Pool Boats is a simple, yet scientific activity to do with kids inside or outside of the home. This activity came about because my son had a fever and could not go outside. Although he had a fever, he still had a desire to play. So, we did this activity.
A week prior, my son asked me for a bathtub boat but we did not have one at the time. So, I started doing research on how to make a simple DIY boat at home and came across this activity at the library. We had coins and aluminum foil at home and my son said “Let’s do this now!”
I encourage you to do this activity outside! It is more fun this way, in my opinion! Additionally it is a great activity to teach your child about buoyancy.
Let’s Get Started!
- Kiddie Pool or Bathtub filled with water
- Four 12 x 12 inch (30.5 x 30.5 cm) sheets of aluminum foil
- Fill the pool or bathtub with water.
- Put a flat piece of aluminum foil in water, edge first, and watch what happens.
- Crumble up the second piece of aluminum foil.
- Drop the foil in the water to see whether it floats or sinks
- Form another piece of foil into a boat to see whether it will float
- Put coins into your foil boat. Determine how many coins you can add to the boat before it sinks.
- Redesign your boat with another piece of foil to see whether you can get more coins in before it sinks.
- My son decided to destroy the boat to see if it would sink.
The Science behind this activity
- Buoyancy is the ability to float.
- To make an object float that would not normally, your child has to change its shapes so it pushes out its own weight in water.
- A flat sheet of foil is denser than water and sinks if you put in the edge first.
- When you change its shapes to a boat, it pushes more water out of the way and can float.
- Adding coins to the foil boat increases the weight of the boat, and when it get too heavy, it sinks.
- The crumpled foil traps air inside the foil ball and makes it buoyant.
- Tell your child that life jackets work the same way.
- Life Jackets keep you afloat in water because it contains a lot of trapped air.
Other Activities to try
- Test the buoyancy of other materials such as wood, plastic, and rock.
- Compare what happens when you put a water balloon in the pool versus an air-filled balloon the same size.