Ocean Crate

Koala ocean

I was a tad dismayed when I saw we’d received the Ocean crate from Koala Crate this month, only because we just finished up an ocean-themed set from Little Passports and I didn’t want Travis to have Ocean fatigue. I needn’t have worried however, because we opened it up and immediately spotted a spray bottle inside. Say no more, Travis was hooked! It was quite clever of Koala to make use of water as a component of two out of three projects, in this crate about a watery world.

First up was making watercolor fish. The fish shapes were pre-cut on filter paper, but you could also try this at home by tracing a fish shape onto coffee filters and then cutting out. We colored our fish with the provided markers; a little trial and error showed that the more filled in the fish is, the better this craft works.

Koala Ocean (1)

Travis scribbled, and I included a few fish with polka dots and stripes.

Koala Ocean (2)

Then comes the real fun: Place your fish on a paper towel, and spritz away!

Koala Ocean (5)

The marker colors will bleed together for a pretty result. Incidentally, we loved the gorgeous marker effect left behind on the paper towels, too:

Koala Ocean (4)

The moment we laid our paper fish on a final piece of paper towel to dry, Travis asked politely, “Can I go spritz the bathroom tile?” Permission granted! I was really pleased with Koala Crate for having included an item that sparked Travis’s joy and entertainment beyond the craft itself. We also appreciated that the markers will last us for quite some time.

Koala Ocean (6)

When I could momentarily capture his attention again, we finished our watercolor fish with googly eyes.

Koala Ocean (13)

He was almost incredulous when I said there was another project in the crate involving the spritz bottle. This was a foam puzzle that featured 6 animal shapes to pop out, which then fit back together in an intricate design.

Koala Ocean (7)

I thought he’d be so excited for the spritzing part that he’d poo-poo the puzzle, but he took pride in following along on the provided diagram and fitting the shapes together.

Koala Ocean (8)

(For older kids, consider not looking at the diagram, for an extra challenge!).

Then we raced to the bathroom for the real fun and spritzed all of the foam pieces. Neat, they stick!

Koala Ocean (12)

He had so much fun spritzing them that I simply placed a towel underneath to catch all the water and let him enjoy. Even the foam frame sticks – target practice!

Koala Ocean (10)

There was neat science behind this, too, as he needed to understand that water droplets were required if he wanted the foam to adhere to the tile. I couldn’t resist catching the moment on video:

If you can tear your child away from the tub, you can also take those foam pieces and trace them onto additional pieces of filter paper (provided in the crate), to make more watercolor sea creatures.

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At this point Travis was so into the spritzing that our paper got soggy and tore apart in an instant. Ah well!

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The final game was to use our watercolor fish and go “fishing.” I’m still not quite sure yet how I feel about childhood fishing games, but since Travis hasn’t really understood the concept yet, for now we play… The kit came with a glue dropper that was just right for little hands, and blue cardstock to glue the fish onto (I guess intended to depict water). After gluing our fish to both sides of the blue cards and gluing together our fishing rod, we took turns trying to hook the fish cards.

Koala Ocean (14)

Even without the added challenge of a string between rod and hook, Travis found it tough. We really have yet to find a fishing game with a mechanism that’s fun, instead of frustrating.

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For an additional craft, we tried out the kit’s suggestion of a Sock-topus – a D.I.Y. octopus made from an old sock!

socktopus (4)

I didn’t have any proper roving or stuffing in the house, but we pulled cotton balls apart until they were slightly separated and that worked just fine.

socktopus (1)

Secure the head with an elastic band, then cut the bottom of the sock until you have eight tentacles.

Somehow we ended up with a miscounted sept-opus, which Travis thought was just about the funniest thing ever.

socktopus (3)

Glue on goggly eyes as the final touch.

socktopus (5)

Thanks for the watery fun, Koala Crate!

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