Easy Boat Activities for Preschoolers

Preschoolers love boats, especially if it means that they might get a chance to play in the water. Preschool boat activities can be used as part of a unit on transportation, an ocean unit, or simply as fun classic summer activities. Here are some boat activities for preschoolers that you might enjoy using in your preschool classroom or at home with your kiddos.

What are boat activities important for preschool kids?

Not only are boat activities a great way to learn more about the mode of transportation, but activities like a folding a paper boat or creating their own boat out of different materials is a perfect way to practice fine motor skills. Between imaginary play and using different objects to make their own water transportation these ideas also encourage creativity.

Boat activities for preschoolers


DIY Boat Ideas

Here are a few quick ideas and fun kids activities to help get your preschool theme started. Don’t be afraid to plan something simple. Even playing in laundry baskets can be fun for younger kids.

  • Felt board play- Print out a boat felt board set on card stock, trim them, then laminate them and add velcro to the back. Use the felt board pieces for story time or quiet play time.
  • Pirate dramatic play- Use the Pirates Pretend Play printable set of eye patches, treasure chest craft, and other fun items to set up an area that’s perfect for sailing the high seas.
  • Sensory play- Use different items like Orbeez water beads create a sensory bin with play boats to provide a different sensory experience. Even some sand with different shells can tie in with a boat theme lesson.
  • Abstract concepts- This activity is great for helping younger children understand the concept of buoyancy. Using several items like a wine cork, an old shampoo bottle, even a twig boat you make you can play the items on the top of the water and see if the item floats or sinks.
    An egg carton boat or tin pan is perfect for this easy peasy project since little sailors can easily add items to the homemade boat.
  • Make cardboard canoes- Making a “life-size” cardboard boat out of a large box or even a laundry basket is a great way for kids to explore and pretend during dramatic play. Provide items to use as a telescope, sail, etc. for added fun.
  • Water play- Provide a large container or storage tub with cold water in it for playtime at the kitchen table. If the weather is nice, put a large bin outside for less mess. Then add different plastic boats, fish and other items you might see in the ocean. You can even use a little food color to make blue colored water for a realistic look.
  • Educational project- Older children will enjoy making their own boats with craft sticks and seeing how many Duplos, blocks or other items you can stack on top of the popsicle sticks raft to see how much weight it can hold before it starts to go under water.
  • Play dough play- The best thing about play dough is being able to set it up quickly and use it to entertain the kids while you do a few things. Add boats, shells and sea animals for an adventure in fun!
  • Design a pirate ship- Older kids will enjoy designing their own pirate ship that they can use to discover ancient treasures. This can be done as printable art project or using a large packing box, some blue paper or tissue paper for waves, and of course something to represent the ship’s wheel to make sure the boat stays on course.
  • Lego play- With so many different boats to make, Legos are a great choice for making a Viking longboat, cruise ships, or even a small fishing boat.
  • Letter B ideas- PreK and emergent readers will enjoy gluing different items that start with a B onto this printable letter B craft. Items like balloons, beads, bubble gum, or anything else you have around the house that starts with the second letter of the alphabet. Just gather the simple supplies and print out the free Letter B PDF on a piece of paper for a quick craft that’s so much fun!

More Boat Activities Preschoolers Will Enjoy

Below I’ve collected several fun ways to incorporate play with learning about boats. The best part about these great ideas is kiddos are having a great time whiles learning—and we love that!

Floating Popsicle Stick Boats

Floating popsicle stick boats are easy to make and you probably have all of the supplies on hand already. Straws, construction paper, glue, and popsicle sticks are all you need for this boat craft. Kids of all ages will love this fun activity, and they can have a great time racing the boats when they are done too! 

Paper Plate Pirate Boat Craft

Young children will love making these little boats out of paper plates. These paper boats can’t float but they are easy to make. Paint, construction paper, glue, and popsicle sticks are all that you need for this preschool boat craft. 

Sponge Boats

Sponge boats and a tub of water are a lot of fun for preschoolers to play with. They can even help to make the sponge boats first. All you need to make these homemade boats are sponges, skewers, construction paper, and scissors. Make a collection of colorful boats and race them around the water table or put them in the tub to make bath time more fun. 

Pool Noodle Boat

Chances are you have a pool noodle or two lying around, so why not turn one into a boat activity for preschoolers? Once the boats are made they can have a boat race in a backyard kiddie pool or the bathtub. All you need to make these pool noodle boats are a pool noodle, a foam board for the sail, and a pencil, straw, or skewer. 

Soda Bottle Boats

Let your kids make boats out of empty soda bottles for a fun summer craft. You will need two empty soda or water bottles for each boat that you will be making. Additionally, you will need foam craft sheets, skewers, scissors, duct tape or glue, and cardboard for the sail. Older kids can make these boats on their own, while younger kids may need a little help from an older child or an adult. 

Juice Box Boats

Did you know that you can make little boats out of juice boxes? Preschoolers will love this fun boat craft! All you need for this craft are some empty juice boxes, paint, pom poms, glitter, stickers, and whatever else you want to use to decorate them. You will also need a skewer and some construction paper for a paper sail for your boat. 

Alphabet Ice Boats

This preschool boat activity is perfect for a hot summer day, and it is an opportunity to work on letter recognition and letter sounds in a fun way. For this preschool activity, you will need foam letters, ice cube trays, tin foil, skewers, and paper sails. 

Plastic Bottle Boats

This is a second version of the soda bottle boat, in this one you just need the bottom part of the soda bottle. Once you have cut the bottom of the bottle off and sanded any rough edges, let your preschoolers paint and decorate their boats. You will need a straw, glue, and foam to make your boat sail. Once they are dry see how well they work!

Different Kinds of Boats

When it comes to different ways to have fun with a simple craft or planning a boat theme, there are so many fun craft projects out there to help you plan the most fun and educational experience for your kids.

Your preschooler will love these fun boat crafts and activities! These homemade boats and other ideas make great summer crafts, but you could use them throughout the school year as well. Enjoy a day playing and talking all about how boats work and help us on the water.

Do you have any other homemade boat crafts to share? 

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