The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

Building with Kids
by Shawn Keena

I have 3 kids that are water rats. Anything that relates to water they will do. My oldest boy is 12, the middle boy is 10, and my daughter the youngest is 8. My oldest boy is in Boy Scouts and is very big into doing things hands on. Well one thing lead to another and we were going to make a boat that the oldest could use on the near by lake during the summer to earn some scout badges.

After looking on line at a few sites I found a boat on your site that looked promising, it was the Bumble Bee built by Les Brown. I contacted you about how to get the plans and you sent me the plans and directed me to the mouse yahoo group. After some questions in the group and studying the plans it was time to build. We decided to build this boat over Christmas break. (Little advice to adults building a boat with a child, do it when they can use the boat. I paid for it dearly, my son wanted me to go melt the ice so he could try the boat.)

Between the questions to the yahoo group, and the clear plans the build went very quickly. Took us just a couple days of casual building and we were to the painting stage. Because it was the first boat I was building I didnt want to put the front and back decks on until I found out if the boat had no leaks. Spring came soon enough and we got a very nice day to try out the boat. My boy didn't trust his building techniques and after a short discussion about firewood he was coaxed into trying the boat out. To his defense the water was a bit chilly. After a bit of testing for proper seating and making sure the boat didnt leak he didnt want to get out of the boat.

The thrill for him and I was all the questions from others that were by the channel we launched from. Everyone wanted to know where he had gotten it. When they found out we had built it everyone wanted to know how, when, how long, where, what we used. My son was so proud!! He is the talk of his class at school since the word got back to school. Now little brother and sister want one. Everytime the tools start up in the garage kids and people from the neighborhood show up to see what we are building now.

If anyone has the chance to build a boat with a child, do it! Where it makes you happy to see them happy, it gives the child a sense of accomplishment that they dont get in school today.( at least by us). The Boy Scouts have talked to us about a weekend build with the boys, I hope it becaomes a reality.

Now Logan wants to learn to sail. I was thinking a PDracer(Bolger brick). I am still talking the wife into a shanty type lounge boat. Logan doesnt care as long as we get started soon.

Thanks for the plans!

Shawn Keena