Boat theme ideas for preschool

Updated April 17, 2017

Young children have a natural fascination with boats and water. Whether transporting goods or people, boats can teach youngsters about the boating industry. Creative projects teach children about boats used for both recreation and transport and how they play a role in recreation, economy and history.

Boat Shapes and Colors

This activity allows preschoolers to create a colourful picture while learning about shapes and colours. The shapes in this project include a rectangle, two triangles and half a circle. To make it easier for young children, you can cut the shapes out of construction paper. For the base of the boat, cut a half circle. The mast is made of a long, narrow, rectangle shape. Make both sails using a right triangle shape, with one being larger and the other smaller. Making each piece a different colour will allow the child to work on colour recognition as well. Have the child identify the shape and colours of each of the pieces. Give the child a piece of light blue construction paper and a dark blue crayon to draw waves along the paper. Then have the child glue the shapes on, creating their boat.

Styrofoam Carton Sailboat

Oceans, lakes, and rivers provide many opportunities for boating. Many children enjoy water activities and will take pleasure in making their own sailboat. Items you need will include a styrofoam egg carton lid for the body of the boat, construction paper, a sharp pencil or hole punch, straw, markers, glitter, and tape or glue. An adult can cut a triangle out of the construction paper for each child. Help the student to punch two holes down the length of the paper to insert the straw. Each child will decorate their sail with the markers and can add glitter if they desire. Place the straw through the two holes in the paper sail. Allow the children to decorate the inside of their carton boats with markers. Assist the child by taping the sail to one end of the carton. The students will each have a treasure to take home.

Flannel Board Boat Game

Flannel boards are another way to incorporate boats into a lesson for learning colours and shapes. Cut out half circles, rectangles and triangles out of felt in matching colours, making sure that there are all three parts per colour. Place the felt shapes on a table near the flannel board. Tell the child what colour to make her boat. Each child will have a turn picking out the correct colours and shapes to make a boat.

Boat Movements

Gather as many pictures of different kinds of boats as possible. They can include rowboats, paddle boats, canoes, barges, motorboats, ships, tugboats, submarines and sailboats. Have the children identify what kind of use the boat is for, whether recreation, transportation or economical. Then they can act out the noise and movement the boats make. This activity is good for aiding in development of motor skills with the movements the child will make.

Boat Craft With Photo

Take a picture of each preschooler from the shoulders up, making it primarily a head shot. Give each child a piece of light blue construction paper and a darker blue crayon or marker. Have the child colour in the lower third of the paper to create the effects of water. Next, have the children cut out boat shapes from the construction paper with child safety scissors. If the child desires, he can decorate the boat by gluing on small items like beads, glitter, stars or buttons. Cut the photograph of the child out and glue it onto the boat. This activity is also good at aiding in the development of motor skills.

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About the Author

Laurie Lanehart started writing in the early 1980s with a teen column for a paper in the Minneapolis area. She holds a degree in culinary arts and currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where she is a member of the Garland Writers Guild.