Tuesday, June 4, 2019

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Preschool STEM: Boats

My preschoolers LOVE boats, so it totally makes sense to kick off our Preschool STEM series with a boat project!

To make this project more meaningful, chat with your preschoolers about their boat experiences before you get started. Have they seen boats before? Have the ridden on one? Do they own one? Is there a boat or ferry nearby that you could visit or ride as an extension? 

To get started, show your kiddos the supplies, and tell them that today they get to design their own boat! If you want, you can offer to let them sail it too!  Or see how many "sailors" can fit on it--I just let them see how many pennies can "safely" ride on their boat!

Keep a tub of water close by--they will want to test as they work! You can build boats indoors or outdoors--it is totally up to you...and maybe the weather!

The easiest set of supplies is just a roll of aluminum foil and perhaps tape or glue. Scissors are also helpful.  Usually the aluminum foil can be pinched and bent enough that tape and glue are not necessary. Tape is not usually waterproof, so it will become a weak spot on their boats. My kids often love using "cool temp" hot glue guns, and it does fine if it gets wet. Today, though, they reached for normal school glue!

Older kids can also join in the fun...their designs are usually a little different than preschoolers, but it still works great!

You can also use other supplies if your kids are interested in them: blocks, wood, lids or other plastics that are in your recycle pile, etc. Two of my kids wanted to use cardboard in their boats--so they grabbed some out of the recycle bin and used it!

In the end we only had one boat designer who even wanted to test if her boat was "sea worthy!"

Other designs came with little foil people:

And others were custom made-to-fit little shopkin toys:

Everybody had a unique design, vision, and process to make their boats!

How is this activity STEM?  It requires your preschoolers to use science skills (like predicting, hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing), it lets them experiment with science concepts (like buoyancy, density, and water displacement), it allows them to use technology/tools (like aluminum foil and hot glue guns), it requires them to engineer/design something (the boat), and uses math skills (like counting penny "sailors" and qualitatively observing water displacement).

Do you love preschool STEM? Do you want to learn more about it? This June I am featuring a Preschool STEM series that includes a fantastic introduction to preschool STEM and nine STEM activities, projects, or challenges that are appropriate for preschoolers! This is the first one--I would LOVE to have you join in and share your own experiences as we move through the next two weeks! You can find the landing page with links to all the activities HERE!  You can also join my STEM Activities & Projects for Kids Facebook Group HERE for more STEM-inspired conversations!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

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