Experimenting with Weight

Experimenting with Weight
Photo by: Nancy M.

sumana Submitted by: sumana

This activity demonstrates the concepts of heavy and light.

0 minutes
18 - 60 months
Group size
1 - 4 tots


  • 2 Small buckets
  • Water
  • Pebbles
  • Paper
  • Feathers
  • Dried leaves
  • Pine cones
  • Sand
  • Dried beans
  • Cotton balls
  • Rice


  1. Fill one bucket with water and leave the second bucket empty.
  2. Have the child lift the empty bucket, explain that with nothing inside the bucket doesn't way very much, so it is "light".
  3. Next, have the child lift the bucket filled with water, explaining that it is now "heavy."
  4. Compare when the buckets are filled with other contrasting weights; rocks and leaves, dried beans and feathers, stones and paper.
  5. Encourage discussion by having the child guess which items will be heavier, and which lighter.
  6. Move on to using their open palms to feel the weight. With a rock in one hand and a pine cone in the other, ask which is light.
Large pebbles versus sand provides an interesting comparison and introduction of volume density.
Have an older child make a chart to track/compare which items are heavy and which are light.

Developmental skills