Sponge Sailboat

Math & Sciences

2.5–6 years

Let your imagination sail. Throughout the process of building and playing with the sailboat, this playful water activity introduces your child to basic sailboat parts and sailing concepts such as sailboat buoyancy, wind direction, and windspeed


  • Container 
  • Dish sponge (hull) 
  • Wooden skewer (mast) 
  • Construction paper (mainsail) 
  • Scissors 
  • Coloured pens, pencils, or crayons (Optional) 


  1. Begin by cutting your wooden skewer (approx. 14cm). 
  2. Create your mainsail by cutting a right angle from the construction paper. 
  3. Poke the skewer threw the bottom and top of your mainsail. Your sail should be curved. 
  4. Place the skewer through the centre of the sponge allowing it to protrude through the bottom (about 1cm). 

Time to Sail

  1. Fill a container with water. 
  2. Place your sailboat in the water and let the sponge absorb some water before letting go. Do not completely submerge the sponge. 
  3. Adjust the skewer up and down through the sponge for optimal buoyancy. 
  4. Take your sailboat outside and allow the wind to naturally direct its course. 

    Increase the Fun

    Decorate your sail with colourful designs and invite friends and family along for a sailing race. 

    Basic Sailing Terminology

    • Hull: The main body of the boat 
    • Mast: The large pole that attaches the mainsail
    • Mainsail: The principal sail attached to the mast
    • Point of Sail: The boat’s direction relative to the wind 

    At Learning Jungle, we believe all children are capable, confident and full of potential. Co-learning empowers your child to take initiative. Encouraging child participation and engaging in open-ended, thought-provoking conversation throughout play is important for healthy child development.

    Conversations with your child

    • What colour is your mainsail going to be? 
    • Would you like to decorate your mainsail? 
    • Can you point to the ‘Mast’? 
    • Which direction do you think your sailboat will go? 
    • What do you think is making your sailboat move? 

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