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Cork Boats

Go back to try this at home

cork boat

You can make a cork boat - or a fleet of them - to float on an ocean in your own back garden in just a few minutes, with stuff that you have around the house.

All you need are a few simple things, and you're off to the regatta.

cork boat in ocean

For each boat, you’ll need:

  • one small square of colored paper
  • one toothpick
  • one cork
  • one penny

For the ocean, you’ll need:

  • one large cake or cooking pan
  • water
  • (optional) a few drops of blue food coloring

#1) This is DEFINITELY an outside project.
#2) Your GROWNUP needs to make the slit in the bottom of the cork for the penny to slide into.

cork with penny in it

Once your grownup has made a small slit in the bottom of your cork (or corks, in case you plan on making more than one boat), slide your penny (or other small coin) into the bottom of the cork, about half way. This will keep your boat from rolling around and upside down in the water.

cork boat diagram 1

Next, take your square of colored paper.

Use your toothpick to punch two holes in the middle of the paper –

one near the top, and one near the bottom, like you see in this picture.

This will make your sail.

cork boat diagram 2


Push the toothpick through the holes you just made in the paper sail.

Bend (NOT fold) the paper, just a little bit, so it catches any wind there might be. (It will be a better sail that way.*)

*Why is a bent paper be a better sail than a flat paper?

cork boat

Finally, push the toothpick into the TOP of the cork – the OPPOSITE side from the penny.

NOW you can sail your boat across the ocean in your garden.

  • Try racing boats.
  • Blow on the sail. Does the boat go faster?
  • What happens if you twirl the water with your finger?
  • Make up some experiments of your own.




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