I stayed up late last night spray painting milk cartons for our preschool project today. It seemed like a fun and simple idea: make cars from milk cartons. I’d seen something similar on Curious George, so I figured it couldn’t be that difficult. It was in fact more difficult than I anticipated as my prototype didn’t work nearly as well as I thought it would, and I had to go through several models before arriving at a workable solution.
But when it came time for preschool, I was ready. As usual, things don’t always go as planned, but I learned (or relearned) a few things in the process.
- Projects take a long time to plan but are executed quickly. I hoped that building and playing with the cars would take close to an hour and a half, even two hours. 30 minutes into preschool, the cars were ready, and 10 minutes later we had our first of several axels break.
- A two-hour preschool time should probably be broken up into shorter activity segments. Little kids just have short attention spans. Had my project taken longer (like I originally hoped) they might not have been able to handle it. If I decide to do a longer project in the future, I’ll need to keep in mind that kids need a change of pace every 30 minutes or so.
- Babies and preschool don’t mix very well. Our baby of one year and four months wanted to participate but demanded a lot of attention. Toward the end, he just followed me around crying while I repaired axels. Even Nascar pit crews don’t have to work under those kind of conditions.
- Kids don’t have my expectations. I was hoping our cars would work a little better, but our kids didn’t mind. They didn’t have any expectations, so they were very happy with the little cars they built.
Bubblefish with the prototype. No spray paint and no front wheels.