A raft for the Billy Goats

My theme for the next few weeks is Fairy Tales and Traditional Tales, starting with raft building to help the Billy Goats over the bridge. First we read the story and then talked about what materials might work best for a raft. We decided they should float and be strong enough to take the weight of a toy goat. You could split this activity into several stages.

  • Design your rafts – which materials do you think will work best?
  • Build your rafts – do you need to change your design?
  • Test your rafts to see if they sink or float.
  • Can your raft support the weight of your goat?

Billy Goat Gruff Raft


Lolly sticks

Kitchen sponge


Glue/Double sided tape


Kitchen roll

Toy Goat, we used our Playmobil Animals.


Build and test your rafts, to make it a fair test you should use the same toy goat and if possible the same sized rafts.


We didn’t expect our paper or kitchen sponge rafts to work, but tested them anyway.  Surprisingly the paper raft did float for a very short amount of time.

paper raft


The kitchen sponge raft floated, but wasn’t big enough to hold the weight of the goat.

Both lolly stick rafts floated, but the cork one was the most stable.

Billy Goat Gruff Raft



Extension Activities

Can you make a table to record your results? Can you try to predict which will sink and which will float before testing?

Use a straw to blow the boats across a calm surface of water, what happens when you blow gently and then with more force? Does the boat move faster if you blow the air close to the boat or far away?

Can you use the straw to create waves across the water?

making and testing rafts

Suitable for Early Learning Goal 16

Exploring and using media and materials

They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Key Stage 1 

Everyday Materials

Uses of Everyday Materials

Working Scientifically

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