Go Snail Go

racing snailOn your mark…get set…GO! The race is on with these fantastic pull string snails and tabletop race track. But it’s not speed that counts in this event. Sweet victory goes to the slowest snail in the race!

go snail goWe read Snail Boy by Leslie McGuirk (Candlewick, 2003). Meet Snail. He’s as big as a pony! Being big and extremely rare, Snail spends most of his days hiding from snail hunters. At night, he is plagued with nightmares about being captured. But one day he has an inspiration! If he can find just the right owner, he’ll be safe from snail hunters forever. Venturing to the park, Snail spots a boy and introduces himself. While the boy is reluctant to have a giant snail as a pet (snails are way too slow for his tastes), Snail finally convinces him by performing some excellent tricks. Plus, he has a private clubhouse on his back! The two friends ride off slowly, slowly, sloooowly together.

The boy in the story is reluctant to adopt Snail because of his lack of speed. I thought it would be fun to have super slow snail races to show that slow is just as fun as fast!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large rectangle of tagboard for snail body (approximately 2″ x 11.5″)
  • Hole punch
  • A 68″ piece of yarn
  • 2 small rectangles of tagboard for eye stalks (approximately 0.5″ x 2.25″)
  • 2 squares of white poster board (approximately 5.5″ x 5.5″ each)
  • 1 small box (mine was 4″ x 4″ x 4″)
  • A Bling Bin
  • 1 wooden dowel
  • Construction paper (we offered orange, green, yellow, red, and purple)
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • A 28″ piece of ribbon
  • A 2″ gold embossed foil seal (or use metallic paper)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll start with your snail! Round both ends of a large rectangle of tagboard. Fold the rounded rectangle twice – once to create your snail’s head, and twice to create your snail’s neck. Your snail’s body should now look like this:

snail step 1 Punch a hole in the snail’s body, right at the base of the neck. Thread one end of a 68″ piece of yarn through the hole, and tape it tightly to the snail’s body.

snail steps 2 and 3Round the ends of 2 small rectangles of tagboard and tape (or glue, or hot glue) them to the back of your snails head. Use markers to draw a pair of eyes on the ends of the stalks.

snail eyesNow for the shell! Round three sides of a white poster board square. Use a marker to draw a spiral on the shell. Repeat with the other white poster board square.

shell stepsHot glue a box to the top of your snail’s body, and then hot glue both pieces of shell to the sides of the box. The flat part of the shell pieces should align with the bottom of the box. Don’t let it extend beyond the bottom of the box, or your snail will have trouble sliding later.

snail shell step 2 and 3Finally, use markers and the Bling Bin to decorate your snail’s shell! We also whipped up a flag for demonstrating your team spirit. It a 9″ triangle of construction paper taped to a wooden dowel with colored masking tape. Decorate the flag with markers if you like.

flagNow for the race track! We created our track on a 6′ plastic-topped table (the same type of table we used to make these sled runs actually).

race track First, I used colored masking tape to create 3 racing lanes, a starting line, and a finish line. I also used the tape to number the lanes (you can see the numbers in purple all the way to the left on the picture). I attached 8 wooden dowels to the sides of the table using packing tape, and then I strung the dowels with kite string. Katie and I used colored masking tape to make flags along the kite string (just double a 2″ piece of tape over the string, then snip the tape with scissors to make it triangular). We finished by attaching construction paper flags to the dowels by the start and finish lines.

Ready to race? Have the kids place their snails behind the starting line in lane 1, 2, or 3. Then have them walk down the table to the finish line and stand in their snail’s lane. Leaving the snails at the starting line, deliver the long pull strings to the waiting hands of the snail jockeys. A quick tweet of a starting whistle, and they’re off! The slowest snail wins!

super snailThe hilarious thing about this activity is that it’s nearly impossible for kids to go slow in a race. Especially when people are waving flags and yelling in excitement. Most of the snails burned down the track in seconds. But some snails were Olympians of slowness. You can see one of the record breakers in the photo above, finally approaching the finish line.

The prize was a gold medal on a ribbon. We mounted a 2″ gold foil seal on a circle of poster board, then taped a 28″ piece of ribbon to the back. Everyone received a gold medal for finishing, regardless of how their snails placed in the race!

medal

Cheshire Cat Grin

cheshire cat grinSomething to smile about! I designed this Cheshire Cat project for an Alice in Wonderland program. It’s quick, easy, and the results are frabjous!

