If you’re anything like me you’re a kleptomaniac. Everything you see has some kind of potential as a piece of art or craft. I collect all kinds of junk much to my husband’s disgust. “But dear, that will make the most beautiful wheels for our bus” or “Oh wow, think of the things I could do with this!” I know, it’s sad to see someone get so excited about used Styrofoam, plastic lids or wrapping paper. It’s a good thing I do though, as these materials quite often come in handy.
We wanted to make some London buses as part of our study into the Olympics. We needed 20 boxes to make them and we were sorely lacking so I do what I always do. I wander into the storeroom and see what we have and what looks like it has “London Bus” potential. I find this technique is a lot easier than try to ask for things to be brought in. We usually do get them brought in but its often way too late to be of any real use. I stumble upon these very long Styrofoam blocks that we have saved from packaging. There’s 5 of these as well as 5 shorter blocks. We cut the long ones into 3 and shape the other blocks to the same size. Perfect!
We paint the blocks red and then we add some precut black circles for wheels and a couple of black rectangles for windows on the side. We put a white rectangle on the front and some of us even add some windscreen wipers, a must for the English weather! I’d like a few to hang around for a while so we can use them in the block corner but I think the temptation to take them home will be too much for some.
There was also a lot of teamwork happening on another table while we made our buses. Earlier in the week we’d used an overhead projector to project a world map onto white paper. We drew a rough outline and then let the children colour it in. We explained which bits were water and which were land.
There was a lot of discussion going on about where to colour the blue and where to colour the other colours. We talked about where Australia was and someone asked where Harvey was. I showed them on the map and how far away it was from London. We talked about how you’d either have to take a boat or fly on an aeroplane there as Australia is surrounded by water. Incidental teaching at it’s best!
In the afternoon when I was hanging the flags we’d made earlier I decided they looked a bit boring. I asked a few children if they wanted to make some bunting with me. We found some maths tape in the storeroom and some red, white and blue origami paper. I told them I’d like to make a pattern with red, white and blue. It didn’t take them long to figure out which colour went next. I had three girls helping me and they soon formulated a plan that pretty much looked like a production line. The girsl took a colour each and while I glued the strip they placed the colours in order, guiding each other if they forgot their turn. Not only did we get some maths patterning in there but we also made our display just that little bit nicer.