Sparkle Crafts
Sparkle Crafts: Ice Boats

Sparkle Crafts: Ice Boats

In this week's So Many Fairies story, “Benno and the Water Nymph,” a poor farm family sails across the sea to seek a new life of possibility. Benno, the farmer's son, has always felt called to the water, so he enjoys the journey. But when they finally arrive at the family's new farm, they see that the land is parched and there is no water in sight.

Then, Benno smells something familiar — the smell of the hillside spring near their old home. What he doesn't know is that the water nymph from that spring has followed them across the sea, and is ready to help.

To some extent, I think that, like Benno, most people are a little bit “called” to water. This seems to be particularly true with children. A soothing bath can often wash off, not just the dirt inherent in a child's day, but any worries, too. A few minutes playing with cups and dish soap in the sink can get a little one through the dreaded four o'clock witching hour with smiles and calm.

These ice boats take advantage of children's enchantment with water by using it in two forms — frozen and liquid — and also commemorate Benno's family's trip across the sea.

They're easy to make, but you do have to plan ahead just a bit so that your boats have time to freeze. While you could involve children in preparing the boats for freezing, I recommend doing that part yourself the night before. Use varying sizes of tupperware if you have them, as different shaped boats will float differently. Then, the next day, pop them out of the freezer — at just the moment when you need a little water magic — make the sails, and enjoy an adventure on the bathtub-sea.

Ice Boats

ice boats 1 || so many fairies


Several shallow tupperware containers (with slightly different shapes if you have them)

One straw (or chopstick, or twig) for each container


Several small pieces of paper

Markers, crayons, or colored pencils


ice boats 3 || so many fairies

Fill the shallow tupperware containers almost up to the top with water. Use the tape to create a grid to support the straw “mast” as the water freezes.

ice boats 2 || so many fairies

Insert the straw into the center of the grid, then use a bit of extra tape to reinforce it, so that it stays straight up and down. Freeze the containers for several hours or overnight.

ice boats 5 || so many fairies

Next, cut several small pieces of paper to use as sails. Use crayons, markers, or colored pencils to decorate them, then snip two slits in the center of the paper for the mast to fit through — one near the top of the sail and one near the bottom.

ice boats 8 || so many fairies

Slip the sails onto the straws, then gently tap or twist the tupperware container to get the ice boat to release. Last, fill your bathtub or sink with a few inches of cold water, and sail away!

ice boats 6 || so many fairies

Younger children will be probably be happy to just play with these boats, but if your child is a little older feel free to work in a little observational science, too.

ice boats 9 || so many fairies

If you used different shapes as molds, which one floats the best? Does turning the sail one way or another help the boat stay upright better? Is your boat buoyant and balanced enough to support a Lego character or other small toy? How long does it take before the boats start to melt?

Happy sailing!

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About the Author

Meryl Carver-Allmond

Sparkle Kitchen & Craft Blogger

The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.

Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.

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