Don't Rock the Boat

Books to Share

  • Boat Book by Gail Gibbons.
  • Boat-Mania! by Steve Parker.
  • Boats by Paul Stickland.
  • Louise Builds a Boat by Louise Pfanner.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Adrift! Boating Safety for Children by Colleen Politano.
  • Boat (Eyewitness Books Series) by Eric Kentley.
  • Boats and Ships: Your Field Guide by Robert Holtzman.
  • Boating by David Armentrout.
  • The Missing Manatee by Cynthia DeFelice.


Display non-fiction books about firefighting boats, coast guard boats, submarines, and other types of boats.  Surround the books with toy boats or models of boats.


Decorate your programming room with items you might take with you on a boat, or see while you are on a boat, such as plastic fish, plastic or squishy fake worms, fishing hats, fishing nets, fishing poles, life preservers, rubber boots and waders, binoculars, and coolers.


“You Can Sail the Ocean in a Ship” and other songs in Books Ahoy, .

A Sailor Went to Sea


Children choose partners and sit facing each other as they sing this song and perform the clapping actions listed below. Let them repeat the song as many times as they like.

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,

To see what he could see, see, see,

But all that he could see, see, see,

Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

Children perform these clapping actions, repeating with each of the four lines.

A – clap own hands

Sai – clap right hand with partner

Lor- clap own hands

Went – clap left hand with partner

To – clap own hands

Sea, sea, sea – clap partner’s hands three times

Audio Recordings

Caribbean Party by Various Artists.

“Coconut Moon” on Coconut Moon by The Green Chili Jam Band.

Reader’s Theater

Provide copies of the reader’s theater script “Reading to the Rescue” by Barrie Teague Alguire in the Reader’s Theater section of this manual.

Present “Rub-a-Dub Dub, How Did All of Those Guys Get in the Tub?” from Tadpole Tales and Other Totally Terrific Treats for Readers Theatre by Anthony Fredericks available through netLibrary, a TexShare resource. This fractured tale explains how six people managed to take a bath together.

Puppet Plays

Perform “The Fisherman and His Wife” or “Little Frog’s Big Trip” by Barrie Teague Alguire in the puppet plays section of this manual.

Tongue Twisters

When a Jolly Young Fisher


When a jolly young fisher named Fisher

Went fishing for fish in a fissure,

A fish, with a grin,

Pulled the fisherman in.

Now they’re fishing the fissure for Fisher.




  • Wallpaper samples
  • Construction paper
  • White or blue construction paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors


Each child will pick a wallpaper sample and one piece of construction paper. Let the children cut the wallpaper into a triangle for the sail.  Let them cut a boat shape and a long strip for the mast from construction paper using the patterns provided at the end of this chapter. Glue all three pieces to a sheet of the blue or white construction paper.

sailboat craft example

Dimensional Lighthouse

Using directions on The Best Kids Book Site at, let the children make the “Dimensional Lighthouse” craft.

Games and Activities

Boating Knots

Prepare stations to let children practice and learn simple boating knots. Use the book, 40 Knots to Know: Hitches, Loops, Bends and Bindings by Emily Stetson and the Boat Safe Kids web site,, as resources or invite a sailor to lead the program.

Water Balloon Toss

Fill balloons with water and have a water balloon toss in the library parking lot.

Web-Based Activities

Kid’s Water Fun

Play the “Water Trivia” game and other puzzles and activities at this site hosted by the Monroe County (NY) Water Authority.

Guest Speakers

Invite a local Cub Scout leader or sailor to talk about boating safety or boating knots.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

Big Boats Li’l Boats. (29 minutes)

Web Sites

National Safe Boating Council

The National Safe Boating Council promotes safer boating through education and their web site includes information and illustrations on life jackets, anchors, flags, and more in the “Library” section.

Nautical Know How

Play “Boat Safety Tic-Tac-Toe,” learn how to tie knots, get answers to boating trivia questions, and more at this safe boating site.

Professional Resources

40 Knots to Know: Hitches, Loops, Bends and Bindings by Emily Stetson.

Provides step-by-step instructions for tying five basic knots plus a variety of more complex ones, including joining knots, bindings, coils, hitches, lashings, and more.

Books Ahoy

This manual for South Carolina’s reading program includes fingerplays, patterns, games, and more.

The Best Kids Book Site

Hundreds of ideas for simple kids’ crafts are provided at this web site.

Boat Safe Kids

A web site that provides users with  step-by-step instructions for six basic knots.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: October 31, 2018