Download Pool Tip #9: Paper Boats (PDF format, 30KB)
Like many adults, you probably remember the children’s picture book story of Curious George*, the good little monkey who lived with his friend –– the man with the yellow hat. Curious George learned a valuable lesson when he decided to make boats out of the newspapers instead of delivering the papers to his neighbors who were waiting to read the evening news. George should have delivered the newspapers and made the boats out of regular 20 pound, 8.5 inch by 11 inch, photocopy paper instead.
To make paper boats, first fold a piece of paper in half. Fold down both corners of the paper till they almost meet. Fold up the bottom edges of the paper so the paper now looks like a pointed hat. Bring the ends together so the paper forms a square. Fold up each edge so the paper takes the shape of an isosceles triangle. Bring the two equal angles of the triangle together to form another square and flatten the paper. Open the square by pulling the two points away from each other. Smooth the edges of the paper with your fingers to form the gunwales and give the boat enough freeboard to float without taking on water. Make a small fleet of boats and launch them on the surface of your pool.
* [Rey, H. A. (1952). Curious George Rides a Bike. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.]
If you want to have boat races, try making balloon and paper plate boats instead. Gather plastic flexible straws, Styrofoam or plasticized paper plates, tape, scissors, and latex balloons.
Use the scissors to cut off the lip of the balloon. Insert the plastic straw part way into the balloon, and tape the balloon securely to the straw. Poke a hole in the center of the plate with a pencil. Insert the straw through the hole in the plate, and bend the straw at the joint. Inflate the balloon by blowing through the straw. Remember to put your finger over the end of the straw to trap in the air.
Launch the boats at the starter’s signal by letting go of the straw and allowing the air to escape. Make sure the straw is under water when the boat is launched. The boat that travels the greatest distance before running out of air is declared the winner.