Not really sure why I decided that the kids needed a snake festival. They love animals, but have never mentioned snakes. In fact, a few weeks ago, I asked the boys if they liked them. No. Did they want to learn about them? No. Did they want to make
a snake? Thoughtful silence. Then, "no." Oh dear. By that time I had already bought the fleece we'd need for seven
of them and the ingredients for both a super sneaky snake lunch and a mixed media art project that would have us all hissing with delight.
But there's no slithering around over here. When grandma decides we're having a snake festival, well hang on to your tail, because we're havin' one!
I planned an educational opening ceremony. Because of the aforementioned disinterest in my topic, I was forced to dust off an old trick from parenting days of yore. Settled myself on the couch within earshot of the kids, opened a richly illustrated nature book, and began to declare observations that a seasoned herpetologist would delight in. "My, my! Look at that! Rattlesnakes! Snuggled up in a huge
pile to hibernate through the winter!" and, "That loooong, skinny vine snake sure is a pretty green color. I wonder if anybody can see him hiding there!" Seconds later, they were piled in my lap, poking and pointing at pages, peppering me with questions. "Grandma, how did that snake get up in the tree? Is that an egg
he came out of? How? Why? Ewww! Look at that one! He's crawling right out of his clothes!"
Ladies and gentlemen....
let grandma's snake festival begin!
I answered as many questions as I could, glossing craftily over the topic of what's for dinner on the plates of these
critters. (Oops! My bad! I meant UNslimy! Snake skin is dry and cool. It looks wet only because it shines in the light. Ha! Bet you didn't know that!) I avoided the topic of eats because Bree is very attached to the rodents in her Calico Critters family. Wouldn't want her living in fear of a scaly head poking inside the window of their cozy little cottage and snapping up a young 'un with the quick flick of a reptilian tongue! And the boys didn't need to know how boas plan their meals either. Right now they both want badly to be policemen so they can "put handcuffs on the bad guys and throw 'em in jail!" That's okay. Just don't think they need to add "crush 'em to death and haul 'em off to swallow whole" to their arsenal right now. I'll let some future second grade teacher handle both those areas for me!
So, now we know (almost) everything about snakes! It's time to apply our knowledge and make one for ourselves. What I like best about this project is that it teaches kids to "sew" even though they never get to touch a needle. I firmly believe it's grandma's job to convey that skill to the next generation. On this day we accomplished "step one" toward the goal of seeing great things made from fabric when you know just how to cut, stitch, turn, stuff and tie on a bow - or, in this case -three, or four, or more of them!
My snake makers followed exactly the instructions I have provided here.
Their first step was to choose a "snake skin" to stuff to plump perfection. Taking into account their ages, I offered stitched critters already filled to 75% complete. They expertly shoveled in the last foot, using wooden dowels to make the work easier.
Once bodies were full, a choice for eyes was custom made from a pile of colorful buttons. I offered the option of topping those off with a set of wiggle eyes.
Bree took her eyeball-shopping very seriously! She carefully tried on as many pairs as possible before making a final decision.
While the kids waited patiently, returning to the snake book for another careful look, grandma sewed on the eyes and tied the end of the tails tightly with ribbon.
The kids made their final choices for the ribbon body bows that put the finishing, wild touch on each of their new pets.
Sure, our snakes are beautiful, but are they smart? We introduced them to the alphabet
, making sure they knew, at the very least, how the letter "s" sounds!
Here we are! Our snakes are smart and cute, and so are we! But is our snake festival over? Oh, heck no! When grandma comes back in two days, she'll bring part II of this epic event tucked inside the ample pockets of her huge "grandma bag!" We're gonna make ourselves a wonderful reptilian lunch and an art project that I've promised will rate at least a 20 on a "scale" of 1 to 10! Please sidle on back next week so you can decide for yourself if we succeeded at that happy task!
|Best Moment of the Week: Mommy overheard Nick (center) introducing his new pet to one of his twin baby sisters. Looking at it fondly, he sweetly said, "I love my snake!" |
Awww! And you know what, Nick? I love YOU too...and your brother on the left, and your cousin on the right!