This time, our aspiring astronauts and I worked together to make a homemade jet pack.
Our jet pack is more of a costume accessory than a toy, but you should see the way it transformed our littlest astronaut’s play!
I heavily involved my 4 year old in the construction of our jet pack, from the spray paint to the hot glue, to picking out colours and presenting it to our little astronaut. If you’re not comfortable giving your child access to these materials, this is a quick craft you can make yourself, but I really love the confidence that trusting children with real materials can bring. I do ensure that I’m giving them tools they are mature and capable enough to handle.
Materials to Make a Homemade Jet Pack
- 2 empty & clean 1-L soda bottles
- Spray paint (or a paint that is specifically labeled “for plastic”)
- Hot glue & hot glue gun
- Tissue paper
- 3 feet of 1″ wide ribbon, approximately
We actually had to buy pop to make this craft! We used it to make some Mountain Dew cupcakes for my brother, but we probably could have asked for someone to save us a couple. Do what works for you!
(Although, if you’ve never had Coca-Cola cake before, that would be well worth the $1 purchase!)
First, we spray painted the bottles completely silver and let them dry.
Ella wore a small mask, the kind you wear if you have a cough and are visiting a hospital, and we did this outside. Again, if you’re not comfortable you can do this step yourself.
Once the silver spray paint had dried, we taped off the bottom of the soda bottles (where there was a natural indentation already) and spray painted them gold! We allowed the paint to fully dry before removing the tape.
We probably could have layered a different type of paint over top of the spray paint, since the plastic was covered, but we had silver and gold on hand and liked the effect that gave.
Next, we warmed up the cool touch hot glue gun and securely glued the bottles together, side by side.
We cut up some orange and red tissue paper into “flames” and Ella added some glue just inside the openings of both bottles. However, I insisted on putting the tissue paper in just because the paper is so thin, I didn’t want to risk Ella getting a burn.
Next, we measured our little astronaut with the ribbon to determine how big to make the arm holes and the harness for the jet pack. We secured the two arm loops first with glue, and then added two strips right across the bottles for some added strength.
Ella was so excited to present this homemade toy to our little astronaut and he loved zooming around the backyard – off to the moon!
The jet pack has so far lasted daily use for two weeks, about half an hour to an hour each time. It’s not being handled roughly, but the straps are being pulled on before the children run around, the whole jet pack bouncing along with them on their space adventures.
Overall, I’d say this was a very successful homemade toy or costume accessory, and a wonderful experience for Ella in creating and giving something special to one of her friends.
What do you think? Would you let your child use spray paint and a hot glue gun to make their own jet pack, or one for a friend?