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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tap Tap Bang Bang - Introduction to tools for kids

Emma Garcia’s ‘Tap Tap Bang Bang’ was an instant hit with my son when we got it from the library. He loves playing with pretend as well as real tools like many other 3 year olds. This book has introduction to various building tools and their sounds. It feels like you are in a workshop hearing all the tools at work when you read it aloud.
I loved it because I always am looking for things to make, that will develop his hands on skills. What better than activities that lead to mastering the use of tools that can be used to build lot many more things?

We did some individual activities like using a measuring tape. Although he does not understand units yet, he enjoyed using a grown-up’s tool. Learning the concept of measuring things so that they are the same size or that the size corresponds to numbers was quite a lot of fun. Next was a level tool. I wasn’t really sure if he understood the idea behind it until he noticed the level on his car seat and sort of explained how that worked. Kids sure can astonish us.

Hammering has been a beloved activity in our household for some time now. We started with hammering golf tees into a Styrofoam block using a plastic hammer when he was little under two and a half (many of you might want to just stop this adventure right at this stage and that’s perfectly ok). We then graduated to a real light-weight hammer to do activities like leaf imprints etc. You can find few of these activities on my Pinterest board.

While reading ‘Tap Tap Bang Bang’, I finally let him hammer small nails in a wood block. If you wish to try this remember to use soft wood, and get them started by hammering the nail yourself first. If they don’t have to hold the nail while hammering, the chances of them injuring themselves are way less. Also, keep reminding them not to bend their head much and sit straight so they can avoid accidentally swinging the hammer into their face. These safety tips become even more important if your child is as young as mine. 

At the end of the book, they build a Go-Kart using all the tools. After reading the book a few times, he now wanted to build a Go-kart of his own. I remembered the image of a Go-Kart from a magazine I was flipping through at a Doctor’s office.  It was made from the tube of a paper towel roll and it gave us an idea to make our own.

All we needed was:

1 paper towel tube
4 same sized bottle caps (I used 3 milk gallon caps and one juice bottle cap)
1 Bamboo skewer
Paint brush and paint (we used Tempera)
Any figurine as the driver (I used one of his Lego Duplo figurine)

I like setting up his painting table on a tarp and also tape some newspaper on the table top for easy clean up. We usually save Styrofoam/paper trays used to package vegetables in grocery stores. Those can be covered with foil to pour our paint into, so you can just trash the foil and be done cleaning!

Since 3 of our bottle caps were red, I tried to convince him to paint the tube in a different color. As you can see, that didn’t convince him much. After the paper towel tube was dry, we cut a flap in the back and I helped him cut a square to let the driver sit. We poked from the side with a sharp skewer. Then cut the skewer in 2 pieces and used it as axels for the wheels. We used a hammer to make holes in the bottle caps.

Wondering why the wheels on our go-kart are so crooked? Well, my son had this bright idea of making it look like the go – kart was making a crazy turn! I am just going to use this as an opportunity to develop his problem solving skills. Surely that thing is not going to move well and we will have to work our way to solve that problem J

Do you have any favorite activity to use tools with kids?