Sunday, November 10, 2013

Great Kids Digger Costume Project

We had book week at my daughters kinder a while ago.  

And we had just been going through a mad Pippy Longstocking phase.  Lucky for us.  Super easy.  

My daughter was really keen to go as Pippy, and I planned to dress her little brother as Mr Nilsson, the monkey.  For those of you who don't recall he wears shorts and a hat.  Did I mention super easy?  

Until the 3 year old decided to have an opinion.  

"I want to go as this" he said, shoving his favourite book at me.  

Dig, Dig, Digging.  RIght.  

"Well, are you sure you don't want to go as Mr Nilsson?" I urged, "You know we won't be there all that long." 

"No I want to go as a digger."  Adamant.  A digger?  

"What about a construction worker?"  Suddenly Mr Nilsson was off the table as I hurtled towards the prospect of having to design a costume that was way beyond my very limited crafting capabilities.

No go.  He didn't want to go as a monkey or a construction worker, he wanted to go as a big red digger.  Alrighty then.

You know how it is, you want to make all your kids dreams come true.  You never want to say "Mummy can't do that"  or "That's too hard"  or  "Actually I'd rather have a bath/read a book/take a nap/ drink some wine."  So big, red digger it was.

I didn't really know where to start.  But fortunately for me there is this awesome thing called the internet.  I asked and I did receive.  

Unfortunately for me the people who populate Pinterest are way more crafty, talented and handy than I.  

Or maybe they just have more time, taste and money.  Whatever.  

I wasn't going to spend $100 at the craft store and a whole weekend drawing up plans for a big red digger costume for a kid that isn't even in the class.  I want to make all his dreams come true, sure.  But I do have my limits.

Also I have this theory about craft (and baking) projects that if the kids can't actually get stuck in and help, then it's not worth doing.  What's the point of a project if I have to spend the whole time saying "No, don't touch that, get out of the way, put down the scissors/hot glue gun/drill"?  

Yes, I have realised that this means lowering my standards regarding the outcome of said projects.  I know longer aim to create dainty French inspired biscuits and intricately decorated birthday cakes.  Instead I aim to make interesting looking art and tasty treats that the kids can actually be proud of and have a good time making too.

So with all that in mind I had a good look around the internets, marvelled at the ingenuity of some of parents out there, and finally adapted a bunch of much more complicated and ambitious projects to this:

He thought it was totally awesome - like "Can I wear it to bed?" kind of awesome.  It was not only a huge hit at the kinder book week (which, can I remind you he was not actually attending) but he has also used it heaps around the house.  As you do.

This is what you'll need:

One large box (a nappy box was the perfect size for our 3 year old)
Two smaller boxes (we used wine boxes - no shortage of those at our place, ahem)
Two strips of wide elastic to size 
4 sheets of Construction Paper
One large roll Red wrapping paper
Stanley Knife (Box Cutter)
Clag glue (for sticking paper to boxes)
PVA (for sticking boxes to each other)
Stapler & Staples
Heavy duty (packing) Tape

It looks like a lot when written in a list like that, but the only things we had to buy was the wrapping paper and the elastic both of which we picked up cheap at the local discount store.  Everything else we already had around the house and you can adapt and do the same.

And here is what you do:

Take to two smaller boxes and cut off one set of flaps.  Then cut a curve out of the top and sides and some "teeth" out of the bottom.  These will become your diggers scoops.

Take the larger box and tape down the flaps to the inside of the box so that it no longer has a top or a bottom (your child can step into/ through it).  Taping the flaps provides extra strength and support, so don't cut them off.

With the PVA stick the two smaller boxes to either end of the larger box.  Press these ends together with something heavy (we used books) and leave it overnight to adhere.  I promise you, getting the kids to leave the thing alone was the hardest part of this project.

In the morning, once the scoops are secured to the body of the digger it's time to have some fun.  Set the kids up with a heap of glue and a bunch of red wrapping paper and let them glue it all on in little torn pieces until the whole thing is covered.  My kids absolutely LOVED doing this.

Let it dry.

While it's drying you can make the caterpillar tracks out of construction paper to be glued on later, and measure and cut the elastic ready to go.  With the elastic we found it worked much better (and it looked good too) to cross it over the chest, rather than just resting on the shoulders, where it tended to slide off.

Once the red wrapping paper is dry the kids can glue a caterpillar track to each side and then it's time for Mum or Dad to staple the elastic straps in place, placing some more tape over any rough points of the staples.

Add a construction workers hat to finish the outfit if you have one.

Done.  Enjoy.

Do you have any awesome and easy craft projects to share?

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Images by One Small Life