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Time and Place


3 years and up

⚙ Any time of day                                   

⚙ Any time of the year                           

⚙ Indoors or outdoors (if weather permits)


⚙ Water                                                              

⚙ A large bin or sensory table                     

⚙ Plasticine (could also use clay or aluminum foil)

⚙ Beads (could use pebbles, coins, or any other similar sized small objects)   



⚙ Supervise children at all times

⚙ Take extra precautions when playing with water

⚙ Watch out for choking hazards


Fill the bin or water table with water. Give the children plasticine and encourage them to make a boat that will fit as many beads as possible. Older children can make predictions about the number of beads their boats will hold before sinking.  

Questions You May Ask 

⚙ How can you make a boat with plasticine?
⚙ How can you make your boat hold more beads?
⚙ What else can you use to make boats?  

⚙ What are boats used for?

Play-based Context

Children of all ages enjoy playing with boats and exploring what floats and sinks. 

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Related Children's Books

⚙ Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
⚙ What Floats in a Moat by Lynne Berry
⚙ Good Night Boats by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper
⚙ Big Machines Float! By Catherine de Veitch

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