For my latest preschool STEAM program at the library, we experimented with motion and physics by building boats!
Boat Building Station
For the building table, I set out a variety of supplies from the craft closet, but there are some that staple items that you may want to have for this activity:
- tupperware (you can get cheap packs of 3-5 tupperware bowls at Dollar Tree)
- toothpicks (for flags)
- glue, crayons, markers
I also made little diagram cards of two types of boats (seen in the lower left corner of the picture). The cards of the motor boat and ship both had a short description of how that type of boat moves and a diagram of the parts. These cards were intended as conversation starters for children and caregivers about motion, as well as to introduce new vocabulary. Children also used them as inspiration.
Boat Testing Station
To test our boats, I filled a kiddie pool up with water. We have rubber flooring in our programming room which makes activities like this much easier!
Float or Sink Station
I always have at least two activities at a given STEAM program and try to make at least one of those be an activity that baby brothers and sisters can participate in. For this program, that station was my float or sink station.
I set up two sensory bins filled with water, two sorting trays, and a bucket full of random items, some that would float and some that would sink. The flannel board prompted children to test the items in the bucket and sort them into the left and right trays based on whether they float or sunk in the water.
This activity was a huge hit! The children tested and then re-tested the items, over and over again. They also began testing other things, like how many items they could put in their boat before it sank.
Overall, this program was a huge hit and I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was also very little prep prior to the event date and super cheap. Most of the supplies were recycled!
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