – simply drop it in the water with the rind on first, then peel it and drop it into the water again and see what happens differently this time.

Simple experiment with lemons

R (5 yrs) began by dropping the lemon with the rind still intact, into a glass of water. He was excited to see that it floated!

Sink and float experiment

He then dropped the peeled lemon into a second glass of water. He was surprised to see what happened next….

sink and float science experiment

The peeled lemon sank! The obvious prediction was that the peeled lemon would float since it weighed less than the lemon with the rind still on. I explained to R that the lemon rind acts like a life jacket – the rind is filled with air bubbles that keep the lemon afloat. We have been talking to R recently about life jackets. We need to buy one for him soon so that he can ride on his uncle’s boat. This was a great experiment to relate back to that conversation and explain how the life jacket will work.

science for kids sink and float

Although this experiment was super-simple, R was occupied with it for some time. He tested what would happen if he put two lemons, with rind on, into the same glass. They still float!

float and sink experiment for kids

He enjoyed moving the lemons from glass to glass.

Kids science experiment

He was also fascinated to know what the peeled lemon felt like and when the experiment was completed, we cut open the peeled lemon and he used a hand juicer to extract the juice. He was so excited to do this and so now it is his job every Sunday morning (our pancakes for breakfast morning) to juice the lemons!

Looking for more playful science ideas? Here are some other activities we’ve enjoyed. Just click on the photo to be taken to the full post!


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  1. I love this!! Sometimes the simplest activities are the most thought-provoking and engaging. Thanks for sharing. Pinning for an upcoming L is for Lemons theme.

  2. Love your new header!

  3. I will have to try this with my boy! Thank you!

  4. Hello! I have lots of lemons to use up right now and this looks like a great way to use them! I have linked up to this post in my grateful/10 ways to use lemons post. It’s live tomorrow morning(23 August) – I’m telling you now so I don’t forget! :)

  5. In fact no matter if someone doesn’t understand then its up to other people that they will assist, so
    here it occurs.

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