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Over the next two months, we will be posting one nature or art-inspired boat each week - that we float in puddles, ponds and streams outside in nature. The goal is to create interesting nature and art-inspired STEM boats and build an inspired collection of fun outdoor boat ideas for spring.

Join in on the fun, use the hashtag #livingchildhoodoutside and we may feature your boat idea on this blog, with all credits going to you on the photo! Even if you don’t get a feature here, we will share all boat ideas to our stories on Instagram @acorns.and.aprons - we can’t wait to see what you come up with.

We suggest that you sail your boat in shallow water only. Somewhere that is easy to retrieve your boat. Be careful of current and don’t go too deep in the water. The best places are narrow streams, puddles and the edge of ponds. Wide open water is not recommended, plus you might lose your boat. A great way to bring water to you, if you don’t have a safe stream or puddle, is to put some water in a large container or bucket and float your boat in your backyard.

Outdoor Gear: rainboots are a must! Rain pants are also a good idea!

Nature walk: Collect some nature items that you find on the forest floor prior to building your boats. The items you collect will inspire the materials you use for your boat. You can also use items around the house, from fruit in your kitchen to crafting supplies…the possibilities are endless.

STEM building: Measurements and density matter! Take care in choosing your materials, they obviously need to stay afloat. The sail cannot be too tall, and if it is, build the base bigger and wider! If at first you don’t succeed, adjust your materials and measurements and try again! These observations and experimentations are the early basics of understanding the scientific method and also fostering fascination with problem-solving and innovation.

Here is our growing list of boat ideas:

#1. Butternut or Walnut shells and leaf Nature Boats:

1. Collect some leafs and walnuts or butternut shells.

2. Secure a toothpick with play clay, or with a hole.

3. Add a leaf by poking the toothpick through it.

Enjoy sailing your nature boat in a puddle, stream or anywhere else outside!

#2 Butternut shell or Walnut shell and Birch bark Nature boats:

No glue needed.

1. Add a hole pin to the middle part of a walnut to secure a toothpick, or secure it with a bit of play clay or glue.

2. Add a piece of birch bark to the toothpick, by cutting two small holes and weaving the toothpick through. We made our birch bark into triangle shapes.

#3. Leaf and wood Boats with a mushroom design on them:

1. Create a small hole into the bark or wooden slice.

2. Paint a mushroom design onto a leaf, or glue a piece of paper or fabric design onto the leaf.

3. Place the leaf stem into the hole on the bark, secure it with glue if needed.

#4 Surrealist Butterfly Boat:

1. Cut out a button shape by folding a piece of paper - you can use our free butterfly template, under freebies.

2. Paint one side of the wings and fold the paper in half and press down, open it back up. The paint will be equal on both sides.

3. Allow it to dry and then add some black lines if desired, using marker or black paint.

If you make a tall sail like this add extra wood sticks or bark to make the base longer! It will need to be wider than the height. We added a stick raft before sailing these.

4. Attach the paper butterflies to a wooden stick using glue or string, then attach the stick to a piece or bark by creating a small hole on the bark.

You can also add a single paper butterfly directly to a wooden coin:

Paper boat:

Printable instructions coming next week!

#livingchildhoodoutside FEATURE BOATS:

@wild.little.whimsy - Seed Pod nature boats

How adorable are these Seed-Pod boats by @wild.little.whimsy. Perfect to add to a bowl of water with flowers and leaves. Take it outside with you and play with it on a play table. Lots of imagination play will ensure.

Seed Pod nature boat
@wild.little.whimsy 2022


We hope you enjoy making Nature boats and sailing them outside in puddles, streams and ponds! ..or even in a bucket of water! Don’t forget to tag us at @acorns.and.aprons and use the hashtag #livingchildhoodoutside for a chance to get featured here or in our Instagram stories. We can’t wait to see your creations!


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