This is an expansion to our Transportation Theme Day as it focus only on boats.  If you are planning a vacation that might involve going on a boat this would be a fun way to build up the excitement. Of course you don’t need to actually go on a boat to enjoy this Theme Day, most kids are fascinated with boats and buoyancy, making this a fun Theme Day for everyone! 

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is an obvious children’s song that works for this Theme Day.

On “The Good Ship Lollipop” would work for this Theme Day as well.

“Somewhere Beyond the Sea,” by Frank Sinatra is another song that reminds me of sailing on the sea.

Another fun song is the” Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” by Harry Belafonte.  To watch him sing with the Muppets watch here:




You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “boat coloring pages” or print out my “Sail Away Coloring Page.”



Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  Have you ever been on a boat before? What kind of boat was it?  Would you like to go on a boat? What do you remember about your first boat ride?  What do you like about boats?  What do you know about boats? If you could go on a boat anywhere in the world where would you go?

 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or  poem about  boats.


Print out a Boat Word Search: Easy Boat Word Search or Difficult Boat Word Search.


Check here for the answer keys: Easy Boat Word Search Key or Difficult Boat Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books with boats or ships in them.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about boats or buoyancy.


Go to the library on your own to find books about boats from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “boats” under “children’s books”).  Reserve them if you can to save time.

Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:


· Boat, written by Eric Kentley, DK, 1992 – Part of the Eyewitness series, older kids will love pouring over all the details in this thorough look at boats, full of many photographs and lots of text.


· Boats on the Water, by Lynn Peppas, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2011 – This book offers a good overview of different kinds of boats and has easy to read text.


· The Great Ships, by Patrick O’Brien, Walker & Company,  2001 - Older kids may like this look at some famous boats like Cheng Ho’s Treasure Ship, The Mayflower, The Bounty etc.


· Ships, by Mary Lindeen, Scholastic, Children’s Press, 2007 – Part of the Blastoff! Readers Series, this is a good book for beginner readers as if offers large text and simple sentences.


· Ships, by Emily Bone (Designed by Jessica Johnson) and illustrated by Colin King,  Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2009 – Great for early grade schoolers this book is short with simple text but still offers a lot of detail to help kids learn about the history of ships


Here are some picture books about boats:


· Canoe Days, by Gary Paulsen and illustrated by Ruth Wright Paulsen, Doubleday, 1999 – The gorgeous paintings in this book and the simple text beautifully illustrates what it is like to float on a lake in a canoe.


· Boats Speeding! Sailing! Cruising!, by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, Marshall Cavendish Children, 2009 – This picture book offers fun illustrations and a poem about boats!


· Little Boat, by Thomas Docherty, Templar Books, 2007 – I love the illustrations in this book about a little boat who shows how he is strong and sails on despite dangers.


· Sail Away, Little Boat, by Janet Buell and illustrations by Jui Ishida, Carolrhoda Books, 2006 – This beautifully illustrated book offers the rhyming tale of the journey of a little toy boat.





Materials:  Coloured paper, assorted stickers of boats, crayons and markers (Optional)

Step 1: Let your child choose the colour of paper to use and then have your child decorate the page with the stickers either in collage form or to create a scene.

Step 2: Encourage your child to use crayons or markers to embellish the collage or to add details to the scene.




Materials:  Blue paper, blue and white tissue paper, child safe scissors, coloured paper or wrapping paper or scrapbook paper, glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers.

Step 1: Help your child to rip or cut the tissue paper into rough strips of blue and white.  These will be the waves.

Step 2: Let your child glue the strips of tissue paper onto the blue paper in layers to create waves.

Step 3: Have your child choose the colour or patterned paper to use for the boat and help him/her cut out simple shapes to create the boat picture.  Cut a half circle for the boat and two triangles for the sails and a small triangle for the flag.  Or have your child come up with his/her own style of boat as my Eldest did in the second picture.

Step 4: Have your chid glue the cut paper onto the waves to create a sailing boat picture. 





Materials:  An empty and cleaned jar (stickers removed) preferably with a large mouth, tissue paper or blue confetti or blue pieces of torn paper, white paper, tape, shells (Optional), makers or coloured paper (Optional for decoration), empty soap box, coloured paper or paint to cover the soap box.

Step 1: Use these instructions to help your child make a small paper boat:

Step 2: Your child can decorate the completed boat in anyway.  My Youngest just wanted a tiny flag. 

Step 3:  Cover the soap box in coloured paper or paint it and then cut out scoops in two sides to fit the jar.  This will be the stand to hold the jar in place.  Alternately you cold use a clump of clay.

