Kids are going to love this collection of boat crafts and activities! There are STEM crafts, boats that GO, paper boat crafts, boats made from recyclables and nautical-themed art projects.
Whether you’re looking for a preschool boat craft or are crafting with tweens and teens, there’s something for everyone here.
You might also like these Summer crafts and activities
There’s nothing like a homemade boat to add fun to backyard water play. Kids love getting their hands and feet wet and DIY boats are a classic summer activity that everyone—adults included—can enjoy.
So, grab your imaginary sailor hat along with a hot glue gun, skewers, paper and recyclables and let’s dive into 20 DIY boat ideas that are sure to make a splash!
20 boat crafts and activities for kids
Boats made from recycled materials
Got recycled materials on hand? Turn them into a boat. Plastic bottles, egg cartons, margarine containers and plastic trays all make a great boat base. And don’t forget about cardboard.
- A recycled cardboard box can become a Noah’s Ark for the stuffed animals to sail. Preschoolers will love this idea for imaginary play.
- These margarine tub paddle steamers by Red Ted Art are so cute. Wind them up and watch them go!
- Make a cardboard boat with a snazzy sail and mast, by Barley and Birch. This makes a great Summer decoration.
STEM boats that move and float
Combine the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and math with boat crafts that teach kids about buoyancy, propulsion, and design. Watch their eyes light up as they engineer boats that can move and float.
- Get out the hot glue gun to make straw boats that go with the power of wind.
- This simple DIY paddle boat is a great way to show propulsion in the water, by Little Bins for Little Hands
- Supply basic materials like foil and popsicle sticks and get kids to design their own boats with this Loveboat Engineering Challenge by The Preschool Toolbox
- Use a balloon to propel your boar through the water like we’ve done with our balloon-powered sponge boat
- Here’s another paddle boat design that works using elastic band power and a recycled plastic tray—genius! By Science Sparks
DIY Toy Boats
You guys know I love nothing more than DIY toy crafts—a fun activity that leads to hours of play afterwards. These DIY toy boats are no exception.
- Sponge boats with a waterproof duct tape sail are fun for water play. Perfect for preschoolers and kindergarteners
- How easy do these soap boats look? Love the LEGO man sailor! By Fireflies and Mudpies
- Nature is the key material used in these Rad Rafts from sticks. The leaf sail makes the perfect finishing touch. by Kidminds
- Love this super cute and easy pirate boat made from wine corks, by Red Ted Art
- You can’t go past twigs as a raft-building material! These twig boats with a paper sail are by Easy Peasy & Fun
Paper boat craft ideas
Almost everyone has paper at home! Here are some boats that use paper as the key material.
- Create a paper mosaic sunset boat scene using our printable template.
- This Margarine tub boat has been decorated with paper to make a cute summer decoration, by Crafts By Amanda
- Kids are going to love making a paper boat that rocks like this one from Artsy Craftsy Mom
- This freestanding paper boat is by Kids Love Craft
- Here are some classic origami boats to add a splash of colour to your day, by Easy Peasy & Fun
Arty boat ideas
Here are some nautical ideas for getting arty!
- Love the handprint sails on this Mayflower boat craft, by Simple Everyday Mom
- Make a paper plate boat craft that rocks and have your little artist decorate it, like this one from J Daniel 4’s Mom
- These clay sailboats are super cute and give kids plenty of creative licence
- Use geometric shapes to make a boat. This fun idea is by Mama Smiles
- Learn how to create a silhouette boat scene with this art tutorial by Arty Crafty Kids
I hope you’re feeling inspired to get boat-building! Which idea are you going to try first?
You might also like
- Here are over 50 DIY toys for kids
- Celebrate summer by making one of these Ocean Craft ideas
- Learn about snakes and lizards with these 20 Reptile Crafts
- Keep kids entertained outside with these Outdoor Crafts and Activities