October 6, 2005

Noah's Ark

Well it is done and so am I! We built a Noah's Ark model in my garage. I am worn out. It was fun. All together we had 12 kids, 4 moms and many boxes. We started with one approach and quickly realized it was not working. So we took another strategy (just stacking closed boxes and taping them) which worked much better. While we were stacking the boxes the kids were painting boxes. One boy taped together nearly all the boxes of the Ark. After they were taped together the kids painted murals on them. Some pretty cool scenes. One had an apple tree and a river. Another had the flood and sun. Still another had trees and animals. There were also many colorful boxes.

In the end, truth be told it looked more like a tall square fort than an ark. But they all had a grand time and enjoyed building it. We built something really big that they could climb in and play inside of. We cut a door through a box for them all to climb through. The kids problem solved how to make a door and banana boxes served as natural windows. My kids felt like we built an ark with friends which is what counts - not whether it turned into anything that resembled an ark.

It was cold but the garage protected us from most of the wind. The size of our garage also controlled the shape and size of the ark we could build. All in all it was fun, though at times chaotic. I am so thankful I had other parents there, I could never have done this myself! Everyone worked together and we got a lot accomplished. Thank you!

If you decide to do this yourself - you can it was fun! Pick warm weather (it is too cold here already). Have a nice open space you don't mind paint getting on. Use tempera paint in a variety of colors - it washes up easily. Make sure the kids wear junky clothes. Have several adults on hand. Try to get many similar sized boxes - the banana boxes (free and easily available at grocery stores) worked really well. So did long flat screen TV boxes. Be organized ahead of time (I wasn't) so you can keep the kids interested and involved without lull. Paint after you tape together as much as possible as you get cool murals. Build a base and then stack boxes around until it is high enough to feel like you are inside - in general we were around four boxes high in most places. Ours was more square but you can control the shape yourself.

We made a snack and let the kids come inside and play while we prepared it, allowing the ark time to dry. After playtime and snacktime the ark was mostly (not completely) dry and the kids could get inside and play. I liked having a lot of kids here. We could have done it just the four of us but it was more fun together, even with all the extra chaos it brings. Truthfully we made it bigger too because we had more people and that makes it more fun as well.

My kids played in the ark until it was dinnertime, wanted to go back before bed and can't wait to get back inside tomorrow. Who knows how long we will keep it up - Minnesota cold weather is coming soon. For most people they think we have cold weather now (we will reach a low of 34 tonight) - yet I know what is to come so this still feels nice.

So consider building yourself a Noah's Ark sometime - it is fun!


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