On Tuesdays we have a friend come over to play. Bug's mom and I switch childcare time - on Tuesdays I watch Bug for 4 hours and on Fridays she watches Monster and Tank for 4 hours. I highly recommend finding someone to do this with. It's been a lifesaver and it's FREE!
Bug is only 6 months older than Tank and they play very well together. Sometimes Monster plays well with them, but sometimes she wants to spend time playing by herself. I didn't have anything planned for them today, and Monster got bored quickly. She wanted to watch TV, but I don't allow her to watch TV while we have friends over. Then she wanted to play with all the boxes we've been getting in the mail, since I bought most of my Christmas presents online this year. (Another lifesaver for a SAHM of two - I don't have to worry about finding time away from the girls to get them the perfect Christmas gifts.) Monster specifically asked to make cars, and luckily I'm adept at following online instructions, which I found here.
Box Car Materials:
* Larger box
* Packing tape
* Box cutter
* Paper plates
First, I got out the boxes. Luckily, I had three relatively big ones. Of course, the kids had to play in them before we did anything else.
That's Bug in the box in the front. Monster's hiding in the box in back.
Build the Box Car
1. Tape the boxes up really well. I've decided there's no such thing as too much tape in this case.
2. Using the box cutters, cut a semi-circle at the back end of either side of the box. These will be the doors. If you want doors that open and shut, don't cut it all the way through. It'll be able to swing open (but you'll probably need to reinforce it with tape). Make sure you cut the pieces all the way off - I didn't do it at this step and had to do it later. It's easier here!
3. Cut from the back of the car to 2/3 the way (or a little less) towards the front to make up the seat part. Do NOT cut the part off the middle, though. (Here's Tank checking out the first car after I did this step.)
4. Fold the piece you just cut on top of itself and tape tape tape! This will become the windshield.
5. Cut out the window for the windshield. Make the edges thick so it doesn't break very easily. Then tape it in place.
6. Using paper plates (or circles you've cut out yourself), glue on the tires. Finally, a part the kids can help with!
7. We also taped on paper plates for a steering wheel, but they ripped off the first time the kids tried to turn them. (Tank, since she's the smallest kiddo, go the smallest car. It was a bit too small.)
8. Monster spent some time coloring her car and gluing extra pieces of paper on it so it would have com devices and lots of buttons. (She's been watching lots of Lunar Jim lately.)
I had to let go of my perfectionism and the kids had to practice patience while I made it. Then I had to let go of my creations so they could play with them - and ruin them. One of the first things Bug did was rip off all the glued-on parts. And Tank squished one of the cars pretty quickly too. But they had fun!
After we were done, the living room was trashed. Cars are everywhere, broken into pieces, upside down, and on their sides. Here's a photo - after a couple more hours of playing with three kids. I've decided to post at least one "real life" photo of my house every week. I'm sick of mom sites pretending they can play with the kids, teach them (even home school them), cook the meals, and keep the house clean all at once. It's not possible. (Notice you never see photos of the moms themselves. Maybe they don't shower or do their hair or even get dressed...)
Have fun with your cars! It's a lot of work, but it's so much fun once they're done. Right now Monster has hers on its end, sitting inside it (apparently it's a cradle... and a boat... and she's using it to build a fort with a blanket too).