Wednesday 4 January 2012

I can't believe we made an oil rig

An oil rig - whatever next?! It was completely unexpected and I'm still laughing that we pulled it off. Cakey the Queen of Questions spotted a tub of vaseline on the table during breakfast that I was using to sooth my sore nose from a nasty cold. "What's that?" she asked. From the deep depths of my memory I told her how vaseline was first produced as a by-product on oil rigs. The oil rig workers used the unrefined version to sooth cuts and burns. I suggested we check my story on the computer as I wasn't sure if I had made the whole thing up. It turns out that I was right... first time for everything! During the internet search we came across photos of oil rigs and Cakey wanted to make one.

We made a list of all the things we needed to make an oil rig:

  • platform
  • legs for the platform
  • three boats
  • cottage for the workers
  • helipad
  • oil pump

First we made the pump out of pipe-cleaners, paddle pop sticks and pva glue. The sticks kept falling off the pipe-cleaners so I anchored them down with bulldog clips while the glue was drying.

Paddle pop sticks held in place with clips while drying

Next we found a box to make the platform and I scrounged up four cardboard rolls for the legs. I cut some tabs into the rolls and taped them to the platform – not exactly sturdy but they did the job.

We ran around the house looking for little boats (and a toilet roll holder for the third boat) and anchored them on the side of the platform with string and tape. Luckily we had a little 'house' box that we used as our workers' cottage. My favourite part was wrapping two little people in shiny foil paper for little raincoats. Cakey added the helipad by taping a piece of cardboard to one side. Last but not least we secured our oil pump to the platform by sliding the pipecleaners through a slit in the box. And then we played with it.

Our little worker in her raincoat

We love using recycled materials in our craft projects, for more recycled inspiration have a look at my Recycled Materials for Craft pinterest board.

If this is your first visit to At home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along via email, RSS or facebook. You can also find me on Pinterest and InstagramCheers Ali

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  1. I had no idea vaseline was first produced as a by-product on oil rigs - smart mama! Love all the details on your rig!

  2. What a great rig! My husband is in the oil industry so I've seen his pictures and this looks a lot like the real thing. :) Great project!

  3. Considering that we use oil so much in our everyday life, it's great that you made a play scene to help your child better understand where oil comes from. I think all oil rigs should have a pink worker's cottage to brighten things up!

  4. Wow! An Oil rig! Now that is IS original!! what a perfect way to learn though and great fun!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  5. Really love this - If I ever go back to teaching science and need to do oil refining again this is going to be an activity would be a great research and then doing activity.

  6. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I have been really surprised and delighted about the positive response to our oil rig.

  7. Lovely Job on the rig.

    Hopping from Playtime.

    Veronica @

  8. I think this is great. I really believe the best learning is spontaneous learning, kids really seem to retain that kind the best! Great post!

  9. I completely agree with all the above comments! That's very creative and I'm sure she'll really remember what she was learning about. Great job at taking the time to learn spontaneously!

  10. What an awesome mom you are. Seriously, way to go taking time to explore and answer your daughters questions. I have a very inquisitive 5 year old who would love it if I would follow your example. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.

  11. Wow! I never knew that about vaseline. I would have just said, "I don't know" Look at all the learning you did through that one question. Pretty awesome!

  12. This is hilarious! I pinned this one too!

  13. love! just wait until your kids can use hot glue. the creations go up faster and faster. And they can use them usually alot younger than you think!

    can't wait to check out more of your blog.

    1. At the moment my eldest daughter is a bit scared of the hot glue gun, it didn't help that I accidentally burned myself and then her the last time we used it. It is going to be great when she can use it though, it works so much better.

  14. This is so cool! I love the bright colors.

  15. that's a great idea Ali. I like that it has so spontaneous and the kids learned so much while making it.

  16. Wow, cool. I wonder when we'll see a Fisher Price Oil Rig playset? That was an amazing idea!


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