We made a car wash today in preschool. This project is something that I intended to do last week during Transportation week, but I I couldn't quite get it all together then. Fortunately, we play with our bikes on the playground almost every day, so there's always a need to keep them clean.
I used two dollar store tablecloths for the streamers. It turned out that the best streamer length for the boxes that I was using was 36", which is one-third of the total length of the tablecloth.
After I folded the tablecloth into thirds, I cut the streamers by aligning all three of my pieces on top of each other and then folding up one edge several times so that I could cut the whole streamer length with one small cut:
Using a paper cutter can be a risky way to cut them, because if you cut too far you will cut the whole length of the tablecloth into single strips (which is not the end of the Plastic Steamer World, but it does make things a bit trickier). However, when I use the paper cutter for this I cut slowly and stop as soon as I feel the blade cut through the thick folds.
When you're done, you should have a long strip of streamers ready to tape on to your box:
My original idea was to use refrigerator boxes for this projects. I envisioned that I would cut out two sides of the box, creating a tall tunnel for the Little People to drive through.
However, I am finding that locating good, extra-large boxes is much harder in general than it used to be. In fact, this problem has turned me into somewhat of a Box Stalker, but that's the story for another day. Fortunately, last week I came across some tall skinny boxes up for grabs at our Teacher Center that I figured would work.
I taped my streamers to one long edge of one box, and both long edges of another (I used clear packing tape for this):
Here is the trial run with a single archway in my living room:
Because of the size of the car wash, I obviously had to assemble it at school. I came with the streamers already taped on, and had the kids help me set it up. I made two archways as shown above for the drive-through part. As you can see, I had to space the side boxes out as far as possible for the various trikes and wagons to fit through. I just used duct tape as well as I could to connect these archways together. I then taped the two boxes on the ground to the arches to give it some stability.
This worked fine, and the Little People loved it. However, when I do it next year, I will definitely work harder to find refrigerator boxes. The stability of those would have been worth it. However, on the other hand, using these multiple boxes makes it a little easier to store. I was able to take the boxes apart to store in our toy shed and promise the kids that we could play Car Wash on Monday, too.
Here are some of the Little People enjoying the "water spray":
dusters that we used when we painted flowers):
Then, to top it all off, I used two tissue boxes and the very last of the streamers to make two car washes for the cars that we play with in our room on the carpet. That way the Car Wash Fun could continue on even after we went inside:
All in all, it was great fun, and something that I think the Little People will enjoy and remember for quite some time.