Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Octo Alert!

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)
Silver foil
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)


  1. My son T likes Octonauts even though he is now 5.5yrs, there are also books available as well x

  2. I think good children's programmes can be such a blessing. I resisted Teletubbies mightily and then realised that my young daughter made her own world from the characters - just as you've done. Good for you! I hope you have lots of fun with that.

  3. I don't let my little boy watch TV very much, but I do monitor what he is allowed to watch. I love Octonauts! I remember seeing the books (before the tv program) when I worked in a book shop and thought that it looked a bit naff, but I really like it, and so does Louie!

    They are just so cute!

  4. I love your octopod, Henry would love it too, he's quite keen on the Octonauts xx

  5. We do have a TV, but we try and steer away from 'new' children's programming. Maybe its because I love vintage things? But we are having a run of Noddy and Scooby Doo, and I am loving it. I do make an exception with Pingu. I kind of like the fact there are no words and its up to the child to work out the silliness. Octo-whatsits somehow ended up on the screen the other week and Oscar dint show any interest at all. Why would he, my DVD collect has such wonders as, Button Moon, The Flumps, Camberwick Green, Bagpuss, Chorlton And The Wheelies, Mr Ben and The Mister Men to name but a few lol.
    A good project though, it would be easy to adapt to other things.

  6. no limitations on telly here (ahem) - hardcore unschool (lol) -- and they are marvelously discriminate in what they watch....all of the programs i would "approve" of -- if we rolled that way. ;)

    i remember my sister volunteering to help the kids make a dragon that was delightfully crafted on a secondary video that went along with the Sleeping Beauty DVD...oh, it looked SO easy.

    i believe she was in tears by the end and the bloody dragon self-destructed.

    still -- the simple stuff is always the most fun...


  7. He he, great octopod. Imogen liked this when it first came on tv but doesn't watch it anymore. She does still play a game of octonauts in the playground that her and her friends made up.

    Have fun x

  8. Gosh, I hope I didn't make anyone feel they had to justify not having a TV! There were 2 in the old house, but we haven't got round to installing one here - and tbh no one has missed it, and you can catch up with things on iplayer or 4od if you want.
    Val - O may be a bit wee yet. The octos seem to really hit the 4+ age group (and mamas too - lol)
    Every child has their own likes - J never took to Pingu, but my oler ones did.
    In fact this porject reminded me of my own favourite - Blue peter (in the John, peter and Val days of course.)

  9. www.yourhappyfeet.co.ukJune 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Hi Jackie, Just caught up with your last 2 posts. I love the photos, a sort of snapshot of daily life, the good bits! The photo of the sea is beautiful.

    We didn't have TV for some 10 years when the children were growing up. The only "miss", was at school when they were supposed to have watched something for a lesson. Your efforts of Sunday morning look great, and I guess James must have really enjoyed the craft session.

  10. Ahhh, John Craven's Newsround, Blue Peter with above mentioned cast, and maybe after that Willow The Wisp or Rhubarb and Custard, oh and mince and tatties for tea lol.

  11. i too liked Blue Peter. i am impressed with your arts and crafts skills and think you are wonderful to spend time making things with your son.

  12. My hat is off to you, I don't think I could have done so well. Love the tomato (pin cushion?) in there!
    If you wanted, you could consider this a working model....

    Cheers Jacqui!

  13. wow- what a cool project!! You are such a fun mom!

  14. Wow, that is an amazing Octopod (not that I really know what an octopod is!).
    I bet he really enjoyed making that with you.
    Some children's shows are just awful aren't they, but octonauts sounds good to me, sea, heros, helping, rescuing - great stuff!x

  15. My little ones like Octonauts too!! What a brillinat Octopod you've made and how lovely to have had so much play mileage out of it! xxxxx

  16. I have never heard of the Octonaunts. I do have a television with Directv which allows me to get BBC. There are times in the middle of the night when the wee one can't sleep that we watch shows. Being that she is almost three she might like this one. If nothing else, we can make the cute little toys to play.

  17. Thnak you Eilean for popping by...thanks too for the info . Oneday this little village will be visited by me for sure. You have a great blog..

    Warm regards

  18. My little boy is a big octonauts fan too. I wonder if the magazine is still out. We've picked up some great info from watching the show. My favourite is the episode about the Galapagos islands!!!

  19. The Octonauts have not caught on here either, although I have seen it once or twice so know that your Octopod is pretty good ;-)
    O (newly 6)is loving the old Ben 10 (not the new teenage version) and is amassing a collection of Ben 10 related things, despite never having seen it on tv! H (almost 2) on the other hand adores the Wiggles and watches them on youtube all day if possible, no idea how we discovered them. C (4 like James) loves Kerwhizz but gets quite disgruntled when "his" team doesn't win. Well that was a bit too much info when all I wanted to do was admire your Blue Peter like skills :)


  20. I've never heard of the Octonauts but I really like your octonpod. The kids must be playing with it constantly. I love these craft sort of days. It's just wonderul. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  21. Hi Valarie and Tracey _ don't think it has reached the US yet seems to be only in France and the UK. Good wholesome fun though.
    Becks - James like Kerwhizz too - how annoying is it though?
    4K - I liked the humunumanuka's (I think) If I see the magazine around, I am happy to pop it in the post, if you are having trouble finding it.
    Hi Suzanne - thanks for the visit. I hope you get there. x
    Thanks Pippa.x
    Trish - thank you too. x
    Ren - yes it was fun - most of it anyway. x
    Meggs - amazingly it is still in one piece. The tomato was an inportant part of the game no suprise given the boy's love of tomatoes.x
    JTS Thank you - there was a lot of emergency sticking going on, but James didn't mind.
    Val - Yes - yes - and Angel Delight for pud. x
    Marilyn - thanks for your lovely comment and email. I don't want to dash off a quick reply, so i am saving it for when i can concentrate. xx
    THanks again to everyone.

  22. Oh this is brilliant. Oakley is rather obsessed with the octonauts, will have to pop out later to see if I can get the magazine for him-would make his day!

    Much love to you all.

    N x

  23. Hey we have the homemade octopod too. Reu picked up the comic the other day and then we had to go back for the right sized tubs, but I was well impressed too! Its still played with, although Captain Barnacles and Peso have to sleep under Reu's pillow!

  24. OMG Jacqui my Bella is Octonauts mad! She spends many a day playing being Kwazi (her favourite) We must find the mag as she will love the figures and as for the Octopod........she will LOVE it :)

  25. We found the mag, and I agree that as far as these merchandise things go, it's not bad, it's quite crafty :)

  26. |Glad you got it Lesley - I tried to get hold of one for Uma, but there were none to be found. I guess an army of octopods might be floating around in The Minch by now. xx
    Michell - the wee figures are never far away from james either - he loves Barnacles and Peso most of all too.
    Uma - I am going to Ness this week, so i will keep an eye out. xx

  27. Those mags are selling on ebay for £15 now !!!!

  28. Thank you - I was specifically searching for what brand was round yoghurt pots, so that we could make the octopod as it's all my six year old wants to do today as he got the comic last night!
    He has even turned down a trip to diggerland in favour of the octopod - clear signs of addiction as we never do theme parks and diggerlad is his once a year special treat. Thanks for the really useful post!

  29. Hello there. That was so nice of you to take the time to comment - thank you. I hope your Octopod worked out ok. Ours is still getting played with. The figures get taken everywhere - they were at the beach today. I think I would certainly prefer to make a hundred octopods than go to a theme park!


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