Does your school age child whine that she doesn't want to take the bus to school while your preschooler begs to go on the bus? Here's a bus that everyone can ride. The best part is it gets excellent gas mileage and burns some energy too.
Start with a regular cardboard box. We used the size that paper comes in. Cut off the flaps, if any, and cut a 12" X 16" rectangle in the bottom of the box, which will become the top of the bus. If, desired, paint the box yellow and let it dry overnight.
Develop cutting skills and shape awareness by having your child cut basic shapes using shiny paper for rectangular windows, black construction paper for round wheels, and red construction paper circles for lights. Point out these details the next time you see a real bus to connect the project to life experience. Smiley face or character stickers can be stuck on the windows to make it look like your bus is full of passengers.
Your child can decorate a paper plate for the steering wheel while you use a utility knife to cut two 1" slits in the top of the cardboard (see picture) and fold that piece upward. Now use a brass paper fastener to attach the steering wheel.
As your child runs around he can hold the bus up himself, or you can make suspender straps to hold it up with string, yarn, or a belt. Just punch holes and run the string through like the one in the picture. It helps to cross the straps in the back like overalls.
Now have some fun with your bus: play Red Light Green Light, draw some sidewalk chalk roads and have someone be a police officer directing traffic, or even try what my daughter did---put on roller skates so the bus can go really fast! Try to encourage creativity. One friend rode the bus down our slide, pretending to be driving over really big hills. My other daughter started a tour bus company, offering in the family tour of our backyard. You could even set up an obstacle course or a bus driver training course.
Before you know it the real school bus will be back with big brother, sister, or friend, who will want to make a bus of his or her own.