I was quite excited to see the latest competition from Center Parcs, in association with Tots 100. The idea is to make your own boat and be as creative as you like. This was perfect timing for us as our four year old son is CRAZY about boats at the moment. On a recent camping trip to Cornwall, we hired a little motor boat and whizzed around St Ives harbour. It was the most fun we have had in ages and the children loved taking a turn at steering the boat.
Sailing in St Ives
So, why a boat competition for Center Parcs? Well, at Center Parcs ‘water’ is a big part of the holiday experience. There are a variety of watersports available including scuba diving and sailing. Exactly which ones are available will depend on the site that you visit. Of course, there is also the fantastic subtropical swimming park which is what we love best!
When challenged to build our own boat we came up with lots of ideas as a family. This actually led us to build quite a few boats! Some were more successful than others….
Our prototype was easy to make. Just paint a little pot, stick a lollipop stick through a slit in the top and attach a flag with glue. However in water it was about as much use as a chocolate teapot. It was top-heavy so kept tipping over and for some reason I used poster paint instead of acrylics (doh) so it all came off in the water.
Our next attempt was at building a little raft using simple bits and pieces like some corks, some string, a cocktail stick and some paper. This was pretty effective and the children had fun floating it in the sink but it wasn’t quite exciting enough to hold their attention for long.
Our little raft reminds me of Robinson Crusoe!
Next up was a home-made house boat fashioned from milk cartons! I love these and the children do too. Initially we just cut them out and painted them with some acrylic paint to see if the idea would work.
Once painted, we took the boats out to a little river and road tested them (or rather, water tested them) to check that they floated and that the paint stayed on. It was a success! The little ones loved floating them around and storing them in the harbour whilst we had our lunch.
I love the idea of these little boats. I’ve always fancied owning a houseboat so in some small way I am living my dream! Thomas calls his, “The Rosie and Jim Boat” for obvious reasons. We couldn’t just stop here, we had to decorate them and add a few little improvements!
We gave them another coat of paint and also painted the top of the boat a different colour. The piece which we cut out of the boat was inverted into the inside of the boat and attached with my hot glue gun. This made a handy little seat and every piece of the carton was used.. ooh I do hate to waste anything! We then added some curtains and we planted up some cress seeds in little yoghurt pots which could sit proudly on our rooftop garden. Unfortunately these needed a few more days of growing before I took the photo but you get the idea! Next we hunted through our Playmobil toys to find some little bits and bobs we could add. We found pot plants, deck chairs and of course some little people to holiday in the houseboat! The results kept my little people amused for well over an hour, which after 6 weeks of summer holidays is a big thumbs as far as I’m concerned!
Chugging along on the old rag doll…..
Lily says this is ‘”The Mummy and Daddy having a nap”. I think we need to get ourselves a houseboat!