How to Make a Small Boat for an Elementary School Project

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Things You'll Need

  • 3 wire coat hangers

  • 1 roll aluminum foil

  • 1 roll duct tape

  • Empty soda cans or bottles

Build a boat that will float using everyday items.

Your elementary-age child can design and build a small boat for a school project using items from around the house or by buying inexpensive items at a local hardware store. Creating a boat that will float and hold light- to medium-weight household items will have children applying math, science and engineering skills while designing and building their project. By using everyday items, children are also using critical thinking skills and developing resourcefulness. Testing how much the boat will hold and stay afloat is an excellent science experiment.


Boat Frame

Step 1

Unbend three wire coat hangers into straight, long wires. Bend the first straightened hanger into a square which will be used as the bottom of the boat frame.

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Step 2

Bend the second wire hanger into an upside-down U with 90-degree square corners. Bend the ends of the second hanger around two corners of the square bottom frame, which will create one end of the boat. Repeat this step with the last hanger and attach it to the opposite two corners of the bottom frame, completing the frame of the boat.

Step 3

Tear off several long pieces of foil for the body of the boat. Wrap the foil around the bottom of the boat frame so the frame is no longer visible. This will create the bottom of the boat.

Step 4

Wrap several long pieces of foil around the four sides of the boat frame until the frame is no longer visible on the outside of the boat. Repeat this step on the inside of the boat, creating the interior of the boat body.


Step 5

Apply duct tape to reinforce the bottom and sides so the foil does not rip or allow water inside.

Step 6

Fill a tub or large container with water. Place your boat inside the water to float it. Begin testing the floating boat by placing empty cans or water bottles inside to see how many the boat can hold while staying afloat. Experiment with different household items.


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