Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hickory Ant boats

We have had some beautiful days this week, making it really hard to be inside. I've been working in my garden, and flower bed and trying to get the yard cleaned up. The kids seem to seek out water where ever they are playing and get as muddy and dirty as possible.

Yesterday my daughter created a huge mud puddle by filling a large hole (thanks to the dogs) with water from the water barrel. She wanted boats to play with so we collected some hickory shells to float on the puddle pond. When my son was little my mom called these ant boats, and the name stuck.

When my son came home from school he wanted to have a boat race, and so we spiced up the little hickory shell ant boats to create mini sail boats. These sweet little sail boats are super easy to make. We collected some Hickory husks from the under the Hickory tree in our yard. We grabbed our hot glue gun, and collected a few natural items to use as sails and masts.

We cut the dried plant stem into pieces about 1 1/2" long. Put a drop of hot glue in the center of the 'boat'. Hold it straight for just a few seconds for the glue to dry and them put a drop of glue along the stem and add your leaf sail. Some of them we cut to look like sails, other we left in their natural shape.

The kids had a blast sailing the boats. The wind caused them to spin around and they kept connecting together. They raced them, and sank them.

We had so much fun with them, we got a bit creative and made a few with flower sails. A lovely little fairy fleet to sail our imaginary flower fairies across the giant mud puddle sea. These boats and puddle kept my daughter entertained for over an hour. i could hear her creating stories about them as she sailed the boats or lined them up along the bank.

With just a few natural materials, a hot glue gun and a bit of imagination, the possibilities are endless. These little boats can be made with almost any materials. The Hickory shells work perfect, but other nut shells could work as well. Pieces of bark, leaves, flower tops..anything that floats. This little dandelion/violet boat spun around and around like it was dancing in the water. It made for a perfect afternoon, sitting in the sun and just watching them dance.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau

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