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Get Ready to Sail

Make Your Own Sailboats

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Let your kids set sail with these homemade ships. They can decorate the masts, invent new oceans, and let their imaginations flow. Add cork passengers (just draw on faces) and get ready for an adventure!
Make Your Own Sailboats
What You’ll Need
  • 2 plastic laundry-detergent bottles
  • Scissors
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Glue
  • Construction paper (or craft foam, if the ships will be used in water)
  • 2 dowels
  • Modeling clay
  • Foam board
  • Silver paper
  • Double-sided tape
  • String
  • Markers
  • Wooden bead

Make Your Own Sailboats Materials

What to Do (Sailboat)
  1. Cut a detergent bottle into a boat shape. Have an adult poke one hole in the back and two holes in the front.
  2. Paint the boat and let it dry.
  3. Make and decorate a sail and flag using construction paper or craft foam.
  4. Glue the sail and paper flag to the dowel to make the mast.
  5. Put a mound of modeling clay in the bottom of the boat, against one wall, and stick the mast in the clay.
  6. Cut out an anchor shape from foam board and cover with silver paper using double-sided tape; or use an anchor cut from craft foam. Poke a hole at top and tie on string, then tie the other end to the back of the sailboat.
  7. To make the life preserver, cut out two open circles from foam board or craft foam, glue together, and decorate with markers. Tie string to the life preserver and attach other end to the front of the boat.
What to Do (Sailing Ship)
  1. Cut the detergent bottle into a ship shape.
  2. Paint the ship and let it dry.
  3. Cut construction paper or craft foam into a square. Punch holes in the top and bottom of the sail. Draw a large red cross on the sail.
  4. Make the mast by threading the dowel through the sail’s holes. Cut out and glue a flag at top.
  5. Put a wooden bead on the bottom of the mast. If necessary, add craft foam to make it a tight fit.
  6. Glue the bead and mast to the bottom of the ship.
  7. Make a railing and portholes from black paper or foam and glue them on the back of the ship.
Extend the Fun

Younger children: Fill a tub with some water and encourage your child to let her ships sail. Ask your child who’s sailing the boat or where it’s going. As you talk, ask questions that use words like “where” and “what if,” which require more thought. 

Older children: What sinks? What floats? Encourage your child to see what and how much of it can go in his ship before it starts to sink. Have him guess what he thinks will happen before putting an item in the ship.  

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