Wednesday, April 18, 2012

123 at the ZOO... join me for a TRAIN RIDE!!!

Today I present a project inspired by a story (like we often do) before I begin I have to tell you something... halfway through this project Snoopy (my 6 year old son) turned to me mid paint stroke and said "Wait a minute Mom!  This isn't for fun, this is for your blog isn't it???"  It was very accusatory.  I tried to convince him that it was for fun and it was going up on the blog too... but mostly just for fun.  He didn't believe me.  So here goes...

Below you see Miss Kitten, she's reading a book on her train ride.  (today you get finished product before you get process)
 The book she was reading?  1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle.  A wordless (not numberless) picture book.  I have a paperback copy but fyi you can get it in board book too.  This book is FANTASTIC!  Each page features a train car carrying a zoo animal (1 animal first, then 2, then 3... you get it).  A mouse is hidden in every page- the illustrations?  Amazing!  We ALL (6yr old, 4yr old, 2yr old & me) love it.

 Now for the process:  Lucky for us we were recently given a LOT of second hand clothes in a whole bunch of old apple boxes.  I cut bars out of the sides using a serrated knife, then we went to town painting.  We mixed colors to get orange, green & violet.  (I think the paint turned out very Eric Carlish indeed.)  We used tempera paints, large brushes, rollers- the works (my boys have been begging to use big rollers since I painted their room).  It didn't take long for the boxes to dry.  After that the boys lined them up in rainbow order.
 I used a bit of rope to connect the train cars and then boy oh boy did the kids have fun figuring out which animals would ride in which cars (and how many kinds of animals we had of each type).  We stuck with the pattern in the book- the first car held 1, second car held 2- all the way down the train.
 After that the play REALLY began (because the train was only the means to GETTING to the Zoo of course) which they created elaborately, then hosted Zoo tours and later 'sold' Zoo animals to anyone who was interested.
 The next day after the Zoo was all closed up the train was still in play.

I'm always AMAZED by the wonderful things people create with cardboard boxes.  This shows you that you don't have to be a great cardboard box engineer (cause I'm not one) to make something fun with your kids.  This was SUPER easy and created lots of imaginative/learning play.  When the fun wears out the train gets recycled- perfect!

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PS thanks for the inspiration Eric Carle :)

This post is linked up to TinkerlabstART and Kids Co-op

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