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!

Materials:

  • Kiddie Pool or Bathtub filled with water
  • Coins
  • Four 12 x 12 inch (30.5 x 30.5 cm) sheets of aluminum foil

Method:

  • 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
Our crumbled foil and foil boat are floating
  • 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.
In this picture he destroyed boat and it did 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.

Have Fun Experimenting!

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6 thoughts on “Pool Boats

    1. Thank you Charissa for your comment. It is a simple activity and my son really like it.

  1. What a neat idea! My boys used to love bath time when they were little and we they would play all kinds of things in the tub. They also loved playing I. The outdoor blow up pool. They would have loved this! I will be sure to share this idea with my friends or little ones. Very creative!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes this activity is great for indoors and outdoors.

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