Transportation Crate

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We had a great time discovering our latest Koala Crate when it arrived in the mail this week! This month’s theme was billed as “transportation,” although the focus is largely on cars and trucks. I wouldn’t have minded an airplane- or train-themed craft to diversify the kit, but that is a minor quibble, because the materials provided were quite novel this month.

The first thing Travis spotted were the road signs, which meant they had to be assembled straight away (we used foam stickers to attach the sign templates to small wooden cubes). He loved making toy cars and buses stop at the traffic light and stop sign.

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To add to the imaginative play, the crate comes with a roll of washi tape for making a whole town on your floor! This activity is one we’ve done with masking tape in the past, but now we had road signs to add to the complexity of our “town.”

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This is a great chance to talk with toddlers and preschoolers about basic road rules and safety, and ask them about what each sign means. I also added a dashed line down some of our “roads” to teach Travis about two-way traffic.

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And at the end, Travis loved ripping all the washi tape off the floor and making a big pile with it because, well, #two-nager.

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The next item in the crate was a beautifully-crafted wooden truck. We ran the truck’s wheels in water in the pan provided and then across the “magic paper” to make tire tracks!

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If you don’t have a Koala subscription, you can copy this activity with black paint and drive toy cars through. We had fun discovering the different tracks that various cars made, some skinny, some fat.

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Travis also marveled at how he could touch the black watery marks left by the cars, but not get black on his finger. An element of magic is always a plus.

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Then it was time to pull out the provided paintbrush and paint black roads, which made for messy fun driving cars through blobs of black paint.

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Finally, we tested the third activity: A cardboard ramp. The varying slope of the ramp is a nice way to show how velocity varies as roads get steeper. Although the lesson was a little advanced for Travis, there’s nothing wrong with a game of rolling trucks and cars down a ramp!

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To finish, I assembled car and truck puppets on popsicle sticks for Travis by cutting shapes from construction paper, taping them together, and then taping on a popsicle stick “person” to look through the windshield.

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Travis loved driving these around for a moment… before deciding it might be more fun to rip them up, because again #two-nager.

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Thanks for the fun, Koala!

Indoor Obstacle Course

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Stuck inside on a rainy day? Look no further than an obstacle course for almost endless variations of fun.

Today I set up a course that combined gross and fine motor skills, making various “stations” at which Travis could stop.

Gross motor challenges included walking across construction cones, a masking tape “balance beam”, stepping on pillows, climbing a pillow ramp, crawling through a blanket tunnel, and jumping into a hula hoop.

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Fine motor activities were his favorite part of the course! We used a piece of rolled up newspaper as a “golf club” to hit golf balls into a tunnel.

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Then I set a straw upright in a blob of playdough for Travis to slide rings over.

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Arguably his favorite part of the whole event was when I pulled out the timer to make the course more of a race. He loved pressing the buttons and learning how the timer works!

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All in all, a nice way to make a dreary morning a little less so.