Despite not having a television here, James has still been very inspired by The Octonauts - a BBC TV children's show about a group of animal heroes who live under the sea in their Octopod, and help the various sea creatures they come across. And that is absolutely fine. I quite like it too, if I am honest. (We sometimes watch it on iplayer) , and I have actually learned a few facts about undersea life that I didn't know. True to form, the marketing side of the BBC published an Octonauts special magazine, which was on sale in the Co-op last week. The free plastic figures of Captain Barnacles, Peso, Kwazi and Daschi were too much of a temptation for a 4 year old boy, so it somehow found it's way into the trolley. As these things go, it was quite a good comic, and the best bit was the instructions on how to make your very own Octopod. So we did this early on Sunday morning, and it took hours, and miles of sticky tape, but our mission was accomplished in the end. In case you fancy having a go, we present our Octopod tutorial - with pictures.
Gather your materials (all the best art/ craft blogs say that - I find rummaging around madly as i go along seems be my default style. )
1 large plastic bowl (what an excuse to eat shop bought trifle!)
4 smaller round plastic yoghurt pots (I couldn't find these in a brand I would buy, but I did come across some oval shaped ones by Yeo Valley instead)
Orange tissue paper, or paint
Card (to make 4 thin tubes from)
toilet roll for base
sticky tape - lots
Let's make it!
Cover the plastic pots and bowls with tissue paper (or paint orange)
Make 4 thin tubes from the card and cover with foil
Attach the yogurt pots to one end of each carboard tube. (lots of tape here)
Not attach the other end of the tube evenly round the large bowl. You will note ours is not even, as you can only see 3 legs - honestly there are 4)
Cut round another larger tube, as in the picture (we used an empty toilet roll here ) and cover with silver foil (not easy)
Attach to bottom of the bowl .
The comic had a page of scenes to cut out and stick to the octopod, as I have shown, but in all honestly they don't add much. Maybe cut out an orange door shape and stick it on.
Then carry carefully to the play area and enjoy watching the action. Pretty soon all the octonauts and various other co-opted figures were deep in the Indian ocean fighting off the invading tomato fish. Some additions were built - a lego staircase for the octos to get out, and each one was allocated their own boat. (or GUPs as they are technically known ) The action very soon moved to Stornoway, on the other side of the room, with play carrots being involved.
All in all it was a big hit. James played with it for a long time, and has played with it several times since. Different scenarios - rescuing the teddies, finding lost mummies, taking hurt animals to hospital - exploring, rescuing and protecting as the Octonauts do. Wonderful stuff.
*I would say it is a very fragile construction, but that may be down to my skills with the scissors and glue. So far,though, he is being careful if he wants to move it around. We found the the toilet roll stand didn't work very well, after a bit of play, so we cut of the end of a milk carton and covered that in foil. The bowl sits in it nicely, and once I have bought some more (stronger) sticky tape, it will be attached.
The yoghurt pod legs do need to be resting on the ground to give it some stability.
Octonauts at ease - until the next adventure!
(Captain Barnacles Bear)