Will It Float? Making Boats

Yesterday, Lizzie looked up at me and said, “Mom, I want to make a speed boat. One with a window on the front.”

Well, okay… let’s get started!

Keep in mind that unlike most of my other projects, this time I had no plan whatsoever going into this. We were winging it, but we were up to the challenge.We dug through our recycled parts and came up with an empty toilet paper tube. Was it lightweight? Check. Will it float? I hope so.

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The next challenge was waterproofing.Certainly we could just try to float the cardboard, but it was thin cardboard and would get soggy quick.

Also, we were making a speedboat, so shiny and flashy seemed perfect. So we got out the aluminum foil and covered the tube. We had already cut the tube so that it would open up and lay flat(ish). It still had a bit of a curve to it, which worked in our favor.

After it was covered, we taped down the loose ends. Then we started bending.

We started with a sharp crease in the middle for a small “v” to imitate the bottom of a speed boat.

We bent the cardboard more to make a flat bottom and curved sides.

Now it was time for the window. Lizzie wouldn’t let me forget the window.

We cut a thin strip off another tube, flattened it a bit and covered it in plastic wrap. We then taped it to the front of our boat.

It was time to test out our boat! Did we do it?

Lizzie filled the sink with water and carefully put her boat in.

Guess what? We did it! It floated! Success!

A few final thoughts:

In hindsight, we should have bent up the front and back of the boat to keep water from seeping into the boat.

Also, despite out best efforts, the cardboard did end up getting soggy (after a lot of play).

But, all in all, I would consider this experiment a success. We started with nothing and with a bit of problem solving, we ended up with a speed boat. Isn’t that what learning is all about?

Have you ever just run with a wild idea your kid had? I’d love to hear about it!

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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her here writing about fun learning activities, art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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