This is an easy yet highly creative activity, where children can choose and manipulate a variety of locally sourced natural material to make their own animal. Children naturally enjoy choosing and picking material, imagining what they will make with it. Here, by setting up a “shop” type of display, and inviting your child to pick five elements to create their animal, you are encouraging your child to focus and think before they create.
You will need:
– Seeds and pods collected from parks and gardens. Singapore is rich in large pods such as mahogany pods, Kaya pods, rainforest tree pods, kapok, african tulip pods and saga seeds. Take a trip to the local park to go on a collecting mission. Variety will come from going often. Be aware of “seasons”, and know that finding seeds one day doesn’t mean you will find it again! – Other natural material such as leaves, hemp twine and bark, etc
– UHU glue. Alternatively, a hot glue gun would be very effective, used by the child and supervised by you.
– Display container. This could be a specially divided tray, or in a number of baskets.
– A sheet of plastic or newspapers, as UHU glue does not come off objects once it has set.
– Start by inviting your child to look at the variety of seeds. Some children might know the name of some of them. Some might have seen them in the neighbourhood.
– Invite the child to choose no more than five objects (e.g. a seed, pods, string,…) from which they will create their animal. Of course, they can change their material of they work out they made a mistake… before they glue it!
– A basic mouse as pictured here (from palm seed, 2 saga seeds and twine) only takes five objects… Some children will be clever and choose twigs that they can chop off to make many legs!
– Use the UHU sparingly, as it sticks faster if there isn’t too much.
– Let it dry and then the animal is complete!
Once the child is done with their sculpture, there are many things to do with their creatures! Here are some ideas:
– It’s Halloween coming up! Can they make something spooky or related to magic using just five natural objects?
– Children can give their creature a name and think about its characteristics, or attributes.
– On a piece of paper, they can draw its surroundings, or habitat.
– They can draw the actual animal they have created, by looking at photos of it in books or online.
– They can write the animal’s story. Where did it come from? Where is it going and why?
– Why not create the animal’s own hideaway? Using cardboard and tape (or a glue gun), your child can make a few walls and cut open a door. They could also add a bed and a table, or other furniture that the creature might use.
This activity was conceived by Isabelle Desjeux, and is offered as a creative workshop at Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity for birthday parties and group bookings as part of the ‘Hideaways – Creating With Nature’ program (closes 30 October). Find out more at www.playeum.com and don’t miss Playeum’s next hands-on exhibition, ‘A World Full of Stories’, opening November 15.