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Age

⚙  2.5 years and up

Time and Place

⚙ Any time of day

⚙ Any time of year

⚙ Outdoors (weather permitting)

Materials 

Building materials for hull, mast, and sail
⚙ 
Natural materials (e.g., sticks, leaves)
⚙ 
Recycled materials (e.g., fabric, paper, Styrofoam)
⚙ 
Other materials (e.g., aluminum foil, clay, popsicle stick)   

                                 

Optional Materials 

​⚙ Glue

​⚙ Scissors

​⚙ Paint

                               

Safety 

⚙ 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) 

Instructions 

When children are playing in puddles or with a water table, take the opportunity to talk with them about boats and encourage them to build a sailboat. Offer natural, recycled, and/or other materials for constructing the hull, mast, and sail. Go outside and place the sailboats in a body of water (e.g., puddle or water table). Talk about how the sailboats float and how the force of the wind moves the boats.

Optional: If you are unable to go outside, think about non electrical sources of moving air (e.g., blowing, letting a balloon deflate). 

Questions You May Ask 

⚙ How can you use these materials to make the three parts of a sailboat?

⚙ What material will make a good [sail, mast, hull]?

⚙ What happens when you place your sailboat in the water?

⚙ How does wind make your sailboat move?

⚙ Which direction is your sailboat moving?

⚙ How can you make your sailboat move faster?

⚙ How else can you make your sailboat move?

Play-based Context

After a rainy day, children were splashing in the puddles. To support the children's explorations, the educator encouraged the children to build their own sailboats. The children had a lot of fun building their sailboats and seeing how they moved in the wind. 

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Related Children's Books

Maisy's Sailboat by Lucy Cousins

The Little Sailboat by Lois Lenski

The Boy who Built a Boat by Ross Mueller 

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