My family first got the idea to make a paper boat from our beloved book, H.A. Rey’s Curious George Rides a Bike, in which sweet and loveable George secures a paper route, which leads him to make and sail a whole flotilla of folded-newspaper boats. Wondering if a newspaper boat could really float, we got out some old newspaper, folded it into boats using the directions in Curious George, and took our boats down to a local creek, where they indeed sailed along once released, on a gently flowing spring stream. You can make your own boat, using any kind of paper.
A sheet of any type of paper, roughly the same scale as an 8 ½” by 11” sheet
Adhesive tape, optional
Place the paper on a surface the long way, and fold it in half, top to bottom.
Fold the paper in half again.
Unfold the fold you just made.
With the creased side on top, fold both top corners in towards the center crease. This leaves a triangle shape, with a rectangular bar along the bottom.
Fold the bottom rectangles up on each side, creasing at the bottom of the triangle shape.
Place a thumb and forefinger on the inside of the shape, at the center of each triangle, and carefully, completely open out the shape from the middle.
Keep opening the shape until it flattens again into a perfect square. (Your two fingers should now be on opposite sides of the square.)
Lay the square like a diamond. The side pointing up should be the one that doesn’t have any other folds over it.
Fold each side in half, width-wise, bringing each bottom triangle up to the point at the top.
Place a thumb and forefinger into the center of each triangle, as before. This time, as you pull the bottom opening apart, use the other hand to stretch out the two top triangles from the other side of the figure, so that they become the bow and stern (back and front) of the boat.
Flatten the inner triangle slightly to create a sail.
If you like, you can line the bottom of the boat with adhesive tape, which may make it more waterproof and help it float longer.
Float your boat in a bathtub, creek or other body of water!
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman and Michael Lipman
Illustration by Margaret and H.A. Rey
Join me for more activities at the Family Book Festival at Jump Into a Book
See boats in action in an Origami Boat Race!