Transportation Play Activities #7: Boat Float or Sink

This boat float or sink play-of-the-day is brought to you by World Ocean’s Day. The kitchen sink or a container of water will be your child’s ocean.

pirate boat activities for kidssKids are natural scientists, exploring constantly. This boat float or sink play is a voyage of discovery, fun, and learning that happens right at home, at the kitchen sink or with another large pan of water.

The recycling box at home likely holds a treasure of things to use, such as styrofoam containers, corks, plastic and metal lids, popsicle sticks, applesauce or yogurt cups, even a small egg carton. Include some items to put in the boats, like rocks, buttons, or beads. With these materials kids can float some boats, or will they sink?

pirate activities for kidsEveryday children are trying and figuring out how things work around them. This is what scientists do. We can extend their play by talking with them about what they see happening and asking questions.

What way do they have to put things together to make a boat that floats? Can it go in the water upside down or sideways? What happens then? How about if there’s something in the boat?  How much is too glub, glub, glub, much? By asking questions and inviting kids to explain to us, they attach words to what they are discovering.

This activity kept Big Sister busy for a long time as she tried many different combinations. Little Sister is pretty good about not putting things in her mouth and loves water play too. She mostly liked to just put things in the water and wasn’t really interested in making boats.

pirate activities for kidsKids will play at their own level and investigate what interests them. Older kids may want to create their own boats using recycled materials or even lego. Plasticine will also work to make boats, but needs to get dried off so it doesn’t get gooey.

Some of us are quite lucky–except when the ferry is late or we miss it–and get to take a boat often but kids can take their own boats anytime without leaving home. Could boat float or sink be part of your child’s play today?

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