Make Plastic Bottle Boats! Activity

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Updated on Sep 4, 2012

Bring the fun of a day at the beach into the comfort of your very own home! Delight your child by helping her make a floating catamaran to hold two of her beloved dolls. With this simple craft, recycling and reusing become child's play; she'll see how easy it is to give a couple of empty soda bottles new life. And in no time at all, she'll turn her bathtub or wading pool into the perfect setting for an afternoon of sailing fun and imaginative play.

What You Need:

  • Two water or soda bottles with caps
  • Black permanent marker
  • Colored permanent markers (optional)
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Electrical tape

What You Do:

  1. If your child wishes to add some designs to her boat, have her do so with a few colored permanent markers. She can draw images or try to make it look like a real boat. Remind her to avoid coloring on her hand, since she is using permanent markers.
  2. With the black marker, have her outline the area she plans to cut out. She should cut out an area that is approximately 2" x 5". Have her make sure the doll fits in an opening of that size; she can enlarge it if need be.
  3. Cutting the bottle can be a little dangerous, so parents should help with this step. The scissors tend to slip across the surface of the bottle. To prevent this, remove the cap and hold the bottle on a cutting board; use a craft knife to punch a hole through the center of the area you will cut out. Insert the scissors into this hole and make your larger cut. Don’t forget to replace the cap, or the boat will sink!
  4. Have her tape the two bottles together using electrical tape. She can run one strip around the bases of the two bottles and another strip closer to the top. Take a moment to talk about recycling and reusing. Explain that she is doing her part to help the environment by reusing a couple of empty plastic bottles.
  5. Just in case things get wet: Have her put her dolls in some beach wear.
  6. Help her fill a basin, pool, or bathtub several inches deep. Let the fun begin!
  7. Be sure to talk about your boats. What makes one float better than another? Can your child adjust things by using lighter dolls, or changing what's mounted on her boat? This is a fun way to talk about physics, as you spend an afternoon "boating".