Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recycled School Bus Craft

{Milk Jug School Bus by Mia, Age 4}
I am a bit behind in posting this project idea. We actually did it earlier this month shortly after school had started. Anyway, it is still good to share. The best feature is the real working wheels (which is an idea I found here)! My only disclaimer is that your kids will sing many rounds of "The Wheels on the Bus" while making this craft. I thought it was fun that Mia spontaneously burst into song, but if that's a deal-breaker for you, feel free to stop reading. One other important thing to note is that this craft requires a lot of adult preparation. The kids really just decorated their bus projects.
{OJ Carton Bus by Logan, Age 2}
  • newspaper (to protect work surface)
  • 1/2 gallon milk jug (or OJ carton)
  • yellow paint (or yellow paper)
  • paint brush
  • wooden skewers
  • four-five plastic bottle caps
  • two plastic drinking straws
  • scissors
  • tape
  • glue (optional)
  • white labels/stickers (or construction paper)
  • push pin (optional)
  1. Lay down newspaper to protect your work surface. Then paint your milk jug yellow. (Note: We also tried painting our OJ carton, and I don't recommend this. It didn't cover the writing very well, even with a second coat. If using an OJ carton, I would advise covering it with yellow construction paper.) Allow paint to dry.
  2. While paint dries, make your axles. First, poke a hole in the center of each lid. I started my hole with a push pin and then widened it with the pointed end of the skewer. (The writer of the original tutorial says to use a box cutter, but I thought why not try something safer and see if it works? It did.) Next, cut your straws so they are slightly wider than your jug or carton. Stick the skewer into one lid (I made the pointed part point inward), slide the straw on top, trim your skewer with scissors (I was cutting off the sharp end), and then push the skewer into your second bottle cap. (The writer of the original tutorial suggests that you can add a small amount of glue to hold the caps on. I didn't do this, but in retrospect, I think it would have helped.) Repeat these steps to make a second set of wheels. If using glue, make sure it dries completely.
  3. Tape both sets of wheels to the bottom of your jug or carton.
  4. Decorate you bus as desired. Mia and Logan added blank white labels for windows. Some of them I had trimmed down. Mia decorated with markers. Ours aren't very fancy, but you could get really complex with windshield wipers, door, stop sign, writing on the sides, people in the windows, a driver, etc.
  5. Enjoy playing with your bus with real working wheels! (And then, if you're like me, quickly stick them on top of your 'fridge and forget about them because your 2 year old played so roughly that the wheels kept popping off and your were worried he would poke himself in the eye... But really, enjoy! The milk jug handle makes a nice way to push the bus around.)

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