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Lions Learning Lab: Toothpaste Powered Boat

Science experiments you can try at home! Justin Huffman from Penn State Altoona’s Lions Learning Lab makes a boat powered by toothpaste!

“Toothpaste-Powered Boat”

Demonstration Concept

This science demonstration teaches kids surfactants and the surface tension of water. Kids will have fun building a small boat that runs on toothpaste!


  • Plastic (I used a plastic folder), Styrofoam, milk carton…etc.
  • Toothpaste or soap
  • Hole Puncher
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Large container of water


  • With a marker, trace a pentagon shape in (plastic, styrofoam, or milk carton).
  • Take your scissors and cut your pentagon out.
  • Use the hole puncher to punch a hole in the bottom center of the pentagon.
  • Take your scissors and cut a little notch out of the bottom of the hole.
  • Place a thin layer of toothpaste around the small hole on both sides of the boat.
  • Finally place your boat in a container of water and get sailing!!!

Visit Lions Learning Lab for more information.

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