Step 4: Have your child fill the jar with blue tissue paper or confetti or paper to create waves.  We added shells from a vacation as well.

Step 5: Help your child carefully put the paper boat into the jar.



Materials:  Corks (three per boat), sharp toothpick, colour craft foam or coloured paper, white paper, markers, rubber bands, push pin (parent use only), tape.

Step 1: Help your child wrap elastic bands around three corks to keep them together in a raft shape.  Step 2: Have your child decorate their own small paper flag using markers on drawing paper.  My sons wanted pirate ships so they drew the Jolly Roger.

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of craft paper or coloured paper to use as the sail and cut out a sail shape. 

Step 3: (Parent Step) Carefully stick a push pin into the sail in two places and then thread a sharp toothpick through the holes to hold the sail.  Then carefully press the toothpick into a cork.

Step 4: Let your child attach the flag using tape.

Step 5: This boat is now ready to sail or use in the Sinking Ships Experiment below (under Learning Activities).



NOTE: I found this craft idea here:

Materials:  Empty milk cartons (500mL or larger...the smaller ones from schools didn’t work well), paint and brushes (art smock or old clothes to wear and newspaper to cover work area), clay, white glue, craft sticks or popsicle sticks or chop sticks, coloured, child safe scissors, sharp scissors (parent use), tape.

Step 1: (Parent step) Cut an opening on the side of the cleaned milk carton.

Step 2: Have your child paint the milk carton to decorate it.

Step 3:  Glue a ball of clay inside the milk carton.

Step 4: When the paint has dried and the glue is dried insert a craft stick as the mast of the boat.

Step 5: Have your child pick the paper for the sail and then cut out a sail.

Step 6: Have your child tape the sail to the craft stick.

Step 7: This boat is now ready to float or to use in the Sinking Ships Experiment below (Under Learning Activities).



Materials:  Craft sticks or recycled popsicle sticks, white glue, wax paper, clay, coloured paper.

Step 1: Have your chid count out 30 popsicle sticks (an excellent time to review numbers and math with kids).

Step 2: Have your child lay 10 craft sticks side by side on the wax paper and then cover with white glue.

Step 3: Now have your child lay 10 more popsicle sticks across the bottom 10 but not in the same direction (crossed).

Step 4: Apply more white glue to this layer of sticks and then add 10 more craft sticks in the same direction as the bottom layer. 

Step 5: Glue a ball of clay to the top of the popsicle stick raft.

Step 6: Let this craft dry….it may take a while.

Step 7: Once the glue has dried your child can stick a further popsicle stick into the clay and then tape on a coloured paper sail.

Step 8: This boat is now ready for water and can be used in the Sinking Ships Experiment below (Under Learning Activities).



                 NOTE: This would make a great Earth Day Craft!

Materials:  Whatever floatable materials you and your children can find can be used for this craft and whatever other craft materials you want to use to put it together and/or decorate it.

Steps: Get creative and have your child design his/her own boat to sail. 

NOTE: My sons used pieces of Styrofoam and painted those for their boats.  We also made a juice box boat.  My Youngest wanted to use some air-dry modeling clay to create a canoe.  Check out a picture of his creation on our More Crafts and Activities Photo Album on our Facebook Page.


We’d love to hear about your boats!  Share a picture on our Facebook Page!




Veggie Boats: Use slices of bell pepper, or celery or halved and seeded mini cucumbers as boats and fill with cream cheese or sour cream dip and then top with a toothpick and paper sail.




Tuna Boats: Make your favourite tuna salad recipe and then spread on halved hot dog buns to create a fun boat for lunch.  Add a cheese sail (a triangle slice of cheddar or another favourite type) or a toothpick and paper sail.

Deviled Egg Boats: Hard-boil some eggs and carefully cut in half and then scoop out the yolk.  Mash the yolk with mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt and add some mustard for flavour.  Carefully spoon some yolk mixture back into the egg halves and then top with a tooth pick and paper sail.




Double Stuffed Potato Boats: Bake a potato and then when it is warm enough to touch cut it in half and scoop out some of the cooked potato, being careful to leave a shell behind for the boat.  Mash the potato in a bowl and add your favourite mix-ins…sour cream, butter, shredded cheese, salt and pepper, crumbled bacon etc., and then scoop the mashed potato mixture back into the potato shell.  Top with shredded cheese and then put these boats back into the oven under a broiler until the cheese melts (about 2 minutes).



