Random ramblings and TV-inspired activities

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pretend telephone - homage to Chuggington's Vee

Chu-ggington, chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga... I have been caught humming the theme tune in the supermarket, 'tis true. Thomas the Tank Engine it aint, and though I never thought I'd say it, I actually prefer it. (Thomas was never the same after Ringo stopped voicing it, the miserable toad.)

We usually catch Chuggington's Badge Quest of an evening, which is a seemingly unending series of tasks that the "Chuggers" have to complete. (And by "chugger" I don't mean a "charity mugger", that's just what trains are called in this. Why can't they call a train a train? Don't get me started, or I'll be bringing Waybuloo into it again in no time.)

Although I am sure I've seen many (many!) Badge Quests, the badge-boards never seem to have more than 5 badges on them. What happens to the rest of them? These are the things I wonder about in quiet moments. (It makes a change from worrying about the Euro or whatever. I like wrestling with the big issues, me.) The 'quests' are a random range of things from "recycling" to "follow the leader". Badge Quests yet to feature include "leaf removal", "rush hour" and "dealing with customers outraged by extortionate price hikes".

Funnily enough, I've never seen anyone buy tickets in Chuggington, yet this week's Cbeebies magazine does have a ticket-conductor set on its front. If you hurry you can still get one, the next issue's out on Wednesday so you've got til then. ToddlerGirl was amused for five minutes or so but by far the best bit is the "Stop/Go" paddle that you flip to tell the trains to stop or go. Crazy, I know! It's been like living in an MC Hammer video this week. ("Stop! Hammertime"!) I'm well trained in the stopping and going now. Now if ToddlerGirl would just return the favour in the potty training area, we'd be laughing...

Anyway, here we have a "Vee" of sorts. Vee is the disembodied voice that
tells the Chuggers what to do. Orwellian? Maybe. My take on it is a new spin on the tried and tested yoghurt-pot telephone.

2 jelly pots
1 dessert pot (Milky Bar in this case).
1 kitchen roll inner
Some blue paper
Some plain paper and felt tips
Some string

Cover the jelly pots in blue paper (or paint, if you have some that sticks to plastic.)
Sandwich some blue-tak between the two pots by way of cushioning as you drive a screwdriver carefully through the bottom of first one jelly pot and then the other. (Be gentle or it will crack!)
Using the same method, put TWO holes in the dessert pot.
Cover the kitchen roll tube in blue paper.
Use the screwdriver to carefully put a hole in each side of the kitchen
Knot a length of string and thread it through one jelly pot, through one of the kitchen roll tube holes, then up out of the top of the kitchen roll. Now thread the string up and down through the dessert pot, and back into the kitchen roll and out the other side. Knot string and other end.
Pull the string up in the dessert pot to draw strings tight and pull 'Vee' together.
Draw the train sign and colour it in before sticking it on the front of the kitchen roll.
Draw Vee's lights and stick them on the dessert pot.

You can then pull the jelly pots out and talk/listen into each end as appropriate. Of course, once we had Vee, ToddlerGirl then sensibly pointed out we needed Chuggers - so watch this space.

The likeness to Vee could be better with more effort, but it passed the time on a wet morning. Obviously the string is a strangling hazard so as ever, be careful. (Those eagle of eye will notice we used balloon ribbon and not string. Our string is currently AWOL. If you see it, give it some stern words and send it home!)


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