Santa’s Sleigh Automaton

Santas Sleigh (5)

I originally purchased this special holiday crate from Kiwi Co thinking it would be fun to put together with Travis. It turns out that it was so complicated even mommy had trouble with it! But we now have a very cool decoration to last until the holiday is over.

The sleigh works as an automaton, a machine that is pushed into motion, and the instruction booklet included neat STEM learning about other examples of automatons (think jack-in-the-boxes or vending machines), and also a detailed explanation at the end about how you’ve built a “cam”. Here’s a rough outline of what we did:

First we made a frame, slotting together the provided wooden pieces and foam stickers to help hold them in place.

Santas Sleigh (2)

We then needed to build the crank part of our cam by attaching wooden circles to a crank in the proper order.

Next up was the part of the cam that would go up and down. This required fitting plastic rods into the wood stand, securing them onto a paper square at the base, and adding a paper straw and foam donut to hold them in place. Here is where the machine seemed a bit faulty, with the paper squares not staying firmly on the wheels of the crank. Hmmm…

But we forged on, adding the felt reindeer, Santa and sleigh (quite tiny!) to each of the plastic rods. Secure them all with the provided string for a leash.

Santas Sleigh (4)

There is a decorated backdrop with felt houses and trees to attach. Now Santa’s sleigh and team are ready to fly!

Santas Sleigh (3)

Travis does indeed enjoy turning the crank, so there is holiday magic (and science!) to be had in the final product.


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