Make Plastic Bottle Boats!



  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!

Discuss: 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”.

Quiz: Why does a steel cup float in water, while a steel coin sinks?