Easy DIY: Plastic Bottle Boat Toy

"Waterfall ahead, bearing South Southwest.  Ease toward the starboard side.  No, not port... starboard!  Your OTHER starboard!  Right! Now, easy... easy...  Success!  Good job, Captain Barbie.  Looks like the craft didn't take in any water."

Every now and then I marvel at how easy it is to make my daughter happy.

Toys don't need to cost a fortune.  Indeed, this latest toy cost me absolutely nothing but time.  Not much time, either.  Probably ten minutes.  This green DIY project is the very essence of simplicity.

I made a catamaran for her dolls by using a couple of plastic bottles.  

The amount of plastic bottles that end up in landfills is staggering.  Sure, you can recycle them, but the amount of bottles it takes to create even something as simple as a reusable shopping bag is overwhelming.

And don't even get me started on the energy required...

Anyway, I elected to use the plastic bottles to create a simple toy boat, thereby giving the bottles some extra activity before they go to that big recycling center in the sky.

Sure, it doesn't look like much to us, but to a three and a half year old, this thing is awesome.  Not just awesome, but rather, I-want-to-take-four-baths-a-day-so-I-can-play-with-it-again-and-again awesome.

I first saw it on kidsomania.com.  There was a brief tutorial on how to do it, but honestly, it can be done just by looking at the photo.  It's that easy.

And be sure to take a look at theirs.  It's a bit prettier than mine, since mine was made in a hurry.

Time for the Instructions!

I grabbed
2 green soda bottles,
a knife,
a rubber band, and
some tape.

That's all that's actually needed.  Easy, right?

First, cut a section out of each bottle that's large enough to accommodate the size of the doll/action figure that will be placed inside.

Place the bottles side by side so that the holes you just cut are on top.  Wrap the rubber band around the bottles to stabilize them.

Now cut a few pieces of water-resistant tape (I used duct tape, just because that's what was laying around).  Wrap them around the bottles.  One piece should go as close to the future bow of the boat as possible, just before the bottles start narrowing.  Do the same at the stern (back), placing the tape as far back as is reasonable.

At this point, you're pretty much done.  

See?  I told you it was easy.

I added tape around the holes that I cut, but that's only because I have a fear of my daughter cutting herself on the plastic, and wanted to be sure to negate that possibility.  It's not necessary to keep the boat afloat, so the decision is entirely up to you.

I tested the creation in the kitchen sink in about an inch of water, just to be sure the boat was float-worthy.  It was, so I turned on the faucet.  I wanted both a waterfall and a current.

Next, I pulled the drain plug.  Whirlpool action was definitely needed.

You know... to test the integrity.

Not because I wanted to play with the boat.  Not at all.  It's a kid's toy, and I'm an adult.

I have no need for a child's plaything.