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2.5 years and up

Time and Place

⚙ Any time of day

⚙ Any time of year 

⚙ Outdoors (weather permitting)


⚙ Glue

⚙  Scissors  

⚙  Paint

⚙  Timer (phone or stopwatch)


Optional Materials 

​Building Materials 

⚙ Natural materials (e.g., sticks, leaves)

⚙ Recycled materials (e.g., empty juice box)

⚙ Other materials (e.g., aluminum foil, clay)



⚙  Supervise children at all times  •Take extra precautions when playing with water

⚙  Be aware of choking hazards 

⚙  When outdoors, protect children from elements (e.g., sun, rain) 


Build on a general interest in racing by planning a field trip to a nearby creek so that children can race boats. Encourage children to build their own boats using natural, recycled, and/or other material. Have children count or time as they race their boats to a finish line. Optional: create your own stream with a hose and a slip 'n slide.

Questions You May Ask 

⚙ What materials can you use to build your boat?

⚙ What materials can you use to make your boat float?

⚙ How can you build a boat that can go fast?

⚙ How can we time how long your boat takes to reach the finish line?

⚙ How long did it take for your boat to reach the finish line? Whose boat was the fastest?

⚙ Whose boat finished [first, second, third] in the race?

Play-based Context

Young children love to race: cars, each other, bikes, marbles, anything! 


Related Children's Books

⚙ Busytown Boat Race by Richard Scarry

⚙ Where do Speedboats Sleep at Night? Brianna Caplan Sayres

⚙ Boat Book by Gail Gibbons

Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night by Br
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