raft racing on lake

Raft Building

raft racing icon

Raft Building for schools

Raft building is one of the most popular outdoor adventure activities on offer at Cumulus Outdoors. Many students tell us that it was the highlight of their residential school trip and we get great feedback from teachers too! Not only is it great fun, but it encourages team work, creative thinking and a healthy competitive spirit. It is suitable for primary and secondary age students and can form part of a bespoke programme of activities at our residential centre or tented villages.


  • Fun-filled water-based adventure activity
  • Scenic lakeside location in the heart of the Dorset countryside
  • Promotes team work, leadership and creative thinking

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  • Falling from the raft on the lake
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Raft racing

At the start of the session students will be split into teams and given a range of materials including barrels, rope and wooden poles. They will then have time to design and build a raft before launching it into the water to see if it floats! During the construction phase each of the teams will need to work together to decide upon a plan of action. They’ll have to work strategically to ensure they finish in the allotted time period and craft a pontoon that is structurally sound.

Once in the water, teams will compete in a series of races and challenges to see who will emerge victorious and be crowned champions of the lake! There will be plenty of fun and laughter as the groups put their raft to the test and learn how to stay balanced and steer!

group building a raft

Learning outcomes

Raft building can help teach students a number of important life skills that can be drawn upon throughout the remainder of their school career. During our sessions we try to achieve a number of learning outcomes, including improving communication, organisation and encouraging creative thinking.

  • Communication

    Communication is key in our raft building sessions. Students will need to communicate with others to explain their build ideas and assign roles to other group members. In the water paddlers will need to work together to control the raft to ensure they are travelling in the right direction. It’s essential that everyone’s actions are contributing towards the end goal.

  • Creative thinking

    Constructing a raft requires resourcefulness and creative thinking. Students will need to assess the materials they have available and think about the various ways they can be used. They’ll have to problem solve and quickly find solutions to overcome any problems that may arise.

  • Planning & organisation

    As the saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ and our raft building sessions often put this to the test. Students will need to imagine the finished result from the onset and decide upon the best way to work together to achieve this end. This includes effective communication, managing people, time and resources carefully to ensure the construction goes to plan.

Get in touch

Start planning your bespoke school residential trip itinerary today!

Contact us on 01929 422480

Raft Building FAQs

Where can I find your raft building certificates?

If you would like to see all our raft building information, including risk assessments, policies, emergency procedures, insurance and affiliation certification, please ask. You will be sent a link to our website with a password to access and download as much as you need.

Are you insured for raft building?

Yes, we are insured for raft building and we have £10 million public liability insurance. We are accredited by: Institute of Out­door Learning, National Coasteering Charter, Adventure Activities Licensing Service, DofE Approved Activity Provider and Learning Outside the Classroom.

Do students need to be able to swim for raft building?

Yes, they need to be able to swim 25m to participate in a raft building session. Don’t forgot, this is with a wetsuit and buoyancy aid on which provides a huge amount of buoyancy. We basically are requiring them to be confident in the water and be able to move forward.

What happens if there is bad weather before raft building?

Rarely is the weather bad enough to cancel a raft building session. However, if we feel we need to cancel or change the session, we will be in touch at least 2 days prior to the activity. We will always do our best to deliver the activities as per the agreed programme

What if my child doesn’t want to do raft building?

During the raft building session we challenge the students to participate voluntarily, to push their comfort zone and test themselves. We operate a ‘challenge by choice ethos’, which allows the students to choose the level they are comfortable with.

What is the instructor to participant ratio for raft building?

The instructor to participant ratio for raft building is 1:12.

What kit do students need to bring raft building?

A spare pair of clothes that may get wet (ideally something quick drying – please no jeans or tracksuits) and trainers suitable for the water. Please no flip flops, thin wetsuit shoes or crocs! Don’t forget a rucksack for your clothes, snacks, something to drink and any personal medication. We will supply a wetsuit and buoyancy aid.

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