Today’s at home STEAM Activity is Floating Pictures! This is another simple and fun activity that you and your kids will enjoy! This magical activity may take some trial and error to get right. And what works one time, may not work the next. In this post I give my tips learned from our experience to help you have the most success with this activity.


  • Water
  • Dry erase markers
  • Plate or bowl (preferably light colored so your drawings will show up better)


  1. Use your dry erase marker to draw a picture on your clean dry plate

2. Slowly pour water onto your plate, starting near the edge

3. Your drawing should begin to lift off the bottom of the plate and float on top of the water

4. Can you grab the floating drawing?

5. Here is a list of variables you can change and see what works best:

  • Different color dry erase markers: does color make a difference?
  • Different shapes and drawings: do outlines or solid shapes work better?
  • Water temperature: does hot, warm or cold water work better?

Here are my tips to improve your success chances:

• Don’t dip the dry erase markers in the water – if it happens, try to wipe it dry on a paper towel until it starts working again
• Very warm water worked best for us
• Color didn’t seem to matter, but newer markers with strong ink deposit work best
• Lines and stick figures worked really well
• We had success with small solid (completely filled in) circles 

I was so excited when the circles lifted off


  • Science: Dry erase markers have low adhesive and are insoluble in water. This combination of properties are what make the ink appear to magically float on top of the water.
  • Scientific Method: Hypothesis, Experiment and Results – if it doesn’t work try again and change one of the variables
  • Art: Dry erase markers are a great medium to practice drawing, any mistakes are easily erased! This is a great opportunity to practice drawing shapes, stick figures, line drawings, and more!

The materials and set up are simple, but the activity is challenging because it doesn’t work every time. My kids became upset when their drawings didn’t float. But I treated it as a learning opportunity: what can we change or do differently to make it work next time?

I hope you try this activity with your kids. It is so exciting for the kids to watch their art work start to float around on top of the water! If you try it, let me know what variables worked best for you.


Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. I only link to products and pages I personally use and highly recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support!

You have Successfully Subscribed!