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If you have looked outside lately, I bet you have seen more brown, yellow, red, and orange leaves than you can count! Is it time to rake them up? Yes (so the grandkids can jump in them, of course), but not until after you do a project or two with them!
The possibilities for things you can do and create with leaves are endless, including the fun of racing leaf boats in a nearby pond or stream. Good luck – may the best racer win! (My money is on you, grandma.)
- Freshly fallen, large leaves (like maple or oak leaves)
- Small twigs
- Smaller leaves or paper
- Glue or a small dab of clay/mud
- String or thin twine (optional, for added decoration)
- Tiny pebbles or acorns
- A nearby pond, stream, or even a bathtub to set them sailing!
1. Choosing the right leaf
Start by selecting a large, sturdy leaf that will be your boat’s base. (The leaf should be fresh and flexible, not dried out, to ensure buoyancy.)
2. Preparing the mast
Take a small twig, ensuring it’s not too tall or heavy, as this will be your boat’s mast. Keep in mind that if it’s too tall, it could tip your leaf boat over.
3. Creating the sail
For the sail, you can use a smaller leaf or even cut out a small piece of paper. If you’re using paper, you can even let your grandchild decorate it with crayons or colored pencils to make it their own! *The sail should be roughly triangular in shape.)
4. Attaching the sail
Using a small dab of glue (or a tiny bit of clay or mud if you’re going all-natural), attach the bottom of the sail to the twig mast. If you’re using a smaller leaf as the sail, you can simply pierce the twig through it.
5. Planting the mast
Position the mast toward the center of your large leaf base. If you’re using clay or mud, place a small amount on the base where you want the mast to stand and press the twig into it. If not, you can simply pierce the twig through the leaf, ensuring it stands upright.
6. Decorating your boat
Now for the fun part: Let your grandchild decorate their leaf boat! They can tie a string around the mast, place tiny pebble ‘crew members’ on board, or even add an acorn as a ‘lookout’ – the possibilities are truly endless.
7. Set sail
Once your leaf boat is ready, it’s time to watch it float! Find a calm spot in a pond or stream and gently place your boat on the water. (If you don’t have a pond or stream nearby, a bathtub works just as well.)
8. Race and play
If you make multiple boats, you can have races to see which boat sails the fastest or reaches a finish line first. Remember, it’s all about enjoying the moment and watching nature’s wonders at work.
These Floating Leaf Boats can provide hours of entertainment and give kids a wonderful opportunity to interact with nature while learning about some basic principles of physics and buoyancy in the process! Enjoy your sailing adventures, Captain Grandma!