Preschool Boat Activities and Shape Crafts: Make a Sailboat

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Since this lesson plan combines preschool boat activities and a shape craft, it would be a wonderful compliment to your transportation or water units.


  • Sail Away by Donald Crews
  • Pictures of boats, including sailboats
  • Construction paper, one sheet for each student
  • Various die cut shapes (rectangles, triangles, trapezoids, circles, etc)
  • Crayons and markers
  • Glue

Prior Knowledge

Spend some time talking about lakes and oceans. Ask students if they have ever visited a lake or an ocean. Show students pictures of different types of boats and sailboats. Point out and name specific parts of a boat, such as the hull, mast, and sails on the sailboat. Ask students if they have ever been on any type of boat and have them share their experiences.


Show students the cover of Sail Away and ask if they can identify anything on the cover. Read the story to them, stopping to ask about the problem and solution in the story. When you finish, talk about what parts students liked the best.

After reading the story, review the properties of the shapes that your students will be using to make their sailboats.


Make a sailboat picture before you begin, to use as an example. To start, show students the sailboat you made and explain that today they will be using different shapes to make a sailboat picture of their very own. Explain that they will glue the shapes on to their construction paper to design their own sailboat. Tell students that their sailboats must include the three main parts of a hull, mast, and sail. They can also include other shapes to decorate their sailboats.

Pass out construction paper, glue, and shapes. Circulate around the room to help as needed. Some students may need help with placement of shapes.

When they have finished making the sailboats, let students color them.


Keep one of each die cut shape. Show students the die cut shapes and have them tell you what shape it is.

Have your students count the number of each shape that they used to make their sailboats. Then, have them tell you the names of the shapes and how many of each they used.


These will be great to use for decorating a bulletin board or to put in the hallway.

Read other books about boats including Harbor by Donald Crews and The Boat Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta.

Give students shape bags and have them bring in things from home that are examples of that shape.