Need a quick & easy craft for your children’s Sunday school class this week?
Use your leftover pool noodles from summer or grab some off the clearance rack for this kids bible lesson project. Over the summer break, I was in charge of all the children’s crafts at my church’s local Vacation Bible School. There were a couple of the activities that were a big hit with both the kids and the adults that helped. This was one of them! Even though I had planned the Noah’s Ark pool noodle raft craft only for the older elementary age group, everyone wanted in on the action after they saw the example boat I had brought to show.
The best part for the person heading up this craft is that it is truly a quick and easy project. There’s not a lot of prep or fuss for these rafts to be made and actually float – the best part for the kids to play with them long after VBS is over! Many of the supply items you can upcycle or recycle from your household or your craft stash.
Although this isn’t quite the scale of Noah’s actual Ark (ha! right?!), it does get the conversation going about how Noah built the Ark, the purpose of it and what variety animals were on board. Find the complete story for your lesson in Genesis chapters 6-9. The website DLTK Bible has some great printable lesson resources for the story of Noah’s Ark and the flood. For a visual example, you can even bring a set of small plastic zoo animals to ride on the kids’ rafts after they are made.
These little boats are fully able to float. My daughter played with hers in the bathtub every single night for about a month before the water loosened up the duct tape and it fell apart. This upcycled kids bible craft is so easy to make, you can whip up another one in no time though.
MATERIALS (per each raft):
1 small pool noodle (you’ll use about 1/2 noodle per raft)
2 dowel rods 12 inches long (or substitute tall craft sticks or cut twigs from your yard)
2 small foam sheets (5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches) or 1 large foam sheet cut in half lengthwise
Foam stars or other foam stickers for decoration
Colored duct tape
Serrated knife or something to cut the pool noodles into segments
Time frame: about 30 min. (if materials are prepped ahead of time)
Level: preschool and up (smaller kids will need adult assistance)
Cost: varies depending on upcycled materials used (less than a few dollars per raft if you purchase all materials in bulk and create several at once)
Pool Noodle Raft Craft Instructions:
First use a serrated knife to cut the pool noodle into three 10-inch long segments (or 6 for two rafts). Since most standard pool noodles are a little over five feet in length (or 60+ inches), you’ll probably have enough to make two boats from one noodle with a tiny bit left over. If you want to be precise, take a minute to measure your pool noodle and divide by 6 for the segment length measurement to be sure and get 2 rafts from it.
Make the raft’s base using three pool noodle segments. Lay the pool noodle segments side by side aligning the ends and use duct tape to secure them together. This is where an extra set of hands comes in handy so have your kids making it buddy up and help each other. Wrap a strip of duct tape twice around each end of the aligned pool noodles to affix them together to create the raft base of Noah’s Ark.
Use the dowel rods for the masts of your raft. Taking each dowel rod, poke one end through the outer pool noodle segments on each side in the middle of the raft. You may need to use the serrated knife or another sharp object to stab an initial little hole to get the dowel rods started. Push each dowel rod most of the way straight down through the pool noodle, but don’t poke it all the way through. It should be snug enough to hold itself in place without a problem. If not, you can use a bit of duct tape at the base where it meets the pool noodle to secure each dowel rod.
Now add the foam sheets for the raft’s sails. Cut two equally spaced 1/4-inch slits on each short side. You can hold the foam sheets up to the dowel rods and use a pencil or even your finger to scratch small marks where to place the cut slits in from the foam sheets short sides. After cutting the slits, slip each foam sheet over the dowel rods on top of one another to make the sails.
As a finishing touch, let the kids decorate their Noah’s Ark raft with foam stickers. They can also use markers to draw on the foam or other types of stick-on decoration. Some kids in my VBS classes wanted to use yarn to make a loop to pull their boat along on the water.
Have you ever tried making a raft or floating Noah’s Ark kids raft or boat craft before? How did it work out? I was really surprised by the excitement over this craft, but honestly every single kid loved it over the summer at VBS. See what your kids think!
Happy crafting with your kids,