Today the children and I set about making a junk model car, following our reading of a new book called The Great Ape Escape by Fiona Manlove & Pascal Biet (Ragged Bears).
The book itself is a story all about a team of monkeys who are intent on escaping the safari park they’re in. I usually shy away from anything about zoos and the such as we don’t visit them. However Mr D and Miss E are a bit older now and so we can start to have those discussions with them where I can explain why we don’t visit zoos or safari parks.
The children both thought this book was hilarious, and laughed at various stages throughout the book – the funniest line for them is ‘don’t be ratty, batty’ which sends them (inexplicably) into fits of hysterics each time we have read it.
Mr D is monkey mad so we decided we would make our own getaway car for his Monkey (and Miss E’s Lion). I had been saving a few bits and pieces across the weekend that I knew would come in handy for something or another and we put it all to good use.
Our junk model car is below, complete with engine, exhaust, steering wheel and number plate. The children have loved making this car and have played with it none stop – recreating the Great Ape Escape story. The story has really captured their imagination and I can see we might do some small world play based on this at some stage soon.
Our ‘junk’ included bottle tops for the wheels, cardboard tube for the exhaust, a box that had held glasses, plastic tray, a cork and various bits of paper etc to decorate it.
I’ve shared some other activity ideas for this book:
- Talk about why the monkeys might be escaping – a good way to introduce the idea of animals in captivity and an early introduction to morals and ethics
- Try to identify the landmarks on the monkey’s pictures on the last couple of pages – can the children find these cities / countries on a map?
- Using a picture of a monkey and some old magazines, cut out clothes to disguise the monkeys with (this twinkl resource might work well for the monkey)
- Experiment with different materials and ‘junk’ and make other vehicles for the monkeys (or your child’s favourite teddy)