Nature holds a wonderland of wealth for a grandmother and her lively little campers - there's lots of it, it's free, and kids cannot be any happier exploring it.
Each of my grandkids has an inviting section of woods in their own backyards; one even has a beautifully thriving pond. But for some reason, it's grandma's quarter acre that consistently appeals to them. And maybe that's because things "out-of-the-ordinary" sometimes occur back there! Like zombie invasions, you know. And hunts for monsters, or candy and toy packed dinosaur eggs at the end of a winding scavenger trail. But there are "normal" things going on back there, too. And this time, we agreed to team up to investigate them all!
But, first things first!
Sociology 101. Chapter one. Page one. Human beings form groups based on common interests. Once those units are established, they seek symbols - totems, coats of arms, emblems - to separate and identify themselves. Hey! That's us, too! So we chose tribal walking sticks to bond us together for our week long grandma camping adventure. These made it easier to maneuver wooded slopes and allowed us to stake finds of interest to return to and share with other members of our clan. And besides, they transformed our woods into an exotic jungle-like venue that had us really feeling that whole "goin'-on-safari" thing!
Rich in color, symmetry and pattern is the culture of the American Indian. We examined some art book examples, noting fierce faces and animal themes. Rattles, masks, headdresses.....my campers were fascinated, and very anxious to get started on their own interpretations!
Ask any one of them, and be told that grandma will buy anything they point to at the toy store. Anything. Not this time though! We harvested our own walking sticks - and dragged 'em home by ourselves - exactly the way you see little Jungle Jane doing right here!
(Oh dear! Somebody's eyes were a little bit too big for their body size! Grandpa took care of that problem with a few strokes of his hand saw, though!)
We know that traditional Indian art was fashioned from carved wood, or gourds or earthy clay, but our heads are made of instant paper mache. It mixes with water to become a malleable medium perfectly suitable for the task at hand. The CelluClay brand I prefer is here, on page 12 of my Amazon gift shop. Hobby Lobby may also have it; in that case, be sure to use your coupon for the best price!
Here's how they look once they've been sculpted.
I like the Stonehenge-y look!
Back on the sticks they go, set out to dry. After a couple of warm breezy days, depending on the thickness, they're ready to paint.
Hmmm....kinda spooky! I might have to revisit this for Halloween. Imagine a trail through the woods of these ambiguous skeletal faces, up-lighted eerily with flashlight lenses covered in green clear plastic. Oooooooo!!!!! Yep! Making some for sure!
(and then sending grandpa out there to search for my "lost cat!" he he he!)
I adore watching the kids paint their projects.
Use acrylic paint, then offer an array of beads and feathers for finishing touches.
Bree's project began as a monkey. Then she saw the pink paint. And the feathers. We're not exactly sure what it is today, but we're delighted with its perky personality!
Now we're ready to gather up our totems and explore the woods as a fearless, indigenous tribe of nature hunters! We made some interesting discoveries out there during the course of the week. Those are coming up next, in Part 4 of Grandma Camping 2015!