Boat Theme Ideas for Preschool


Young children have a natural fascination with boats and water. Classroom themes involving the boating industry make learning fun and inspire curiosity. You can use creative projects, decorations and books to teach children about boats and how they are used for recreation, economy and history.

Boat Shapes and Colors

  • This activity allows preschoolers to create a colorful picture while learning about shapes and colors. 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 color will allow the child to work on color recognition as well. Have the child identify the shape and colors 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 colors and shapes. Cut out half circles, rectangles and triangles out of felt in matching colors, making sure that there are all three parts per color. Place the felt shapes on a table near the flannel board. Tell children what color to make their boat. Each child will have a turn picking out the correct colors 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. Encourage them to mimic the sound and motion created by various boats. This activity will help develop large motor skills and reinforce learning concepts.

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 color 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. Cut the photograph of the child out and glue it onto the boat. Encourage children to decorate boats with beads, glitter, stars or buttons. This activity is will help in the development of fine motor skills.

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  • Photo Credit Design Pics / David Chapman/Design Pics/Getty Images
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