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Beep beep! Make way for the school bus! That bright yellow bus catches kids’ eyes and imaginations. Today we’re transforming a 64-count box of crayons into a school bus craft that will brighten your desk, inspire your child's creativity, and make coloring even more fun! Plus, you’ll love pairing this activity with one or more books from our Back to School booklist.
This activity also gives young makers a chance to try out different tools. We’ve listed multiple options for how to accomplish different steps. Use the one that suits your child’s skill level best!
here's what we're making
My kids really loved this idea, so what you’ll see in the images here are not “Pinterest perfect” versions but real examples made by real kids--drips, crooked lines and all.
here's what you'll need
let's get started!
1. Take the 4 sleeves of crayons out of your box and set aside.
2. Paint the box yellow. It may take a few coats, depending on your paint. We used CraftSmart Sunlight Yellow acrylic paint.
3. On the front and back of the box, mark 2 dots, each about 1 inch from the side and ½ inch from the bottom. These will be where your axles go.
4. Open the bottom of the box and use a hole punch to punch out a circle at each of the dots you made. Close the bottom of the box again.
5. Alternately, use a handheld electric drill to make the holes for your axles. My kids love a chance to use power tools, and this is an easy project to try it out because the drill can penetrate cardboard at a low speed. Be sure to supervise and guide children around power tools at all times. We started with a very small drill bit (1/16 inch) to make a guide hole through the box at each location. Then we used the ¼ inch drill bit to widen the holes. We placed a piece of craft foam under the box while drilling, just in case we pushed too far too fast.
6. Use scissors to cut four strips of black adhesive back foam or construction paper, each about ½ inch by 4 inches long. Use these to make 2 parallel, horizontal stripes on each side of your bus.
7. Write the name of your school district, your child’s name, or a fun phrase on both sides of the bus, between the black stripes, using a black marker or crayon.
8. Cut out 1 inch by ½ inch rectangles for windows and a 4 inch by ½ inch rectangle for a windshield. You can keep the shapes solid, or cut out the centers, leaving only frames. Affix these shapes to your box, using glue if needed. Alternately, you or your child can draw all these features on the bus with black crayon or marker.
9. Let your kids draw bus details - like a stop sign and happy faces- with crayons. You could also cut faces from magazines and photos or decorate the bus with stickers. The possibilities are endless.
10. Next, cut 2 pieces of ¼ inch dowel, each about 3 inches long, using scissors, X-acto knife, or other tool of your choice. Here’s a fun tip - the easiest & safest tool we’ve found for cutting round objects like dowels is a pet nail trimmer, available at any pet store. Just mark your dowel. Insert through the trimmer. Squeeze the handles. Done.
11. Now push the wooden dowels through the holes in the box.
12. Use a strong craft glue or hot glue to affix a plastic bottle lid wheel to both ends of each axle.
13. Put the crayons back in the box. They will sit a little higher than normal, because of the dowels, but the top should still open and close smoothly.
14. Alternately, store your crayons elsewhere and use the box to hold/transport toys for lots of school bus play time!