Let us begin.
Kids like putting things in other things. It’s innate. It makes them happy. It occupies them. It’s even a developmental skill [particularly the dropping and letting go]. And they make some cool toys [like giant singing pigs] to meet this kiddie demand. But for some reason [maybe the singing or maybe the fact that the pig can be used as a weapon] my kids are not fans. So when I found these counting astronauts at the thrift store, I knew they needed a rocket ship to be dropped into.
Counting toys present tons of learning opportunities. Obviously, as the name suggests, you can line them up and count them. You can also sort them by color and use them to practice sequencing. I thought this was a good post on using them [though the cornstarch and water made me cringe a little]. Lucy is a big fan of sorting right now so I give her colored bowls and let her get to work [she takes it very seriously].
When Lucy was a babe I gave her an old half gallon plastic milk jug with duct tape around the cut edges and some clothespins to drop in. She liked it but the jug did not hold up to her toddler ways and it was smashed pretty quickly.
[Is there anything that makes your ovaries flip more than looking at old pictures of your adorable babies?! Let’s be honest.]
Um, right, let’s get back on track. To make our rocket ship I took a half gallon paper milk jug and spray painted it white.
Then I painted the top black with some acrylic paint [to be like the nose of the shuttle]. I taped a line to help me get a straight[ish] line and taped around the hole where the lid screws on to keep paint out of those threads.
I then took a few different kinds of tape that I had around [some painters tape, some thick red flooring tape, and some washi tape] and used them to decorate. I used some scrapbooking letters for the ‘USA’ and black poster board for the windows. I used mod podge to stick everything on and then put two more coats on to seal everything up.
I used duct tape around the door because I knew it was going to be a ‘high traffic area’. It’s one of his favorite parts: opening and closing and opening and closing. He also really likes screwing the lid on and off, which I didn’t realize he’d be able to do so well [yeah fine motor skills!].
So, as you can probably tell, Landon LOVED it! He played with it for about 45 minutes, setting a personal ‘sitting still’ record! For Lucy, I tell her specific colors to put in or say a number of astronauts the shuttle needs for a mission. And it’s holding up so far. Granted, nobody’s stepped on it [yet].
Toys like this are important for me to make for the kids. I want them to know that toys can be created; that they need not be bought or come from a store. They saw all of the steps and saw the whole thing come together, which made it even more fun.