Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Cardboard Boats, a DIY engineering activity

Watch more with these video collections:

Cardboard is a versatile building material for all kinds of projects, but what kind of design allows a cardboard boat to float while holding a bag of sugar? Mechanical engineer Dr. Shini Somara introduces how different kinds of boats can float and carry additional weight in this cardboard boat video from the James Dyson Foundation.

testing the boat
Design and build your own cardboard boat for a summer activity or for testing in the bathtub. Don’t forget to find the failure points. Some history and additional DIY support from Scientific American’s Science Buddies:

“More than 2,200 years ago, a scientist named Archimedes sat down in his bath and figured out that when an object is placed in water, water moves out of the way—it gets displaced. If the object is floating, the amount of water that gets displaced weighs the same as the object. There is a force, called a buoyant force, which pushes on an object when it displaces water. The strength of this upward acting force exerted by water is equal to the weight of the water that is displaced. So, if an object displaces just a little bit of water, the weight of that small amount of water is small, and so the buoyant force is small, too. If, on the other hand, the object displaces a lot of water, then there will be a large buoyant force pushing upward.”

the bag of sugar test
DIY activity supplies
This 2016 video is one in a series made to get kids excited about engineering. They have 44 classic engineering and science activities in this handy Challenge Cards pdf. Try the challenges at home or in class.

Related book recommendations: The Way Things Work Now, via or Amazon.

Watch these related engineering videos next:
• Spaghetti bridges, a DIY engineering activity
• Balloon Car Race, a DIY engineering activity
What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process
• Succeed by Failing: Failure points and how to fix them

Plus: More activities and experiment videos for all ages.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Xu Zhen’s In Just a Blink of an Eye

Rion Nakaya

What’s on the inside of a fishing reel?

Rion Nakaya

What’s inside a tape measure?

Rion Nakaya

What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process – Crash Course Kids

Rion Nakaya

What is Ocean Stratification?

Rion Nakaya

Turn human waste into drinking water – Janicki Omniprocessor

Rion Nakaya

The precision and serendipity of Ebru (paper marbling)

Rion Nakaya

The power of creative constraints – TED Ed

Rion Nakaya

The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can

Rion Nakaya