You’ll need:

First, select a grin from the template and use markers to color it. Glue (or tape, or hot glue) the smile to a jumbo craft stick. Make sure to leave about 1″ of space at the top of the stick for your whiskers and nose.

grin step 1Pinch the centers of the twisteez wires together, then secure them to the stick with masking tape. If you can’t find twisteez wires, use very thin strips of card stock for whiskers. I wouldn’t recommend using pipe cleaners. The ends can get rather sharp when you cut them, and that’s not good for a project that is held close to the eyes.

grin step 2Shape a square of self-adhesive foam into a cat nose, then peel and stick on top of the masking tape. You can also use regular foam and adhere the nose with hot glue.

grin step 3Trim and curl the whiskers (or leave them straight), and you’re done!

grin step 4Hold the project to your face to become a cat with a grin, or hold it away from you to demonstrate a grin without a cat!

Oh So Crafty

box and tubeWhat do you get when you decorate 1 plain box and 1 toilet paper tube roll with a plethora of art supplies? Clearly, some very clever crafting!

creative charactersFor our story time project, we started everyone with a 4″ x 4″ x 4″ box and a toilet paper tube. Then we asked the kids to use the tube to create a doll, and the box to make an accessory for the doll. Helping themselves to tables loaded with art supplies, our imaginative inventors went to work!

We read Crafty Chloe, written by Kelly DiPucchio, and illustrated by Heather Ross (Atheneum Books, 2012). Chloe may not be good at sports, video games, or dance, but she is an absolute genius at crafting. Chloe’s creativity is challenged, however, when it comes time to find a birthday present for her best friend Emma. More than anything, Emma wants a Violet doll, but when Chloe goes to purchase one, she finds that London, a snooty classmate, has beaten her to the purchase. Rattled, Chloe tells London she’s going to make Emma’s present. London’s response is derisive (“You’re going to MAKE her something?”). The big day arrives, but, on her way to the shindig, London trips on her glittery heels. She drops Violet in a muddy puddle, and, to add insult to injury, the doll’s dress is ripped off by London’s dog. Instead of leaving London to her awful fate, Chloe unveils her present. It’s a handmade purple dolly dress that fits Violet perfectly. Also in the gift box? A color-coordinated canopy bed for Violet. Perfect.

I love this book on so many levels, and not just because of the super sweet hot glue gun holster Chloe wears while she’s crafting her masterpieces.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4″ x 4″ x 4″ but any size will work)
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • A selection of multicultural construction paper for skin
  • Black, brown, yellow, and red construction paper for hair
  • Assorted craft supplies (see our complete list a little later in this post)
  • A Bling Bin
  • Scissors, tape, and glue sticks for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

As I mentioned in the introduction, the projects all started with the same box. Here’s a look at how we cut them down in various ways.

project boxesFor this particular project, it’s important to create a few example projects to put on display. Example projects are helpful for craft-challenged parents and caretakers, and they also help kids who have trouble brainstorming. The only drawback, of course, is that some kids just want to recreate your projects. I mean, who wouldn’t be tempted to recreate Vivian Ward shopping on Rodeo Drive?

pretty womanAhem. As far as art supplies, we offered colored masking tape, felt pieces, twisteez wire, a selection of small feathers, 3 sizes of pom-poms, colored macaroni, mesh tubing, large plastic buttons, seashells, bubble tea straws, self-adhesive foam shapes, construction paper, embossed foil paper, patterned paper, white poster board, tagboard, a selection of tissue paper, cellophane, pipe cleaners, sparkle stems, plastic sample cups with lids, fabric flowers, balloon stick cups, and iridescent fabric shapes. And the Bling Bin of course.

OK…ready to see some crafting awesomeness?

mermaid 3tiger housegirl with carninja turtles 2mermaid 2batman 2sea creaturesponge bobshopping 1ninja turtles 1beach girlbatman 1ninja turtles 3marioshopping 2batman 3mermaid 1Alas, a few projects did get away without being photographed. There was another mermaid, a butterfly princess, Queen Elsa, and a football field with pom-pom fans swarming the goal post.