Things that float, or don't, are a source of entertainment and fascination for kids of all ages. It's easy to harness this fascination and teach kids a little about buoyancy. Life jackets and plastic containers float, while rocks and bowling balls sink in a hurry. A plastic container floating on the water is neat, but a fun way to make it more interesting is to turn it into a shiny sailboat!
-empty plastic container (a 4 X 5.5 inch container was used in the example)
-16-17 inch piece of aluminum foil
-pipe cleaner or wooden dowel
-small piece of clay
-clear contact paper
What to Do:
1. Put the clay in the bottom of the plastic container where the pipe cleaner will be mounted. In the example, the clay was slightly forward of center. It may be necessary to secure the clay with a little bit of tape or glue.
2. Secure the pipe cleaner or dowel in the clay. This is the boat’s mast. A dowel is a little sturdier, but the pipe cleaner is easier to adjust the length. Wrapping tape around the pipe cleaner helps with water resilience.
3. Place the plastic container in the middle of the aluminum foil.
4. Wrap the foil around the container. There should be enough foil to easily cover everything including the inside of the container and the clay. Any extra foil can be easily folded and can help to support the mast.
5. Time for the sails! This sailboat is a sloop and has two triangular sails: a main sail (bigger front sail) and a jib (smaller back sail), and a flag. Draw and cut out the sails from the construction paper. For extra strength, cut out two each of the sails and flag, and glue them together with a glue stick.
6. To ensure slightly more water resilience, laminate the completed sails with a piece of clear contact paper.
7. Attach the sails and the flag to the mast with packing tape.
The shiny sailboat should float swiftly across the water, especially if there is a little bit of a breeze. Note: It’s not completely waterproof! If submerged, the water will seep inside the foil and the sails.