Summer Vacation: Cork Boats

Today we made little boats out of old wine corks, toothpicks and paper towels. We took them down to a little pond in the park to see how they would float. Laurel said she knew they would at least float because she knew that corks float. (We drink enough wine in this house that corks are a frequent bath toy.)  It was really interesting to see how the different designs were able to catch the current, or how some just got knocked over in the wind. We spent about an hour at the pond, dropping the boats in from various points and rescuing them before they floated out the other side. It was really windy and that gave us a lot to observe about the little sails we put on the boats. Laurel started modifying her boats with little rudders. As soon as we got home, she started fiddling again, and gathering new materials...trying plastic straws instead of toothpicks for instance. I encouraged her to make some sketches of the the ones that worked but she didn't want to. I think messing around with the materials was the most fun for her. Marko only wanted to decorate the boats with pom-poms but he liked watching them float around. I think this was a fun activity because I did it with them but I didn't try to tell them how to make their boats even when I thought their design was bad. Using the corks ensured they would at least float and we could think about other factors that affect water navigation. I was also very happy that Marko walked the whole way there and back with no complaints.

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