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The 12 Activities of Christmas 7: Seven Swans A-Swimming
Seven Swans A-Swimming

This fun craft activity will give you the chance to talk to children about waterproofing and why things float, all while exploring their developmental progress. It is best suited for older children in any size of group.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • A4 paper – one sheet per child, plus a few extra for yourself
  • Wax crayons
  • Items to test floatation, e.g. an empty plastic bottle, a cardboard box, a sponge, a balloon, etc.
  • Bucket or storage box that can be half-filled with water
  • Optional extra swan figures (you can find some here)
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Preparing the activity:

1. Using the guide below, fold your sheets into origami boats. If you’re feeling really adventurous, feel free to make origami swans instead!

Doing the activity:

Introduce the concepts of floating/sinking and waterproofing to the children. Ask them about various items and if they think it would sink or float. Talk about if the items let the water in or not (for example, the balloon doesn’t let any water in, but the cardboard box does).

Test a paper boat on the water. It will float at first but then will start to absorb water and will, eventually, sink. Ask the children how they think they could make the boat float.

Give each child a boat and some wax crayons. They can colour it any way they like, but they need to make sure the bottom section is covered in wax so no water can come in. Explain that the wax is waterproof, and will keep the water off the boat, making sure it doesn’t soak up all the water and sink.

Explain to the children that, once finished, they can come and test their boats on the water!

Optional extra: place a swan figure into the side of each boat so you have your own swans a-swimming!

Adapting the Activity:

As this plan doesn’t exclusively focus on Christmas, there will be no problem using it as a non-Christmas, winter-time activity!

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention; “Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).”

Communication and Language: Understanding; “Responds to simple instructions, e.g. to get or put away an object.”

40-60+ months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention; “Maintains attention, concentrates and sits quietly during appropriate activity.”

Communication and Language: Understanding; “Responds to instructions involving a two-part sequence. Understands humour, e.g. nonsense rhymes, jokes.”