Building Boats

Building Boats lesson plan

Sail away on miniature Crayola® Model Magic boats you research and create yourself!

  • 1.

    Sailboats have been used for at least 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians drifted down the Nile with the current, then raised their sail to go back up the river. The Chinese invented a way to change wind. Canoes (kenu means dugout) were developed by the Carib Indians and other Native Americans over thousands of years. Rafts, kayaks, and many other types of early boats are also still used today.

  • 2.

    Choose any type of boat that interests you. Research information about the boat's origins, the materials with which it is made, variations in design, and other details. Find photographs that show the boat's interior and exterior construction.

  • 3.

    Sculpt a model of your boat with bright colors of Crayola Model Magic. Use your fingers to shape its basic structure and shape. Attach smaller pieces to the boat with a dampened finger. Use a craft stick to etch designs or shape parts of the craft.

  • 4.

    To make sails, cut red (the traditional sail color) or white construction paper into a triangle or rectangle with Crayola Scissors. Push wooden toothpick masts through the sails. Press the toothpick into a mound of Model Magic in the boat. For large sails, use dowel sticks to hold up the sails.

  • 5.

    For oars or paddles, flatten Model Magic, using toothpicks or craft sticks for supports if needed. You may also need to make paddlewheels, smokestacks, small lifeboats, or other designs to create an authentic replica.


  • Students research different types of boats in various time periods and cultures.
  • Students locate photographs and information about construction details of one type of boat.
  • Students use their research as the basis for designing and modeling a 3-dimensional boat.


  • Pretend you are the captain of your boat, the pilot of your ship, or a fisher on a small craft. Write an imaginary journal about your career. Tell about your adventures on a river, lake, or the high seas.
  • Visit a marina, ferry station, or a military or commercial port. Watch the boats come and go, unloading cargo and people. What jobs are people doing? What equipment do you see on the boat? On shore? Can you find an anchor? Compass?
  • Interview a sailor, boat builder, canoeist, or other boater. What safety precautions do they take? How do they prepare their boat for the water? What is their most memorable moment on the boat?