Screen-free play - Build boats from recycled materials I have been saving recycle bin items for a while for the boys to use to make boats, and they were all very enthusiastic when I pulled out this pile! We added some duct tape and scissors, and they were ready to build.

(Owen could not wait until the photo was over to scope out what he was going to use!)

Screen-free play: Build boats from recycled materials Owen immediately picked the egg carton as the base for his boat, so I encouraged him to test out the egg carton in the water. (I included those for the purpose of comparing materials and exploring items that absorb water and items that don’t.)

Screen-free play: Build boats out of recycled materials Alas, the egg carton did not work! So Dad helped Owen cut a boat out of a plastic milk jug. He didn’t want frills – just a boat that would float!

Screen-free play: Build boats out of recycled materials Gresham made a boat for his dinosaurs out of a styrofoam tray that came with corn on the cob.

Screen-free play: Build boats out of recycled materials Gresham and Owen played and played with their boats and their Safari animals! This ended up being a really calm water play activity. We announced at the start that this would not be a water fight, and that no one was to dump water on anyone else, and amazingly enough no one had to leave the game early!

Screen-free play: Build boats out of recycled materials

For older kids: We ran out of time to do this, but I think it would be fun to try to build a boat that can hold the most weight without sinking. Aidan tried to get really complicated with his boat, and it ended up not working too well. I think a specific purpose (like holding weight) would have helped him.

More Ideas for Water Play:

  • Use sponges to “wash” the patio
  • Set up a toy wash – we did this recently with some big trucks that have gotten really dusty!
  • Paint on the house, sidewalk, etc. with water and a large paint brush
  • Give little ones a spray bottle full of water, and let them spray to their hearts’ content – outside of course!
  • Spray chalk letters with a spray bottle


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  1. Emma Jun 24, 2013

    Fantastic idea. I love your idea for older children, we will definitely try that one if you don't mind?

    Thanks for linking up.


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