Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fire Trucks for Tots

Again, revealing how behind I am, we took the opportunity during the time of my little guy's birthday (LATE FEBRUARY!) to put a little more focus and effort into an interest-based unit for him...fire trucks!  

Here are my little firefighters in the favorite feature from our time...the box fire truck!  Somehow, much to my surprise, as I actually write this a few MONTHS later, it is still sitting in our living room with only a few minor casualties and still a favorite.  More on making it later in the post.

I put together a little fire sensory bin with a base of tissue paper and some other red, yellow, and orange things tossed in there.  I also included two sets of magnetic letters for the word "fire."

Ezekiel enjoyed the bin a lot this week!

You can also see some cards from the fireman pack from Homeschool Creations in the background.

Of course, big brother got in on the action as well.  He had been dreading his "word work" lately, and while he was playing with this bin, I decided to dump some more letters into the bin and have him search for the letters to form the words he was supposed to make for his lesson.  He got really into it and even made up a song--"Savin' Letters...from the fire...that's our job!"

We did a dot marker fire truck and some fire truck counting (using the clip art from Royal Baloo's pack and a road we already had printed out).  We also used a few other activities like the cutting from her great Zoomin' Movin' Alphabet Letter F pack.

We had a really big box that our electric piano had come in, and those are a rare treasure here, so I had been saving it for a fun project, and I really wanted to try to make it into a fire truck for Ezekiel's birthday.  I found two posts about people who made cardboard fire trucks here and here.  I adapted them, based on what we had around.  I was glad for the idea to hot glue the edges of the box together to stand up.  I used our piano box and one other box, cutting a window out of the other box and hot gluing it to the front part of the piano box.  Buying enough red paint to paint it didn't seem feasible here, so I bought some of the big sheets of handmade red paper that is common here and glued that around the outside.  We attached a few styrofoam packing pieces that my son painted on the top to make the "flashing" lights, and I painted a few things around the outside (ladders, buttons and knobs, headlights, and a "badge").  
I hot glued a few random bits and bobs (plastic bottle caps, a styrofoam plate, some random plastic gear-looking thing we had saved) on the inside for the controls.
I have been absolutely shocked how well this has held up, even a few months later, as it attracts the attention of every kid that comes in our house and has been a continued hit!

For our co-op group that Friday, I was with the little ones and took a few of our books and printables about fire trucks, and we also made this fire truck craft, but I decided to give it some texture and use some varied materials, so I cut the wheels and pieces free-hand from colored paper, and then I used a shiny yellow paper for the lights, wax paper for the windows, foil for the front grill, cut up drinking straws to form the ladder, and pipe cleaners to roll up for the hoses.  The kids had a good time with it, but I think it was just a bit above a few of them, though they seemed to still enjoy it; it just required quite a bit of help. And, I should have taken some stronger glue for the straws and pipe cleaners, as they kept rolling around.  Here are a few of the finished ones.
Zeke's was a little more "abstract," but he still seemed quite pleased with the project! :)

Another big highlight of our week was a visit to the fire station.  As I combed through posts about activities for a fire truck or firefighter theme, almost all of them gave the obvious suggestion of a visit to the fire station.  Well, when you live in a foreign country and aren't really sure how any of that works, it seemed a little daunting.  But, we had seen it before, so we decided to just show up and see what we could see!  You would never do that in the States!  But, it is kind of the way things more commonly operate here, in general, so we gave it a try.  Success!  We walked up and saw that the gates were just sort of opened.  We hung around for a few minutes, peeking in, and at one point, a young guy just walked past us through the gate, and we asked if we could go in, and he nodded and walked on.  So, in we went! :)
No one seemed to mind our being there.  There was a group of guys all circled around in the courtyward, playing a common game that kind of looks like carrom.  They just continued on with playing, so we just wandered around, looking at things.  
A couple of guys were washing one of the trucks, so we watched that for a bit.

My Nepali language skills are sadly limited, but finally, I got up the courage to ask if the boys could go inside the truck that they were washing, and they were glad to let them. 
We continued our roaming and checked out the various trucks there.

There were definitely some distinctly different sights, especially given that we've only been inside a station in the U.S. when it is a special "open house" day or some special event where things are specially set up and cleared for kids to visit.  
I wish my Nepali was good enough to translate this for you, but it gives a little taste of what the script looks like for some lists and schedules here.
I was a little tentative to poke our way into all the rooms, but here is the cooking area, which is an open set of shelves with metal pots and most likely a single burner attached to a gas cylinder.  The room on the right is the sleeping quarters.  The big wooden pallets are the beds.

Here is one of the trucks that was parked in the station, which I'm going to assume isn't one that would be taken out much these days. :)

The boys thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and it felt like some sort of brave adventure we had undertaken to just go on in and explore the station ourselves!  

It was a great week, culminating in the birthday celebrations for my little man!  Happy Birthday (you know, a few months late!) to my Zeke!

Linking up this week with the Tot School Gathering Place from 1+1+1=1.

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