Kids Craft: How to Make a Toy Boat

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Summer—It is incredibly hot just about anywhere you go these days, isn't it? It's so hot here that we don't go outside unless we are jumping in the pool. I wanted a craft that we could make inside but use in the pool, so we decided to make fun little boats.

Homemade Argyle Paddle Boat

How to Make a Toy Paddle Boat

You only need a few supplies, most of which you probably already have!


  • 1 Small rectangular plasticware container with lid
  • 1 Extra lid
  • 2 Bamboo skewers
  • 1 Small rubber band
  • Water-repellant tape (we used decorative duct tape)
  • Small plastic cup (if you want a smokestack)

Supplies for a homemade paddle boat


First, take a bamboo skewer and pierce one side of the container about half-way up the side. Do the same on the other side and then tape them flat against the inside wall. You will also want to put tape on the outside of the container where the skewer goes to prevent water from getting in as much as possible. We don't want our vessel to capsize! Once you've gotten the skewers secured, put on the lid. You can tape it shut if you wish.

How to make a paddle boat

Then you'll have to make your paddle. Using the extra lid, measure and cut out a piece that is a little shorter than the distance between the bamboo skewers and a little smaller than the height of the container. Mine ended up being approximately one inch tall by two inches wide. With a pen or pencil, mark the paddle into thirds. Cut halfway up each of those lines. Once you've cut to the center, carefully cut out tiny notches for the rubber band. Thread the rubber band into the holes and stretch it between the skewers, as shown below.

How to make a paddle boat

Now, if you want a smoke stack on top of your paddle boat, you'll cut a small piece of tape and wrap it around the cup.  Cut the tape so that it bends back into the flower-looking shape below. Carefully place it on top of the container and make sure the tape is secure.

How to make a paddle boat

Finally, it's time to test the waters! Twist the paddle 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round until it is tightly wound.  While still holding the paddle, place the boat into the water. Once you let go of the paddle, your boat should zoom away!

Boy playing with a homemade paddle boat

Once you know that your boat can go, it's time to add decoration. We used colorful tape and permanent markers so each child could design their own special paddle boat.

Bridget Ivey is Mama to four little Iveys and can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as @IveyLeagueMama. She blogs at, where she shares stories and pictures of life in the rural South, everyday chaos of four children under the age of seven in one home, and both personal struggles and personal growth. She loves photography and can't turn down a good craft.


2 Responses to “Kids Craft: How to Make a Toy Boat”

  1. [...] have so much fun making kids crafts and wall art with my daughter at home and in my pre-k classroom. With Valentine’s Day quickly [...]

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