How to Make a Paper Boat {Columbus Day Activities}

I love this How to make a paper boat as part of your Columbus Day activities for kids fun. Telling the story of Columbus is much more fun with a paper boat to sail.   Kids Activities Blog loves finding easy activities for kids like this one that use things you already have at home to sneak in a little Columbus Day learning. And who doesn’t want to make a paper boat?

How to make a paper boat - Kids Activities Blog - white paper folded boat floating on blue water with shadow
Let’s fold a paper boat!

In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Anyone else grow up learning this little ditty to teach us about Columbus Day?

I will certainly not ever forget the year Christopher Columbus sailed to America.  I hope it’s a Final Jeopardy question the day I’m on it!

Make a Paper Boat for Columbus Day

Here in America, we celebrate Columbus Day, the day the famed explorer, Christopher Columbus reached the Americas on October 12, 1492.  Though he was not the first explorer to have discovered the New World, his voyages led to the lasting connection of Europe to the Americas.  He has an enormous impact on the historical development of the modern Western World.  Therefore, we celebrate this day each year, ensuring our children remember his name, if not the silly rhyme.

This Columbus Day, spend a few minutes in discussion with your kids on the importance of this holiday and make 3 mini paper boats to celebrate his crossing the Atlantic on his fleet of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

This is a very easy, beginner origami craft that younger kids can do as well.

How to Fold a Paper Boat (Easy Paper Boat Instructions with Photos)

Step 1

Start with a 5×7 sheet of paper and fold it in half and press down on the middle crease.

Step 1 & Step 2 - how to fold a boat
This is how folding a paper boat starts…

Step 2

Now fold it in half again to make another crease.  Unfold.

Step 3 & Step 4 - how to fold a boat
Next, fold down the corners

Step 3

Fold the top 2 corners in to meet in the middle at the crease and form a triangle.

Step 4

Fold the small front flap up on the front and the back flap up on the back.

Step 5 & Step 6 & Step 7 - how to fold a boat
Do you see the middle of your paper boat forming?

Step 5

Take the two bottoms of the triangle and push them in together, forming a diamond.

Step 6

Fold the front bottom corner up to the top corner and again on the other side.  You have created another triangle with an open bottom.

Step 7 & Step 8 - how to fold a boat
Your paper boat is almost complete!

Step 7

Push the two sides of the triangle in towards one another, just as you did in Step 4, creating a diamond again.

Step 8

Holding the diamond facing you, pull both the right and left top layers out to form the hulls of the boat.

There you go! Now you can make a paper boat.

I can’t think of a more fun way to celebrate Columbus Day!

More Kids Activities from Kids Activities Blog

Celebrating holidays like Columbus Day with kids activities is what we do.   Here are some of our favorites similar to How to Make a Paper Boatwe even have paper airplanes!

Did your kids have fun folding a paper boat?


  1. Hi! This looks like so much fun! I would love to do this with my classroom at church. I do have a question though – does it have to be 5 x 7 paper or could 6 x 6 work? I’ve never done origami before. I looked online and I’m finding more options to purchase the size 6 x 6. Please let me know. Thank you! This is a great idea!

  2. I would simply try it with a square piece of paper to see if the 6×6 would work. You could always have them tear off one edge.

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  6. The paper in the picture is 8.5 X 11. But the directions say 5 X 7…?

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