How to Build a Foam Boat

If you look around when it rains. you’ll see water running downhill.  We are rich in creeks, rivers and streams when it rains.  A boat made of open cell foam can perform just like a kayak that you see someone paddling on the rivers.  If it’s made just right, you will even see that boat surfing in holes, catching eddies and even rolling up when it gets flipped over. Check it out!

Get supplies


  • Open cell foam. Check out your local home improvement store

  • Glue or other materials optional depending how you want to deck out your boat



  • Carving tool. If you use a knife, be sure you know your knife safety and have adult permission and supervision!

You can also visit a local library Prize Center to check out a pre-made boat, or get inspiration for how to build your own!

Build it

Check out images of kayaks or other whitewater crafts. What do you notice about their shapes? Some may be long and narrow; some may have flat bottoms (rafts), some curved bottoms (kayaks). 

You may even want to try multiple shapes and test how they move differently.

If you have a little boater (maybe a Lego or popscicle stick person), carve them out a seat in the center of your boat.


Test run

Water is fun but also strong. Pick a stream small enough to jump over, or wade through in your boots.


Don't play in streams that are deep and rushing really fast. These can be dangerous and you'll probably lose your boat!


Anytime that you play in a river or creek deeper than your ankles you need to wear a life jacket / PFD (personal floatation device).