Cover Story

Summer Lifesaver

Ready, Set, Sail...


by Laura Hickey, Associate Editor

Rebecca Balthaser

Need a fun and easy indoor/outdoor children’s activity to battle end-of-summer boredom? ...

One of the older children has just finished constructing his sailboat, making it uniquely his own, and has left the colorful summertime craft unattended in the inflatable children’s wading pool. Bobbing up and down, the lone soda-bottle sailboat attracts the attention of a nearby child. The decorative features of the colorful boat glisten in the morning sun; the child eyes the crafty creation curiously from a safe distance.

Minutes later, she slowly approaches the swimming pool and reaches out to grab the boat. Crouching down beside the edge of the pool, a tiny smile creeps across her face. She begins to play with the boat, running her small fingers through the water while making swooshing “boat sounds,” watching the boat rock back and forth with the small current. Then, oblivious to her surroundings, she goes full throttle and maneuvers the boat into doing a full-speed cruise from one side of the pool to the other. 

Tanner Bradshaw and Samantha Rogers 

These colorful sailboat crafts are a great way to keep kids — from curious three-year-olds to third graders — occupied outdoors during the warm summer months. Or, they can be used as a toy in the kitchen sink or bathtub. And making these fun boredom-busting boats is as easy as one, two, three (boat frame, bottle and sail).

Choose a style of boat (for example, pirate ship or sailboat) you want to make and cut foam pieces from colorful waterproof foam sheets (found in most craft stores) to conform to that shape. Pencil cutouts onto the sheet before cutting, and cut two sheets at once to ensure symmetry.

With bottle in upright position, add sand (found at local craft store or Wal-Mart) until the bottle floats — experimenting in your kitchen sink or bathtub.

Construct the boat separately, leaving bottom open, then insert and center bottle into boat, securing boat frame to bottle with waterproof tape. Then, fasten foam pieces at bow and stern with either stapler or hot glue gun.

Add decorative pieces, keeping it symmetrical, and keep checking from time to time to be sure the boat will float and that decorative pieces will not upset the balance. Cut foam piece into sail shape and attach one large sail, or several smaller sails (consistent with style choice and attach identical sails on both sides to keep it even) taped onto a thin wooden dowel (not necessary, but if desired).

Happy summertime sailing!


Josh Carter

  John Balthaser

Rebecca Balthaser

   Jessica Rogers

Kara Bolton

Kimberly Hawk

Hannah Gilbert and John Balthaser

Tanner Bradshaw and Samantha Rogers

Linda Riley Allison

Alex McDowell


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