Sink or Swim

by | May 27, 2022 | Family Activity | 0 comments

For this exercise, you will need a large serving bowl or tub full of water and clay (not modeling compound). Make 4 small clay balls about the size of a large marble or you can choose to use marbles as in the photo on the website identified below, but you will still need one ball of clay for the boat. One by one, drop the balls/marbles into the water and watch them sink. Talk about how when you give up on an activity, you just sink to the bottom. Talk about how your attitude keeps you going then when your attitude shifts, you sink. For the last ball, talk about endurance and how you don’t want to be a quitter and end up on the bottom. Make this last ball into a boat shape. (You will need to practice beforehand so you know what shape floats and how big to make the balls and boat.) As you shape the clay talk about how you can shape your attitude to endure. Place the clay boat on the water and talk about how ending up on top is the goal. Sometimes you must change things about yourself in order to endure.

This is modeled after an engineering exercise found at


You can process the activity with these questions:
  • How did it feel to see the ball sink to the bottom?
  • Did you think the boat would hold the balls?
  • How much do you think attitude affects the outcome?
  • The next time you get discouraged will you remember the boat?