Jamaica Unit Study: Juice Box Truck

Years ago, many children in Jamaica didn’t have toys like we had today, they relied on their imagination and creativity for playtime. By doing this, they came up with many creative toys, games, learning coordination skills, teamwork and social interaction. Juices often came in strong, square/rectangle boxes which were once very popular and children found all sorts of uses for them. The empty boxes were fashioned into a truck with bottle caps as makeshift wheels. The finish product was pulled around in the yard.

For our indigenous toy this month, we decided to make a juice box truck. I thought it was a perfect activity because it combined the concept of upcycling/reusing as well as studying how children play(ed) in Jamaica.

First we had to drink the juice. My little ones rarely get juice outside of special occasions, so they thought this was fabulous!

Good until the last drop!

The size of your finished product will depend on the size of the boxes you use. Since we were using small boxes, our truck turned out smaller.

I only had blue duck tape, so the car got some additional pop of color!

First cut the tops of the boxes off so they are square/rectangle.

We then taped them together to form the trailer of our truck.

We used three boxes for this part.

We next cut and reshaped another box for the tracker part.

We next poked holes in the sides for the wheels with an awl tool on both the truck and trailer. I did this myself, and my daughter used a screwdriver to make them bigger (so the wheels would roll better).

Next we inserted bamboo skewers through the parts.

Next we assembled our wheels/bottlecaps.

I save random junk like this (my poor husband) for activities just like this, so we had plenty to choose from.

I next drilled holes through each bottlecap so that they could be connected to the skewers. I’m not sure how the Jamaicans originally did this, but we found our own way, lol.

I added a little wind-flap for our truck to make it even more realistic.

We added the wheels and I hot-glued them into place.

I then cut off the ends of the skewers to make it looks nice.

Lastly I added a string to the front for pulling and a small stick on the tractor (and a hole in the trailer) so that they were connected and would turn easier.

TADA!

My daughters played with it for a good long while, pulling it down our sidewalk and around the yard. It turned out to be rather sturdy too!

What fun to junk-model and relieve the previous’ generation of creative play!

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