STEAM Sailing Boats Experiment

The Olympics are coming up and, if you’re like me, you want your kids involved in the excitement and frenzy.  Once every 4 years the summer Olympics takes over.


I was never into it as a kid.  I really didn’t care about gymnastics or skating or sports in general.  My mom loved watching as much as possible though.  She would be glued to the TV for those shorts week.

As an adult, I enjoy it much more.  Just watching these people who have put so much time and dedication into their talent is awe inspiring.  Just like me as a kid, my kids really don’t care.  So I thought doing some fun Olympic themed activities might get them more interested!

First up is a STEAM Sailing Boats experiment.  We tested the effect of the shape and material of the sail.  We made 4 boats out of swimming noodles, toothpicks, wooden skewers, and either cardstock or cotton fabric for a sail.

Very easy construction!  I used one regular pool noodle and cut it with scissors probably about 6 inches long, give or take.


We use two toothpicks to pin two of the noodle pieces together.


And the skewer on top to attach the sail!



Now you’re ready to attach your different sails.  We had come up with a lot of different ideas including plastic bag, thicker fabric, cardboard, etc.  In the end, we didn’t want a boatload of options (get it?  Boatload…you’re welcome for that lame joke).

This is the rectangle cardstock.



Rectangle Cotton Fabric.  We had a few extra white shirts so I cut one up.IMG_6695


Triangle cardstock.IMG_6696


Triangle cotton fabric.IMG_6698


The next step was to test them!  We took them in the pool and blew on them.  In the end, we didn’t really choose a winner.  They all worked really well!  We did end up doing another test of sail vs no sail.  The sail did significantly better, but the no-sail actually didn’t perform that badly.

STEAM Sail Boats - Summer Olympic activity


This post is part of an Olympic Blog Hop.  Check out the other great ideas here!

1 thought on “STEAM Sailing Boats Experiment”

  1. Love the engineering & ease of this building project — seriously, toothpicks & pool noodles, crazy fun! Thanks for joining in on the Kid Olympics fun this year!

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