Powered Boat

Build a boat out of a plastic bottle and watch as a chemical reaction makes it glide through the water!

What You’ll Need:

  • An empty plastic water bottle with a screw top lid
  • Two bendable plastic straws
  • Construction paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towel
  • Vinegar
  • A plastic bin or container filled with water for the boat to float around inside


Step 1: Poke a small hole in the non-lid side of the bottle and insert your straw with the bended end sticking out and facing down (see above photo for reference).

Step 2: Tape the other straw to the bottle as your boat’s mast, as well as cutting out construction paper and taping it to the bottle as your boat bottom and sails. Keep in mind that you’ll want to tape the bottom boat pieces higher up on the bottle so they don’t get soaking wet when the bottle floats in the water.

Step 3: Place two tablespoons of baking soda in a piece of paper towel and tightly roll it so that it will fit through the top of the water bottle. Place the roll inside the water bottle.

Step 4: Quickly fill the water bottle with half of a cup of vinegar and screw on the lid of the bottle.

Step 5: Place your boat into the water with the straw bent down in the water to help power the boat. Watch as it floats and moves through the water! Experiment with adding different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to see how your boat glides. 

Inspired by 123 Homeschool for Me’s Baking Soda Powered Boats.

Check out other Science & Math Activities from Camp Little Victors:

Find more science and math activities from Camp Little Victors.