Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the sailboat project

This project came about one day when we were sitting atop our playground picnic table. The children sitting with me wanted to pretend the table was a boat. S was pretending to raise and lower the sails while I was given the assignment of swabbing the deck. I asked them if they would like to research some sail boats and create some actual props for the boat. The agreed.

After looking at some reference books the children decided that they needed a mast, an anchor, and a mainsail. We raided the recycle room and found that a push broom would make the mast, a sheer curtain could be a mainsail and a book of drapery samples would be the anchor. The table would be the hull. S remembered she needed some rope to hoist the sails so we found two different kinds.

We brought the items outside to the picnic table and quickly realized we needed some way to attach the items. Tape was quickly agreed upon so we went back in to find some masking tape.

The tape didn't work so well, so we tried glue too:

Glue didn't work either. However while the children were playing with the items they discovered that the nylon rope could be threaded through the top of broom. This reminded me of a pulley system and I pointed out that if we attached the rope to the mast we could hoist mainsail (this was a very important process for S). So we set to work on attaching the nylon to the sail with glue and staples but those didn't work either. Finally I suggested we try to sew it and brought out my little travel sewing kit. I showed S, who was very  interested, how to manipulate the needle she sewed the pieces together.
At last we experienced success. The nylon rope stretched from here to eternity (practically) which was a good thing because many children grabbed hold of the rope and started shouting, "heave-ho, heave, ho!" By this time S decided the little boat in our backyard should be our sailboat so we had moved the props over there. 

The first try was a little too zealous and the broom went flying. We made sure we stopped when the mast reached the top, although it took a few tries before we got it.

More on this project as it continues to develop! 

The end!


  1. What an amazing project. And so great to see their pretend play come to life!

  2. Thanks, Abbie. The kids do amazing work!


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