Maker Monday

Maker Monday: Let’s try making boats that float

It’s a new week and we’re back with a new fun and easy “Let’s Try” Maker Monday project, courtesy of our friends at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. We’re glad to kick off the week by bringing you this free maker activity.

This project teaches kids to make boats out of materials they can find around the house … and then see if they float! This project helps kids understand engineering concepts and reminds them that if something doesn’t work the first time, they can tinker with it to make things better.

(With all Maker Monday projects, we always include this note to kid makers: Please work with a parent or caregiver on every project and always be very careful when using tools of any kind.) 

Maker Monday materials you’ll need:

  • recycled materials (this can include plastic bottles, tubs, boxes, egg cartons or plastic bags)
  • corks, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, wooden skewer
  • scissors
  • packing tape
  • a container with water (or a sink or bathtub) to test your boats


  • For your first boat, choose materials for your base that you think will float well. If your material has any holes in it, be sure to plug them up well with packing tape. If you’re using something like a bottle that isn’t quite the right shape, you can cut it (see video). But don’t forget to ask an adult for help when cutting anything, especially plastic!
  • Then use some of your other recycled materials to decorate your boat, and also make it float better. Here’s how you might do that:
  • You can add a flat piece called a ‘keel’ to the bottom to help it balance. (Note: If you’re using materials like paper and cardboard, wrap them in plastic bags or packing tape to waterproof them.)
  • You can add decorations such as a mast, seats, passengers — whatever you want for your boat!

Now it’s time to test your first boat. Will it float?

  • Place your boat in some water and see what happens.
  • How much weight can your boat hold? Try adding things like pennies to test it.
  • What other shapes and designs can you come up with?

Want more at-home fun making beautiful things and learning new skills? Check out more Maker Monday videos from Kidsburgh and the Children’s Museum.