Sort Ariels Cave – Little Mermaid Activity

Did you know materials have different properties that make them suitable for different jobs? For example, windows usually need to be transparent and an umbrella and wellies should be waterproof.

The idea of this Little Mermaid activity is to sort a collection of items Ariel might have in her collection, depending on their properties.

“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. I’ve got whosits and whatsits galore.”

―Ariel, The Little Mermaid

Ariel keeps her treasured human objects in a secret grotto. In this activity you can sort Ariel’s objects into groups for her.

Sort Ariel’s Treasures

Sort Ariel’s treasures as well as you can, by looking at their properties.

Properties of Materials

Flexible and Rigid Materials

Flexible materials are easy to bend, rigid materials are hard to bend.


Transparent materials let light through, allowing you to see through them. Opaque materials do not let any light through (you cannot see through them).


If a material is waterproof it doesn’t let water pass through it and does not absorb water.

Magnetic Materials

Magnetic materials are attracted to magnets.

Hard and Weak Materials

Hard materials are difficult to break. Brittle and weak materials are easier to break.


Materials which are conductors of heat allow heat to travel through them easily.

Materials which are are good conductors of electricity, allow electricity to travel through them easily.


Materials which are insulators do not allow heat or electricity to pass though them.

Properties of Plastics



If heat is applied they can be moulded into shapes.

Not magnetic

Good insulators

Properties of Metals




Good conductors

Iron and steel ( which is mostly iron ) are magnetic

Some metals are magnetic. Iron is the most magnetic metal. Steel is also magnetic because it is made of mostly iron.

Properties of Wood



Properties of Glass


Breaks easily – although thick glass can be strong

Properties of Fabric

Fabrics can be natural ( wool, cotton and silk) or synthetic ( polyester and nylon )

Fabrics can have different properties, including stretchy, insulating or absorbent.

A stretchy fabric would be good for sports clothing and insulating fabrics good for winter jackets.

More activity ideas for learning about properties of materials

Design and build an umbrella for Incy Wincy Spider, remember to make it waterproof!

Make a bed for the Princess and the Pea.

Find the best material for a superhero cape.

I love this mermaid sensory bottle from Powerful Mothering.