This week in my school we have a transportation theme, and as part of it I've decided to put some toy boats in the water table. Unfortunately for me, money is tight and my new class is a bunch of hooligans. Seriously, they destroy everything. They're still toddlers in a lot of ways, though, so I'm understanding of their need to tear, smash, drop and crush the brand new toys I bought with my own money just for them. Hopefully they too will be understanding of my need to cheap out and just make disposable toy boats.
These boats are fairly sturdy and take only a minute to make. All you need is a rectangle of "fun foam" and a stapler. Overlap the corners of one short end as shown in the photo to the right. Staple. Then put another staple in the bottom corner. Repeat on the other side. Your boat won't sit upright on "land," but it will do so in the water. (The one in the photo above is propped up in the back.) It's not completely waterproof but it won't take on much water, and will still float even if it has a little liquid in it.
You could vary this by adding a sail, decorating with permanent markers, or cutting the edges with fun-shaped scissors. An anchor could be added with some string and black foam with a pebble glued on as a weight. A little life preserver from a donut of white foam would be cute, too.
These boats are strong enough to carry around a few Lego people. A large one made of a whole sheet of foam would be great to use in a pool and would certainly carry a larger doll. My little ones are going in a shallow tub of water - colored blue with a bit of food coloring - and I'm going to teach the kids how to have boat races by blowing the crafts across the water. We'll also experiment to see how many small, smooth stones it takes to make these puppies sink. Ahoy, matey, there be science ahead!