Summer Fun: Boats, Boats, Boats

I spend some of my childhood in Papua New Guinea.  There was no Winter, only the wet season and dry season.

“The rain marches across the sky,” my mum used to say. I’ve never seen anything like it in Australia. The rain did, indeed, march; you could see it from a way off — you could hear it — and a curtain of water drawing closer, drumming, until the heavy drops would be upon us, bringing relief to the humidity.  I remember this one afternoon when the wall of water came.  I was nine.  So much water was upon us at once, and rivers of water formed around the house.  I remember this moment very clearly because of the utter enjoyment of it: I went out in the rain clothed, the feel of the water on my skin was exhilarating — and I floated home made boats in the formed streams.  It was utterly wonderful!

As I put this post together, I remembered that moment in my past; such a simple moment but so imprinted on my memory.  During the Summer months, water play is a winner and floating boats is so fun. I’ve put together a collection of boat ideas from my blog and other Aussie bloggers I know.


Anything that floats will do!

Summer fun for kids -- boat play - on beafunmum.com

1. Plastic Bowl Boat

The humble plastic bowl makes for a wonderful base for a boat. Add some paper sails and it’s good to go. More pics here: Plastic Bowl Boat

2. Milk Bottle Lid Boat

A huge favourite, these cute little lid boats are made from recycled materials and work a treat: Milk Bottle Lid Boats

3. Ice Boat

One hot afternoon, I took out my pre-prepared ice boats out for my son to enjoy. More instructions here: Ice Play Boats

4. Floating Island Boat

A plastic laundry tub can be turned into a floating island toys can roam on. Because of the large surface area, it can hold many toys without the risk of sinking.

5. Sponge Boat

Kate from The Craft Train made boats out of a dish sponge.  They are sturdy and easy to make: Sponge and Duct Tape Boat

6. Seed pod boat

Ness from One Perfect Day shared a simple seed pod boat here: Seed Pod Boat.

7. Shell Boat

Christie from Childhood 101 put together a simple play scene using shell boats: Water Wonderland

8. Bottle Boat

Louise from Paging Fun Mums used bottles to create boat for toys with her daughter: DIY Toy Boat

9. Bark Boat

Next time you’re out near a stream, make a bark boat and watch it meander. For different ways to put it together, click here: Bark Boats.

Somewhere to float them

fun for kids -- water play -- boats - on beafunmum.com

1. Container

I created an desert island scene for my daughter using a large under-bed container.  Add a bit of blue food colouring and it looks fantastic. More on how I put it together here: Desert Island Play Scene.

Other items I’ve used:

  • Plastic Tuff Tubs
  • Small inflatable pools (or large sand shells)
  • Kitchen Sink
  • Small plastic containers (like an empty ice-cream container)

2. Foil Stream

I love this stream from Elise from Creative Play Central using foil. Perfect for small milk bottle lid boats and ice boats to slide down.  More details can be found here: Foil Boat Stream

3.  Bath

When my son had not yet started school (and was home more), I ran a bath for him as an activity. Even now that he is older, we sometimes run the bath for him to sail boats on.

4. Open water

Brooks, streams, rainwater puddles, pools, lakes dams…they all make for wonderful places to float homemade boats.

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  • Reply
    Louise Thomsen
    January 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    What a great collection of Boats! My daughter wants to make them all!
    Thank you for featuring our plastic bottle boat.
    Louise x
    Paging Fun Mums

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    What a great collection, I’m pinning this to refer to later! My husband grew up in PNG, maybe you two ran across each other at some point 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      January 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Where did he live? I lived in a tiny village in the Sepik called Brugam…about a three hour drive from Wewak

  • Reply
    Michele @ The Hills are Alive
    January 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I lived in PNG too from age around 7-8. We were in Goroka in the Highlands for about a year and then moved to Madang so got to experience the tropics as well. Will have to check exact years but around 1974-1976 I think. Was a great experience growing up – have great memories of black volcanic sand beaches and collecting amazing nautilus and cowrie shells, visiting islands on canoes, watching traditional dances and sing sings, the markets and villages and so on. Amazing place – visiting it again as an adult on my bucket list.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      January 8, 2014 at 9:31 am

      I went back for a few months when I was 15. That time was to Rabaul (one months before the volcano erupted). Such a beautiful place! The Highlands are so different than the Sepik area, aren’t they?

  • Reply
    January 7, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    I still remember living in the Philippines as a kid, and of course typhoons and rains were heavy there. And there were a few times when our basement would get flooded with all the rain. So what would a little girl do? Make paper boats to float on them, of course! Talk about turning a disaster into play time haha.

  • Reply
    Eva Kuson
    February 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Kelly, I am a big fan of your page. It’s so rich with ideas. I spend almost half a day glancing through some of the great crafting ideas you post. I was so surprised though that you spent your child hood growning up in PNG and it explains well most of your outdoors ideas. I come from Manus Province, the little island north of the mainland PNG.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      February 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Oh WOW! It’s so wonderful to find people who have had similar experiences. I do think living somewhere remote like PNG as a child gives you something special to take into adulthood. x

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