Sail a leaf boat

      12. Sail a leaf boat

Here is a fun activity you can do in any body of water ranging from a mud puddle to a lake or river. Simply collect a leaf and make a design for your leaf boat and then sail it. The National Wildlife Federation link below has a simple leaf boat design. Make it into a race and watch the current carry the boat or create your own way to propel the boat. So much fun and very simple for all ages!

This activity can launch into several tributaries of learning.

  • Experiment with different leaves and designs to see which one floats best.
  • You can try to find the tree the leaf came from and attempt to identify the tree.
  • Discuss why the leaf can float and not sink and experiment with other objects to see if they float or not.
  • Place an acorn or rock on the leaf and see if it still floats. How much can your leaf hold before it sinks?
  • What other natural materials can you make boats from?

Internet links to help you:

National Wildlife Federation


Float by Daniel Miyares

Things That Float and Things That Don’t by David A Alder

Floating and Sinking by Peter Riley

Captain Kidd’s Crew Experiments with Sinking and Floating by Mark Weakland