Post by Rebecca of Not-So-SAHM
Sometimes I find that I need to use a bit of persuasion to get our kids to partake in a new art or craft project. And, in our family, nothing is more persuasive than a little healthy competition. So when I told our kiddos that they were going to get a chance to design and race their own ice boats, they were all over it!
This is such a fun and adaptable craft project that is perfect for outdoors. It incorporates a smidge of science (why does water freeze? how can you design a faster boat?) with art, and has some sport thrown in too.
- paper cups (we used 8 ounce party cups)
- plastic straws (cut in proportional size to your “boat”)
- white paper (cut into proportional size rectangles for your “boat” and punched with a hole puncher in the top and bottom)
- art supplies to decorate your sails (we used our favorite gel crayons)
- smooth racing course (we used Nod’s Acrylic Desk Mat)
I filled each paper cup with a few inches of water and popped them in the freezer for about an hour. When the top of the water had just started to freeze, I inserted the cut plastic straw. I then let them freeze over night.
The next day, while our kids colored their sails, I snipped the paper cup a bit and peeled the paper off of the ice boat. Once they were satisfied with their art, the kids raised the sails on their boats. You can try out a variety of sail shapes, but we went with more of a spinnaker sail design (or, as the kids called them, Viking ships). We popped those back in the freezer while the kids designed and colored their own race course. Inspired by The Land of Nod’s Half Ship Banner, the kids included a bunch of fun details like waves, nice fish, motivational sayings, and some dangerous-looking sea dwellers as well.
We slanted the racing course outside on our front steps and they were off! They got a real kick out of trying to make their boats go faster while staying in their respective “lanes.” And Cam turned the whole thing into another art project once the boats started melting and really smearing the art work. We already have more boats in the works!
p.s. if you can’t find an appropriate smooth racing course, try actually sailing them in water. I’d love to freeze a variety of different shapes to see which boats sail and which ones sink!
Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. A relatively recent SAHM, she blogs family-friendly activities, DIYs and celebration fun at Not-So-SAHM.