We’ve made a short video to show you how to make a paper boat that really floats. If you haven’t tried it before we really would recommend giving it a go. It’s so, so quick and easy. We bet once you start you’ll want to make more and more.
Boat making is a great paper craft in itself and they’re fun to decorate but it’s also packed full of learning opportunities too.
- Once you and your children have mastered a simple boat there’s the obvious concepts of sinking and floating to explore but you can easily expand on this by experimenting with different paper types and boat sizes to explore different materials and their properties. How about trying waxed paper, tracing paper, newspaper or card? How does this effect how long the boat lasts in the water? What’s the biggest boat you can make with each material?
- You can explore density, balance and buoyancy by creating challenges to see which boat can hold the greatest load. Offer different objects to put in the boats. Can the children predict which the boats will be able to hold and how much of each? How do little stones compare to big dry sponges for example?
- You could explore motion and forces and challenge children to think of different ways to make their boat travel further or faster. Perhaps they’ll blow the boat or the water, perhaps they’ll flap paper to make a wind or use their hands in the water to make propelling waves?
I love the open-ended learning opportunities of an activity like making a paper boat. It’s a great activity to do with children of different ages as they can all get different things out of it depending on their current abilities and knowledge. By offering the children a few additional objects and questions you can prompt a wide range of self led learning. It’s nice to be able to explore alongside the children and offer new and relevant vocabulary as and when it arises in an age appropriate manner.
Of course making a paper boat doesn’t just have to be a summer activity for the stream or paddling pool, remember you can have fun with them in the bath, sink or bucket too.
I’ll finish with some photos of a fabulous day out we had in the countryside by a very picturesque babbling brook. We made a fantastic dam, had exciting mud fights and of course sailed our paper boats.
We were really lucky and found a patch of clay in the river bank so the children had a great time using it to reinforce their stone dam.
Here’s little Crumb scooping up some clay. It was wonderfully messy!
We couldn’t resist smearing ourselves in clay camouflage and having mud, water and clay fights! We were absolutely filthy by the end of the day and the clothes have had to go through 2 wash cycles to get clean but it was worth it. Such great fun!
Here’s Crumb doing a taunting can’t catch me dance!
Peek-a-boo, it’s no good hiding there Mummy!
And here they are having a boat race. First we sailed them on the still side of the stream where they’d created a harbour with their dam and then we raced them on the running stream.
They did disintegrate after a while so we were careful to take all the little bits of paper home with us at the end of our exciting day.
We’d love to hear how you get on with your paper boats, feel free to leave us a comment below.
(Remember to keep your children safe near water.)