Experiment with dancing cranberries with this super simple preschool science activity while observing concepts like floating and sinking.
I have five kiddos, yes, five. It makes planning out activities a little difficult since I need to find fun science projects that appeal to kids ranging in age from 0-12 most days. Fortunately, I get some great learning activities in with my littles (the three that are three and under) during the school year!
My kids are all about science and figuring out why things are the way that they are, so this dancing cranberry activity was right up their alley!
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This dancing cranberry activity is so simple, you probably have the supplies needed already! The activity can be done a few different ways, but we will focus on the easiest way for this specific post.
I love to pair my toddler and preschool activities with a book because it helps make connections and encourages my kids to ask more questions, which is a great way to introduce the scientific method to little kiddos!
Time for Cranberries
Time for Cranberries by Lisl H. Detlefsen is a story about a young boy named Sam who helps his family harvest cranberries in time for Thanksgiving.
Our favorite part was talking about what a cranberry bog was! During our preschool science activity, we also talked about how cranberries float and observed our cranberries floating throughout our experiment much like they do in a cranberry bog!
The author Lisl H. Detlefsen actually visited my older daughter’s elementary school last year to read this book! It was super cool for her sister to do an activity with a book that her big sister knew about!
Dancing Cranberry Supplies
- Cranberries (dried or fresh)
- Lemon lime soda (like Sprite!)
- Tall, wide glass (We use a cylinder shaped vase like this for these type of activities)
Toddler Dancing Cranberries Science Activity
I’m not joking when I say this activity couldn’t be any easier! To get started, open a bottle of lemon lime soda and fill up your tall, wide glass almost halfway.
Make sure that there is enough room for your cranberries to dance!! Place your cranberries in one by one. Be sure not to add too many cranberries! Observe what happens!
Preschool Concepts to Discuss
- What does it mean to float? Do cranberries float? What else floats in this activity?
- What does it mean to sink? Do cranberries sink? What makes the cranberries sink?
The Science Behind Dancing Cranberries
As you do this experiment, you’ll see the bubbles gather around the cranberries, these bubbles are filled with carbon dioxide.
The bubbles in the lemon lime soda cause the cranberries to float to the top because the bubbles are lighter than water. As the bubbles pop, the cranberries sink and the process repeats.
We found that this activity works best with dried cranberries, but we were curious about fresh cranberry bogs and decided to investigate how well it would work with fresh cranberries that are a bit heavier than dried cranberries.
Our fresh cranberries danced for a few minutes before my toddler decided to add too many! Oops! That’s science!
Try Different Variations of this Activity
- Try dried cranberries, raisins, corn, grapes, etc! Which items dance the longest?
- Drop cranberries directly into your soda bottle. Do they still dance?
- Try this activity with 1/2 lemon lime soda and 1/2 water. What happens?
Record your results and compare your findings!
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Meet Toni, the Maker Mom behind Our Family Code
Hey there, I’m Toni! I’m a software engineer and Maker Mom that finds my joy in unleashing my children’s curiosity by exploring STEAM concepts with my fantastic five!
When I’m not chasing toddlers or raising tweens, you can find me tearing things up and putting them back together over here at Our Family Code.
I am the owner and content creator of multiple educational websites designed to increase access to STEAM & STEM education with a focus on teaching computer science and coding to kids of all ages!
You can also find out more about me by visiting ToniGardner.com!