Colourful Junk Model Raft Race

Posted on August 17th, 2019

Raft racing isn’t a new concept to us on the farm. It has been a popular activity hour for years. Typically we run a junk modelling version around Easter and a Nature Raft Race in August. Having missed the Easter slot this year with other Easter crafts, I wanted to resurrect the activity. With 15 children signed up, and a terrible forecast of rain, it felt like the right week.

Colourful Junk Model Raft Race

I spent the week collecting and washing up all the bottles from the Coombe Mill recycling centres and added to this a pile of sticky tape from the £1 shop.

Recycling

Junk Model Raft Building in the Games Room 

Having set the bottles and tape up in the games room the children all crowded round to start building and creating. Before long the games room was a hive of creative chatter as bottles clinked and tape ripped.

Junk Model raft building

A splash of colour.

When the basic models had been created the children brought them outside to add paint. I had filled a collection of empty cleaning spray bottles with a watered down paint mix. These were perfect for squirting the inside of the clear bottles to bring colour without mess. The children could still hold the outside and with the lids replaced the river wouldn’t wash the colour away.

spray painting bottles

A little technical help

I gave a few tips on buoyancy and the need to weight rafts. The children graped this at once and braved the rain in search of sand and gravel to weight their rafts, and a few decorative bits for effect.

collecting nature for raft race

Ready to Race

Finally we set off for our launch bridge. Despite the pouring rain the children stood for a photo with their rafts of the steps

Ready for a colourful junk model raft race

Then they all lined up waiting for “Ready steady Go” before dropping them into the water.

Launching colourful junk model rafts for a race

The rain after weeks of dry was just what was needed to give the rafts a bit of speed in the water. I had Guy waiting to wade downstream after them and ensure none were grounded or caught up in the banks along the way.

Raft Race in progress

 

Everyone’s a Winner

Farmer Nick was on hand with fishing nets to catch the rafts and declare the winners for me. I had certificates ready laminated not just for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race but also for team work, best technical raft and most creative. This ensured a good spread of success for all. 

finishing line on colourful junk model raft race

It was certainly a soggy affair, but everyone enjoyed our junk model raft race and it was a wonderful way to enjoy a little outdoor fun on a wet afternoon.

Tips for creating your own Junk Model Raft Race

Save up all your plastic bottles including the lids.
Keep back a few empty spray bottles for the paint. Water the paint 50 /50 with water so it sprays through the bottle. Use clear bottles like window cleaner so the colour is obvious. 
The pound shops do some great £1 coloured sticky tape that is easy to share out a roll per team.
A great activity on a local river but make sure you have a safe place for wading or nets to catch the rafts.
Medals or certificates for aspects other than winning, like team work and creativity, reward different skill sets.
Be vigalent at all times around water and never race after a storm or when the river is running to fast to safely enter.
Identification DIY flags or nature are a fun way to decorate the rafts.
Remember the heaviest side will end up face down so weight your raft wisely to float upright. We used sand and gravel.

 

Our fun Colourful Junk Model Raft Race

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