The best way to learn history is to get hands on! This easy egg carton Mayflower boat craft is simple enough for little kids, and fits mini dolls too. You can easily make this into a variety of boats for different lessons, just by changing the color and the sails. We made a blue boat because that’s the color my daughter wanted, but a dark brown would be more historically accurate. Plus, you probably already have all the supplies needed.
Mayflower Boat Egg Carton Craft
- Egg carton. Paper ones are best for painting.
- Paper. Any patterned or plain paper you like for the sails.
- Straws. Not pictured, but I use plastic straws. You can also use dowels or sticks, but my kids tend to face plant on their toys, and straws are safer.
- Glue gun. (optional)
Start by cutting out a section of the egg carton. I wanted a medium sized boat, so I used half of it. You can make tiny little dinghies or big cruise ships depending on how many sections you use. Next I pained the inside entirely with a light blue paint. After that dried, I flipped it over and painted the bottom a navy blue.
Let it dry to the touch for a few minutes. It will take several hours for the paper to completely dry up and harden, but the softer paper makes the next steps a bit easier.
To make the sails, I cut two straws to the length I wanted. One tall, and one a little shorter. Then I placed them on my paper for a visual guide, and drew the sail shape. Cut out the sails. Then I used my scissors to poke holes in the top and bottom. You can use a hole punch if you have one handy, but scissors work just as well. Then just thread your sail onto your straw.
For a boat this size, you’ll want two sails. A smaller or larger boat will need different amounts depending on how much space you have.
The paper of the egg carton is very wet, so it was easy to poke a hole through one of the center spots with my scissors. If your carton has already hardened, you may need a craft knife or a sharp dowel.
Then all you have to do it set the sail down in the hole! You can either leave the sails loose and removable for storage, or when the carton is fully dry use a drop of hot glue to secure them in place.
And you’re done!
I kept these Mayflower boats simple to help promote imaginative play. However, you can make them more historically accurate by adding rigging to the sails, or painting on details like windows and wood grain. Have fun!