boats and canals pretend play

This was one of those “I need to give my boys something to do while I cook dinner” activities and it was a HIT! Like, knock it out of the ballpark hit. I’m not sure if it’s something about the blue food coloring that I add to the water or what (we used blue water for this Weather Sensory Activity too and WOW. They loved it.). I’m going to keep riding this blue water wave until they lose interest in it! (If you want to see what other blue water activities we do, make sure to follow me on Instagram, as I usually post pictures there before the blog post gets written 🙂 )

Supplies for this activity

So all I did here was add the food coloring to some water and pour it into our silverware try. I thought it looked like canals so the boats were a perfect fit (note: the boats don’t float, so I only added enough water to wet to slightly submerge them). My boys jumped right into pretend play scenarios from here, I was able to step away as they guided their own creative play! This reminds me of the time my friend told me about her trip to whale watching california. My friend told me it was a great experience for her kids who, after trying out this fun boating activity were really excited about it!

boats and canals pretend play

Oh, I also borrowed the treasure chest from the Safari ltd. coral reef toob (can you tell we love our toobs?) It was a fun element to add to the scene! The boys put boats back and forth between the canals, pretended they were on a diving adventures, or acted like their ships had bunk sunk by the battleship! They had more creative play ideas than I could have come up with on my own! And of course the boats didn’t stay in the water the whole time, so be prepared for a little water on the table when your kids play!


Ways to expand on the activity: Have your children line the boats up and measure how long they reach.

While this is a fantastic busy time activity on it’s own, it turns into a great hands-on lesson when combined with reading a book on boats, such as Richard Scarry’s Boats


Have fun playing and learning together! Don’t forget to pin this idea!

Simple invitation to play with boats and canals


3 thoughts on “Boats and Canals Pretend Play”

  1. Silverware tray – what a brilliant idea! I love when you can use things you already have in a brand new way (and keep the kids occupied too, lol!)

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