We love playing and crafting with recyclables. Things that might be considered “junk” are some of our favourite craft supplies. So, when we were setting about to create another one of our fun STEM activities for kids, we decided to reach into our recycling bin.
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We seem to have an endless supply of wine bottle corks (I don’t know why?) and yet we haven’t really explored crafting with them. This week I decided to put a cork raft STEM challenge to my youngest daughter…see what she could create. This is a super creative and fun summer STEM activity for kids…great indoor and outdoor fun.
Cork Raft Building Challenge
So, what was our cork raft challenge?
We have a family of 4 wooden peg people. The family of peg people need a mode of transportation that will fit their entire family. The family is trying to be transported across water. This is the problem that needs to be solved in this STEM raft challenge.
I gathered together a collection of basic craft supplies and presented my daughter with the supplies; wine corks, toothpicks, paints, cardboard, string and a glue gun…but she had access to any supplies we had in our house.
It took her a couple of hours of thinking and planning and then she got down to work. I loved watching her mind work.
- How would the people fit on the corks?
- How many corks would be needed?
- How would the corks be bound together?
- How would whatever was made, actually move across the water?
She floated around a few different ideas (pardon the pun), and decided to make a cork raft. Through trial and error, she decided to tie the corks together with the leather strings. She used the glue gun to adhere the two sets of cork together…making a larger raft that could accommodate the entire family.
One question remained…how would the cork raft? She decided to use the ends of the string she used to tie the corks together. She braided together the strings to make a tow rope. Thus, the raft could move across the water.
Once the raft base was built the next challenge was holding the peg family. The solution was to make a “rug” out of cardboard and use the glue gun to adhere it to the raft. My daughter carefully balanced the people on the rug as we placed the raft in the bowl of water. It was time for a test run!
This was a fabulous science, design and build activity for my daughter. We had great discussions about buoyancy, friction and movement…all topics she is learning about at school right now. This raft building activity was hands on science learning and it was a lot of fun.
How might you and your children have answered the cork boat challenge? Would your child have used the supplies differently?
Check out our other STEM Activities for kids…
Keep the kids busy all summer long with these summer STEM activities
Take a look at these awesome environmental science activities for kids
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