Build with brothers. March 31st, 2020

Boat activities – Math manipulatives in science

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Boat activities – Math manipulatives in science


Boat activities use math manipulatives like pattern blocks. It teaches kids about number patterns using imagination. It also introduces fun science concepts through play. This weekend, our boys made ocean scenes utilizing the theme ‘Row, row, row your boat’.

They each have their own ideas and therefore, we have two creative ocean crafts for kids to share. Preschool activities using wooden puzzles is a great way to involve children in exploring math and science. Early education about ocean and sea through boat activities is so much fun.

Math manipulatives

Math manipulatives is a form of math education. It involves objects that are designed to encourage the learner to involve in creating things using mathematical concepts. Hence, the name manipulatives. This hands-on experience trains a child’s brain to bring ideas to life.

How boat activities teach science?

The two boat manipulatives we are sharing today introduces early science concepts to preschoolers. A child learns about a sailboat sailing on a sunny day and a cruise ship arriving/ departing from the island. This can be a conversation starter to grow those little minds. For example:

  • (1) It introduces the difference between the sailboat and a ship.
  • (2) A sailboat sails on a sunny day while cruise is indifferent.
  • (3) Cruise goes on longer journeys and boats are for smaller ones.
  • (4) Boat can fit a fewer people but ship can fit a lot more.

and so on…

How to make a boat?


Here’s a cute little boat made with geometric pattern blocks. Use green squares as base, and a combination of shapes to make the triangular sail on the boat. A fun boat activity that involves mind work. Talk about other ways to make a triangle with your child.

The diamond shapes are used to create ocean water and quadrilaterals complete the sun.

How to make a ship?


This boat is a simple tangram inspired ship. Create using a combination of patterns. One can use the concept and design a much larger cruise ship which resembles the real ones as well. I love the addition of smoke on top of the chimney in this one. Great detailing!

The boat is sailing to the beach island. However, one can imagine it departing the island as well. The island is represented by triangular base and a coconut tree. The coconut tree representation has in itself endless possibilities. Another fun idea would be to have semi-circle curves sprouting from the branch to represent the coconut tree.

We also have a short video of the boys at work. Check it out:

Boat activities printable

Print these boat manipulatives to assist your kids. These are for PERSONAL USE ONLY.


Product used: Pattern blocks

Disclosure: Please note that as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program we may get compensated if you click and buy using the product linked above.

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Hi, I’m Hani

I’m a mom of 2 decorating and soulfully designing our home. I love to share crafts and simple ideas for home and garden.

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