Summer fun with your fairy friends!

Created by RHA Educator, Tracy Gordon.


Level:   Any age

Duration:  An hour or two to make.  Endless hours sailing!!

Setting:  Inside/Outside

Background Information:

As summer fast approaches and the days grow warmer, we naturally wish to spend more time near water.  Here in the Raritan Headwaters Watershed we have many opportunities to recreate near water.   Or perhaps you enjoy sitting poolside in your own backyard.  Either way know that here at Raritan Headwaters we continue to do the work necessary to ensure that our water is safe to drink and recreate in.

Children of all ages love to swim, wade, search for frogs and skip rocks.  Another fun thing to do while visiting a stream, pond or lake is to float your own miniature boat.  See below for some ideas.

Materials:   It is best to make your boat with natural and biodegradable materials in case it floats away down a stream or out into a lake.  If you plan to keep your boat in your backyard pool, feel free to add additional materials to enhance your watercraft.

  • Twigs
  • Bark
  • Discarded fruit or vegetable shells
  • String/Yarn/Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Decorative items such as
    • Beads
    • Feathers
    • Paint
    • Flowers

The Activity:   There are many different ways that you can make a boat.  The fun is in using your imagination and skill to create a floatable watercraft.

A Raft: (Rafts always make me think of Huckleberry Finn and his adventures on the Mississippi River!)

  • Trim 8 to 12 twigs so that they are about the same length and 2 twigs that are about 5” long. These will become the platform of your raft.
  • Cut a 2’ length of yarn or string to bind the twigs together.
  • Make a letter L with 2 of the sticks
  • Wind the yarn around the two sticks forming a letter X with the yarn. Continue wrapping the yarn around all of the sticks in this way until the raft is complete.

  • Find a twig that you would like for your mast. I choose one shaped like a lower case t.
  • Cut a piece of fabric or paper to make the sail. I used an old piece of a rag.
  • Tie each corner of the sail onto the mast. I used a thumbtack to secure the mast to the center pole.


  • Next push the mast between two sticks in the center of the raft. Tie yarn around the twigs a couple of times and then wrap it around the base of the mast to hold it in place.
  • Add a tow rope so you don’t lose your boat while out sailing!


Fairy Boat:  I decided that I wanted to make a boat for my backyard fairies. I do not have a pool, but my bird bath is the perfect place for this whimsical watercraft.

  • Prepare and eat an orange the way you would a grapefruit (or just use a grapefruit). Once it is eaten the empty shell can be used to make a fairy boat.  You can let it dry out for a few days first if you have the patience to do so.








  • I happen to be trying to root some Hosta Plants and decided one of the leaves would make a perfect sunshade for my fairy boat. I used a needle and thread to attach it being careful not to poke holes to close to the bottom of my boat. Won’t want it to fill up with water and sink.  (Please ask an adult to help you with this part.)

  • Next I added a seat with a piece of bark.
  • Lastly I added a couple of flowers as decoration. I can just picture a fairy relaxing in this boat on a warm, sunny afternoon.


Wrap Up:

  • Does your boat float? Why or why not?
  • Did you discover another way to bind the sticks together that was easier for you?
  • Where will you be sailing your boat?



Wrap Up:

How did you like this activity? Please share any questions, comments, or photos that you and your child have on the Raritan Headwaters Learning Community Facebook Page!

More Raritan Headwaters Learning Resources