Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sailboats with Toddlers

Believe it or not, I had twelve 18-27 month olds attention for 10 minutes!  Science is fun!

I decided that we should just jump into hands-on science.

I had a big box full of fun, relatively non-chokeable things to throw in the water (some that they wouldn't typically get to play with in water).  We had some unsharpened pencils, giant bouncy balls, some foam balls, some other random balls (balls+toddlers = win), pieces of paper, sponges, rubberband bracelets (think "Livestrong"), large rocks, cotton balls, straws, etc.  Without much organization, the kids came to me one at a time for an object to test in the water.  My favorite part was their eagerness to experiment.

After all of the objects had been plopped in the water, we talked briefly about things that float and thinks that sink. I had the kids fish the objects out and put them away in my cubby box that I brought.  This took a few more minutes of their attention.

Then I pulled out the sailboats!!  I chopped off the ends of toothpicks and taped a piece of index card onto the remaining toothpick.  In order to get the flat toothpick in the sponge, I made a hole with a pointy toothpick, then inserted the dull one, with a dab of hot glue - as during my test run, the first thing J did was disassemble my prototype and try to stick the toothpick up his nose.  These worked really well if you are one-on-one.  Twelve two year olds + one me still passing out the boats = chaos.  A few of the boats survived long enough to have some races.  The toddlers liked blowing on the race boats like they blow out a candle.  I think some of the teachers had more fun than the kids ;-).

My fleet of sailboats
*Squeeze out excess water so the sponges float better.
*Use more waterproof tape (I used Scotch tape) when attaching the sail to the mast.
*Maybe conduct this experiment with 3 kids, not the flock of toddlers I had (though it was fun).

I don't have pics from the event since photo release forms weren't collected, except for this photo (since it's of J).  10 minutes of science lesson = 15 minutes of water play afterward.  Good thing it was a hot day! **

**Hot = 80s for us...my Vegas roots are shaking their heads in shame.

Anyways, for the pre-schoolers, I created these fun Sink/Float graphics in Word.  I thought I'd share.

Happy Sailing!!

Edited 6/30/13 to remove Pepsi Refresh Voting tag. Voting has long since ended.

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