JELLO Boats: Cut a four oranges in half and then carefully scoop out the fruit (save this for a fruit salad or to snack on later).  Make some instant JELLO according to the package instructions.  In the orange halves place some canned mandarins (optional) and then carefully spoon in liquid JELLO mixture. Transfer these orange halves to the fridge to set.  Once set cut them in half again to create 2 boats for each half.  Decorate with toothpicks and colourful sails.  I found the recipe here:


Boat Cookies:  Make your favourite sugar cookie recipe and then use fun cookie cutters for some nautical treats. I found a sail boat and anchor cookie cutter.  Have your kids decorate with those fun little tubes of drawing icing.  To see a picture of our cookies check out our More Goodies Photo Album on Facebook.






Print out my Nautical Directions Worksheet and together as a family fill in the blanks using the correct terminology.  I found my information here:  and here:




Basically, things that float have a lower density than water.  If an object has a higher density than water it will sink.  Print out my Sink or Float Terminology Worksheet and together as your read through books find the definitions to the terms.  If you cannot find the definitions here they are:


Density – how much something of a fixed volume weighs

Buoyancy – the upward force that makes something float

Gravity – a force that causes two objects to pull together





Find out what household things are capable of floating by filing a large pail with water (or use a bathtub or sink) and then carefully placing objects on the water.  Have your child fill out this Buoyancy Experiment Chart to guess whether the object will float or sink.



Find some simple boats to use…a plastic bowl, a Styrofoam plate, tin foil shaped into a boat.  Test that the “boats” are seaworthy by placing them in a large pail of water or in a sink or tub filled with water.  Next gather a lot of pennies or dimes.  Have your child fill in the Sinking Ships Buoyancy Experiment chart to guess how many pennies or dimes it will take to sink the ship.

Does the placement of the coins make a difference?  What if the coins were all placed on one side of the boat?  Have fun with this experiment.

For another experiment that plays with buoyancy making things sink and float and dance in water try this one:





For more Science fun try this book: Water and Boats, by Joan Richards, Powerkids Press, 2008 – Part of the Science Factory Series this book offers 12 different water science experiments.




Thank you so much to Georgia who emailed us some fantastic links for this Theme Day to help students and families understand the science behind how heavy objects stay afloat in water.  Here are her suggested links:


Why Can Heavy Steel Ships Float?

Why Do Ships Float?



For answers to some boating questions from kids check here:


For more boating terms try here:


For another boat science activity check here for instructions on how to make steam boat with recycles parts:




Make bath time fun by adding little boat toys.  Or use some of the boat crafts from above in the bath!




Make some little ice cube boats by filling an ice cube tray with water, covering it with plastic wrap and then sticking toothpicks in through the plastic wrap (you don’t need to do this step as the toothpicks are for the tiny sails).  Attach little flags for aesthetics if you are using the toothpicks (you can make them more waterproof by wrapping them in packing tape.  These would be fun in a bath tub!



Q: What do you get when you cross a dentist and a boat?

A: A tooth ferry.


Q: Which vegetable hates going on a boat?

A: A leek!


Q: Why do sailors like Thanksgiving?

A: Because they get to take their gravy boats out.


Q: Why are boats afraid of sea monsters?

A: Because they like to eat fish and ships.


Q: Where does a boat go when it is sick.

A: To the dock-tor!





Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with boats in them.



Take one of your boat crafts outside and float them in the gutter or in a kiddie pool.  CAUTION: Please attend your children if you are doing this.  Watch them if they are sailing their boats near the side of the road to keep them safe from cars and keep close if they are sailing on pools as any amount of water that can cover a child’s head can drown them.



Go on a boat!  If you live near a community lake where you can rent paddle boats, canoes or kayaks this Theme Day is the perfect time to venture onto the water and try them!  If you live near water and can go on a ferry that would be an easy field trip for this day.

Visit the harbour.  If you are lucky enough to live near water you can go on a field trip to the harbour to look at the various boats!

Watch a boat race.  Maybe cities are hosts to boating events.  See what is offered in your community and attend as a family.

Photo: C Wright

Photo: C Wright

Sail away to fun!

Sailboat Colouring Page

and Boats Word Search

Journaling about boats.

Boat Sticker Scene


Collage Sailboats

Cork Pirate Ships

Ship in a Jar Craft

Milk Carton Ships

Craft Stick Raft





Boats made from recycled materials!

Boat inspired Foods



Printable for your Boat Theme Day



Have fun with Buoyancy Experiments