Playground Crate

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What fun! We discovered that our Koala Crate this month had a big emphasis on gross motor skills – something we definitely need more of around here. Of course there were also crafts and learning thrown in. And as always, you can replicate these projects with materials from a craft store.

Before we jumped into those gross motor skills, though, we put together the Balancing Seesaw. I loved that this was a math lesson disguised as playground play, since what is a seesaw really if not a balance scale?

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Travis enjoyed the mechanics of building it, sliding wooden pieces together and securing with foam buttons.

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Next we decorated the provided wooden beads with felt stickers to be little animals (Travis particularly loved the googly eyes).

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The challenge was to put the animals on and observe what made the see-saw lean one way or the other, and if we could balance it. Neat!

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For extra fun, we placed two paper cups on the see-saw’s posts instead. Fill with coins or other items around the house, and again challenge your child to find the balancing point.

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Travis was not very into the second activity, a playground scene Jigsaw Puzzle. Aside from a few crayon scribbles, he left mama to color in the rest.

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But he did later take some time to piece it together.

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The next day we followed the kit’s suggestion and taped a coloring book page to a cereal box; cut into pieces and voila, you have a homemade jigsaw puzzle!

 

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Finally, it was time for the aforementioned gross motor skill fun: an Indoor Playground. This involved using the provided washi tape in orange and blue to set up various obstacle courses or challenges. Of course the washi tape itself was a huge hit.

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Travis was not very into the long jump…

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…but he did some neat moves along the lines I set up on the ground, following the kit’s suggested movements like jump, tip-toe, walk backwards, or dance.

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There was also a miniature inflatable ball to make part of the games; we set up a “maze” with the washi tape and had fun kicking or rolling it through.

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We ran out of washi tape (the rolls aren’t big) by the time we got to the spiderweb suggestion… so plan on having some extra masking tape on hand! Travis absolutely adored this challenge of going over and under the sticky strands…

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and loved ripping off the sticky tape after!

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The Imagine magazine included even more ways to get moving, dancing to the rhythm of your favorite song like you are jumping rope, swinging from monkey bars etc.

As a final project, we put together the suggested DIY jump rope – a simple trick of straws and duct tape! Ideally use nylon cord as the thread, but a piece of twine worked just as well.

First, have your child stand on a length of the cord or twine, so that it stretches armpit to armpit. Here is a slightly-skeptical Travis wondering what we were up to.

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Knot one end, and wrap around the knot with duct tape for the first handle.

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Cut plastic straws into pieces about 2 inches long and thread onto the cord until nearly filled. Knot the other end and secure with a second piece of duct tape. Jump away!

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Overall, I loved the way this crate got us moving. Now it has us even more eager for outdoor spring weather and a big playground to run around on!

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