Easy Rain Boats from Natural Materials

In our home, one is not allowed to talk nasty to the rain. In fact, I wield our rain stick with such vigor that my poor children are practically forced to race outside in hysterical glee the moment a drop falls from the sky. Given California’s drought, I struggle to communicate the precious value of water with my kids in a way that celebrates its blessings, rather than deprives them of play. (Less “conserve the water to protect the earth” and more “delight in little flurries of water because it’s so special.”)

So, this morning when I woke to the pattering of drops, I leapt out of bed (as much as a sleep deprived mama of two small children can leap first thing in the morning) and planned a day of all-natural leaf boating.

First we made our boats. I explained to Jasmine that our boats needed to consist of entirely natural materials so that if one ended up all the way into the ocean, it wouldn’t harm any living creatures.

We gathered leaves, pinecones, seeds, and pods that would serve as floats, sails and people. Then, once we returned home, I laid our objects out, added corks and we used toothpicks to assemble boats.


Although baby Chloe had a harder time using the toothpicks to skewer her corks, she did manage to do a bit of construction. The 4 1/2-year-old Jasmine, on the other hand, focused intently on her boats, remaking them over and over again. She particularly enjoyed making little rooms for her eucalyptus pod people.

Once she was done with rendition after rendition of boats, we settled on three and headed into the rain in search of different bodies of water to test out our boats.



Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Interesting article. Thanks.

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

Oh, I want to go and play with your kids! Rain is special in California? You should try living in Arizona! Loved the boats, but with the flash floods we get here they might end up in Mexico. Oh, that would be a nice idea! We could send 'love boats' to our neighbors...

Savannah P.
Savannah Pratt7 years ago

Aww, cute!

Sommo P.
Sommo Pokkonin9 years ago

Very interesting.