When you stretch an elastic band with your fingers it uses energy. That energy isn’t lost, it is stored in the elastic band. When you release the pressure on the elastic band the energy is released and the band shrinks back to its original size.

Cotton reel cars are a great example of using this kind of stored energy to make something move.

Today we’re making an elastic band powered boat! It’s much easier than it looks and even my 13 year old was impressed!

What you’ll need:

Empty plastic container

3 lolly sticks or crafts sticks



Elastic band

Container of water

elastic band powered boat

How to make an Elastic Band Powered Boat

Glue a lollystick stick to each side of the plastic container.

Cut the third lolly stick in half.

Stretch the elastic band over the end of the two lolly sticks and wind the half lolly stick up in the band.

Place the boat in a tub of water and let go!

elastic band powered boat

Why does an elastic band powered boat work?

As you wind the paddle with the elastic band, the band stretches, storing up energy. When you let the paddle go, the elastic band unwinds to shrink back to its original size releasing the stored energy and turning the paddle!

elastic band powered boat in water

The turning of the paddle propels the boat through the water.

More elastic band powered experiments

Our elastic band slingshot is another great idea

Rookie Parenting has a slightly different design boat that looks brilliant too!

Elastic Band Powered Boat - fun science activity and investigation for kids!! #scienceforkids #scienceexperiments

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Originally posted at Science Sparks