Boat Racer

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Outdoor Physics Fun

For children, there is nothing more entertaining than racing things that go—planes, skateboards, bikes, and boats. Invite your child to build her own miniature models of paddle boats. She will have a blast racing them in your family bathtub, as she improves her motor skills and hand-eye coordination in the process. On your mark, get set, go!

What You Need:

  • Hammer
  • 2 long nails
  • Small, thin wood strip
  • Piece of wood approximately 4” by 3”
  • Large flat rubber band
  • Piece of sandpaper
  • Wading pool, bathtub or other body of water

What You Do:

  1. If necessary, sand your wood scraps until they are smooth.
  2. Have your child hold the 4" by 3" piece of wood for you.
  3. Carefully, hammer the nails into one end of the wood piece, spacing them as widely apart as possible.
  4. Ask your child to thread the rubber band over the nails so that it loops over each nail twice.
  5. Have your child place the small wood strip between the two lengths of rubber band. Make sure that it extends beyond the ends of the nails.
  6. Have your child turn the small wood strip (the paddle) to wind the rubber band tightly.
  7. Invite your child to release her boat and watch it churn through the water!

Encourage your child to design a fleet of boats! She can paint them different colors and enlist helpers to put on a race.

Updated on Jul 9, 2013
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