Friday, May 24, 2013

DIY Train Pencil Case

We love watching Mister Maker.  He has some great ideas for using common household items to make beautiful works of art.  Ok, so maybe they're not worthy of having their own showing at MoMA,  but for a 3 year old, they're pretty amazing.  As soon as my 3 year old heard the word "train", he was glued.  And I knew it was going to be our next project.

You will need:

1.  An empty can of potato crisps with a plastic lid
2.  Any variety of empty boxes (we used boxes left over from tea bags, Panadol, and granola)
3.  Wheels (we used the wheels off a broken toy car, which turned out to be really cool, because the train actually rolls, but you can use anything that resembles wheels)
4.  Paint and paintbrushes
5.  Black marker
6.  1 plastic sports bottle lid, and 1 regular water bottle or juice bottle lid

First you will need to glue everything together.  The tricky part is finding boxes that are the same length and width as eachother.  Luckily, this is a preschool project, so we're not too picky about how perfect things are.  The idea is to get your child working with his hands and creating things for himself.  We glued the granola box  (which we had to cut to size) to the side of the potato crisp can lengthwise.  Then we glued the tea box to the bottom, and the Panadol box on top of that to create the "cab" where the conductor sits.

After the glue dries, you will need to paint the train.  This is the fun part for the kids.  I took them into the shower stall, along with their little plastic table, the train and the paint, and I let them at it.  They went nuts! They had total creative freedom without me having to worry about where I was going to be finding paint for the next month.  Even when you're careful, 2 toddlers and a whole bunch of paint can end up disastrous.  With everything confined to the shower, I just turned it on when they were done, and rinsed them and the table off right then and there!

After you've cleaned everyone up and the paint is nice and dry, you will need to take a black magic marker and draw on the details, such as the windows and the little screws and anything else that might make your train look more like a train.  Also, glue on the water bottle lids to make the parts of the train which I honestly don't know the names of, but you get the idea.  This is when we put on the wheels from the broken car.  They were still on the axle, so we just pushed them through the cardboard.  If you are gluing them on, you'll have to do that before you paint, and if you are drawing them on, then you can do that during this step.  And there you have it!  A DIY train pencil case.  It could also be a money bank, crayon holder, or a place to put their little matchbox cars.  The possibilities are endless!

**If you're feeling especially ambitious, have a look at this completely recycled train I found online when I was (unsuccessfully by way of laziness) searching for the names of train parts.  It totally dwarfs my feeble attempt at a recycled train, but it's so cool, I had to include it in this post!!

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