“We all live in a yellow submarine!” It’s a fun song to sing, and this project is great for pre-school kids, using recycled materials and very little adult intervention.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Aisha shows off her yellow submarine.

This is an easy craft that takes only a minimal amount of preparation/shopping. Unless you’re like us and discover you don’t have any soft drink bottles. And since the only person who drinks soft drink in this house is David, Aisha pestered him for a week to finish up his “yucky water” (tonic water) so we could make our submarines.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
You'll need to compile a shopping list.

The full list of materials is as follows:

  • - cellophane, cut into strips
  • - a bendy straw or bit of plastic piping (I used an old plastic clothes hanger, broken into the right size)
  • - string or wool
  • - glitter
  • - stickers
  • - plastic knives
  • - a plastic bottle
  • - a plastic or paper cup
  • - clear tape for fixing
  • - coloured tape for decoration.

The only preparation needed is to strip the labels from the plastic bottles and to cut the cellophane into strips. I used wrapping paper instead of cellophane which worked, but the paper turned soggy in the bottle (because water is added later), so definitely I should have looked more carefully before I purchased my roll! (I was more intent on choosing a colour than double-checking what I was actually buying…)

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Assemble your materials.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Stuff strips of the cellophane into the bottles.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Add a generous quantity of glitter.

A funnel would have been helpful in getting more glitter inside the bottle rather than outside. (Also, keep the glitter away from any 2yos who are hanging around.)

Take your plastic or paper cup, and cut semi-circles from the lip. This allows the cup to be taped onto the bottle more securely. Don’t worry too much about getting the curves perfect — a rushed job works fine.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
After you've cut semicircles in the lip of the cup, tape it onto the bottle to make the turret.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Wind yellow string around the turret.

Tape the ends of the string onto the turret to hold it in place. Depending on how much string/wool you want to use, you could also wrap the string around the length of the bottle to give it more colour.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Tape the ends of two plastic knives onto the back of the submarine to form the propeller.

I think it was at this point that Brioni realised what she was making and asked for the Yellow Submarine song to be put on. We like to listen to this version by Canadian singer Raffi Cavoukian.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
A straw or curved bit of piping becomes the periscope.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
By this point, the 2yo has lost interest in the craft and is using her [de-turreted] submarine as a balancing beam.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Decorate your sub with stripes of yellow tape and fish stickers.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Add water to the submarine to make the glitter slosh around and also to make it submersible in the bathtub.

Yellow submarines craft, July 2010
Two submarines ready to browse the deep ocean.

Mummycraft factor: 2. I intervened very little in this craft. I cut up the cellophane into strips in preparation, and I cut the tape into lengths for use. I also helped tape the cup onto the bottle and the ends of the string onto the cups. (The Mummycraft factor tells you how much of the craft the mummy ends up doing. 10 is full-on-Mummy-does-the-craft and 0 is walk-away-and-come-back-to-a-finished-craft.)

We followed this activity by reading a book on submarines and watching some real and remote-controlled submarines on Youtube. The girls took their subs with them into the bath and they’ve been playing with them inside and out. So far, they’ve lasted a couple days. Good value for a home-made craft!

(This article was shared as part of a Show and Tell link-up.)