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Recycled Raingutter Regatta

The Recycled Raingutter Regatta is a creative and fun activity for kids that combines learning with play. It teaches them the importance of recycling and caring for the environment. By using materials that would otherwise be thrown away, children learn how to make new things and understand the value of reusing resources.

This activity is a hit at Vacation Bible School, especially for older kids. Students can make boats from items like empty juice boxes and cereal boxes. Then they race their boats in rain-gutters filled with water.

The Recycled Raingutter Regatta not only brings joy and excitement but also helps children see the importance of taking care of God's creation. It is a great way to involve young people in environmental conservation through a hands-on project. This activity is perfect for VBS, schools, camps, and any group looking to teach kids about science, nature, and faith.

Purpose and Benefits

The Recycled Raingutter Regatta serves a dual purpose: it is both educational and entertaining. This activity is designed to fit seamlessly into programs like Vacation Bible School, environmental camps, or any youth group event. It offers a practical demonstration of recycling and conservation principles in a format that children can enjoy and understand. This would also be a good tie in with Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment: Laudato Si'.

By engaging in the Recycled Raingutter Regatta, children learn the importance of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They start to see how everyday items that are often discarded can have a second life. This awareness is critical in helping them understand their role in taking care of the planet. Moreover, the activity fosters teamwork and creativity, as students work together to build boats that are both functional and unique.

The benefits of the Recycled Raingutter Regatta extend beyond environmental education. It is particularly effective for themes that involve water, pirates, or exploration. This makes it a versatile choice for many youth programs looking to incorporate a fun, educational, and thematic activity into their curriculum.

Recycled Raingutter Regatta Instructions


  • Materials for the boats:
    • Plastic water bottles
    • Cereal boxes
    • Paper
    • Empty chip bags
    • Juice boxes
    • Let them use their imaginations
  • Tape (One for each team)
  • Scissors (One for each team)
  • Clay (in case some of the boats will need ballast to keep from flipping over)
  • Two long rain-gutters (get from hardware store)


  1. Group the students into teams of two or three people each.
  2. Lay out the rain-gutters and fill them with water.
  3. Explain they are building boats.  Show them the materials and explain that they are building boats to race in the rain-gutters. Don't give them too many instructions. Let them discover how to do this on their own.
  4. Explain they can use wind power to propel the boats, but they may not touch them while racing.
  5. Give them some time to work on their boats.
  6. Let them practice in the rain-gutters and refine their designs.
  7. After a set amount of time (30 to 45 minutes), let them race their boats.

Educational Aspect

The Recycled Raingutter Regatta is more than just a fun activity; it is a valuable educational experience for children. Through this activity, they learn first-hand about the importance of recycling and the impact of waste on the environment. By using items destined for the trash or recycle bin to build their boats, children see how materials can be repurposed rather than discarded.

During the activity, children also learn the principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. They start to understand how reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling items help protect the earth. This hands-on experience reinforces the lesson that everyone has a part to play in environmental stewardship. It teaches them practical ways to implement these principles in their daily lives.

After the Recycled Raingutter Regatta, there is also an opportunity for further learning. Children sort through the materials used, deciding what can be recycled and what must be thrown away. This sorting process helps them understand the lifecycle of products and the importance of making thoughtful disposal decisions. This not only reinforces the lessons learned during the regatta but also emphasizes the ongoing nature of environmental responsibility.


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More Youth Ministry Activities

For those looking for more engaging activities for youth ministry, this page offers a variety of creative ideas beyond the Recycled Raingutter Regatta. See activities that encourage teamwork, deepen faith, and foster community among young people. Whether you are planning a retreat, a camp, or weekly youth group meetings, you'll find activities that are not only fun but also enrich the spiritual life of participants.

Laudato Si'

Laudato Si' is an encyclical by Pope Francis that focuses on the need to care for our planet. It calls on everyone to protect the earth, which is a gift from God. The Recycled Raingutter Regatta is a fun and engaging way to teach youth about the ideas in Laudato Si'. By building boats from recycled materials, children learn about the importance of recycling and taking action to preserve the environment. This activity can help inspire them to live out the teachings of the encyclical in their daily lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are needed for the Recycled Raingutter Regatta?

You need recyclable materials like plastic water bottles, cereal boxes, and juice boxes. Also, you will need tape, scissors, clay for ballast, and two long rain-gutters.

Where can I get rain-gutters for the regatta?

You can buy rain-gutters at any hardware store. Make sure they are clean before using them for the activity.

How do teams race their boats?

Teams race their boats by blowing on them to move them down the water-filled rain-gutters. They cannot touch the boats during the race.

Can this activity be done indoors?

Yes, you can set up the rain-gutters indoors as long as you have a space that can handle water without causing damage.

How long does the activity take?

The activity typically takes about 1 hour. This includes building the boats and racing them.

Is the Recycled Raingutter Regatta suitable for all ages?

This activity is best for children in middle school and older, but with some help, younger children can also enjoy it.

What do we do with the materials after the regatta?

After the activity, sort through the materials to decide what can be recycled and what goes in the trash. This helps reinforce the lesson of recycling.


In conclusion, the Recycled Raingutter Regatta offers numerous benefits that extend beyond a day of fun. It instills important values in children, teaching them about environmental conservation through practical and engaging activities. This activity encourages them to think creatively about recycling and how they can contribute to a healthier planet.

Moreover, the Recycled Raingutter Regatta is an excellent tool for educators and leaders in faith-based communities to connect faith with the care for creation, as emphasized in Catholic teachings and Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si. It provides a tangible way for children to see how their actions can reflect their faith and respect for God’s creation.

By incorporating the Recycled Raingutter Regatta into youth programs, educators can provide a fun, educational experience that has lasting impact. It is a memorable way to teach children the importance of environmental stewardship and how they can make a difference in the world. We encourage groups looking to foster an appreciation for the environment and creativity among youth to consider this activity.

Your Turn

We encourage you to try the Recycled Raingutter Regatta in your next youth group activity or educational program. It's a great way to teach kids about recycling, teamwork, and creativity. This activity is not only fun but also instills important values that align with caring for God’s creation.

If you decide to try this activity, please share your experiences and any modifications you made in the comments. Your advice could help others improve the activity and make it even more enjoyable and educational for all participants.

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