Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Toddler science (fun) : messing about on the river

The folks at tots100 inspired me to make a paper boat to enter their very exciting Center Parcs competition.  I jumped at the chance.  I love a bit of outdoorsy, creative, sciencey fun and so does Squiblet.

We had a few first attempts following the not so scientific approach of:

  • look up how to make a boat on the internet (not a peer reviewed site)
  • attempt to follow instructions
  • become massively confused
  • end up with something which looks enough like a boat to be called a boat
  • poke the middle bit up in a haphazard fashion in an attempt to make it float
  • and repeat
Once we had a model we were both proud of we waterproofed with a coating of paint and glue.  "ooooh, sticky!  Let's get messy!"  cried Squiblet, along with a spot of finger painting too!  The scientist in me was forced to counterbalance Squiblet's pink pom addition with a yellow one on the opposite side, but the artist in me shouted "more feathers, more ribbon!"

This was our final product, complete with gingerbread man passenger.  Very Mardi-Gras!
We tested it out in the sink at home and then in a little stream and much to my surprise, despite Squiblet's best efforts to fill it with water (toddlers love to fill things with water), the vessel was watertight and pretty buoyant!

All that was left was to set the boat free.  We dragged a friend along to take the pictures, to prevent an unpleasant watery accident and let the boat go.  I was amazed!  We shouted "bye bye gingerbread man!" as he sped off along the river and under the little thatched cottage on a bridge.  Squiblet and I went running after it with me keen to ensure we were channeling excitement at the gingerbread man's adventure rather than horror at his loss!  I couldn't believe my eyes when he appeared out the other side of the bridge and kept going until he was finally stopped by a branch.  He must have travelled at least 50 meters!  We make a good team, Squiblet and I!  My friend suggested next time we try building a raft out of this space!

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