Make Your Own Toy Twig Raft with Your Kids

A picture of children playing with a twig raft
Photo © Caiaimage / Chris Ryan / Getty Images

Explore Mother Nature, collect some essential items and learn how to make a toy raft for your kids from twigs. A toy twig raft will keep the kids entertained for hours at home in the bathtub, at a local creek or even on vacation at the beach. This nature project isn't just for show either. The raft really floats!

Materials

  • ­9 to 11 sticks
  • 1 small twig for the raft's mast
  • String or hemp cord
  • Construction paper or felt
  • Clay or a stick of a gum
  • Scissors
  • Optional: stickers, gems, crayons, paint, or markers to decorate the sail

Building Process

  1. Go on a nature walk so you can find just about everything you need for your toy twig raft. You'll need at least two thick sticks for the base and seven to nine smaller sticks for the raft's deck. Look for one small twig that's big enough to support your mast but small enough that it's not too heavy for your raft.
  2. Cut the 7 to 9 smaller sticks that will serve as your raft's deck to the same length. Place them in a row. This is the base of your raft.
  3. Lay a stick going the opposite direction on top of the raft's base at one end and another on the other end of the raft. These sticks are the raft's supports.
  4. Secure the raft with the string. Weave the string over and under until the sticks are tightly bound together.
  5. Cut a sail shape out of construction paper or felt. Mark 0.5" from the top and bottom and make small holes for your twig mast to slide through the sail.
  1. If you're using construction paper, before you slide the twig through, let your child decorate the sail. Glue gems, color the page, try a sponge painting technique, use stickers or simply use the solid color of the construction paper for your sail.
  2. Slide the twig through the construction paper or the felt. You have a sail and a mast. Secure the bottom of the mast (the bottom of the twig) to where it meets the raft using your string or hemp cord. Another way to anchor the mast is by pushing a piece of clay into the middle of the raft and then pushing the mast into the clay.
  1. Let your child put her own stamp on it, or have them chew up a piece of gum and press that down into the base of the raft instead, followed by the mast to anchor it. Once it dries, the gum is a lighter weight. It's also a good way to prevent a little brother from playing with the raft because of the ick factor.

The raft is ready to float so find some water and start playing. If your raft does float away or breaks, there's good news. This is such an economical and easy-to-make craft, you can simply put another one together. You can even make an entire fleet!