top of page


⚙  2.5 years and up

Time and Place

⚙ Any time of day

⚙ Any time of year

⚙ Outdoors (weather permitting)


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



⚙ 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) 


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. 


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 

Maisy's Sailboat by Lucy Cousins.jpg
The Little Sailboat by Lois Lenski.jpg
bottom of page