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Category: Crafts

It was a family activity night tonight. After we enjoyed our second batch (new and improved) of trilobite cookies, we made our clay salamanders. Well, David actually made a Permian reptile, the Dimetrodon, which he found sitting on the kitchen counter, oddly enough.

Here our cold-blooded creatures are getting ready to bask in the sun oven.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

After an hour, they were ready to come alive with colors!

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We used colorful metallic paints, which at first I wasn’t so sure about, but they totally rocked! Satori is painting her salamander in all kinds of colors. You can also see her baby sea turtle in this shot, equally vibrant.

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David made this shimmering green/yellow Dimetrodon and baby. Angela made the trilobite top left.

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Mom made a coral salamander. Here she is staring at Satori’s salamander.

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And here they all are, our family of amphibians and reptiles!!!

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Making Clay Creatures

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1 T vegetable oil

Mix and then knead until nice and smooth. Form your salamander or creature, don’t forget legs and beady eyes! We made indentations on our creatures for toes, wrinkles and mouth. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for an hour. Wait until cool, then paint away! Then set your clay creatures and salamanders somewhere where you can enjoy your craft all year long.

I had nothing better to do today while waiting for David to get home from his one-day Mexico meeting, so Satori and I did a bunch of experiments and trilobite crafts.

First up, this super cool Paper Trilobite! Print out this page to Build your own Paper Trilobite. It didn’t take long to make, just print, cut and glue/tape. It was an all-mom activity though, until I gave it to Tori to play with.

Isn’t he amazing?

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It then scuttered right up to Satori’s head!

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Next up, Trilobite Masks. I simply googled and found directions on making Trilobite Masks.

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Today we celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of the strange and bizarre creatures found in the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies. These Cambrian creature fossils, over 500 million years old, give us important clues about evolution. They are irresistibly bizarre, and we HAD to recreate them!

Hallucigenia

Hallucigenia

Here David is reading our Charlie’s Playhouse Giant Timeline and Ancient Creature cards to Satori.

Charlie's Playhouse Giant Timeline and Ancient Creature Cards

Charlie's Playhouse Giant Timeline and Ancient Creature Cards

As they read, mama gathers art/craft materials. Then we all choose our own Cambrian creature to make!

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Mama chose the Hallucigenia, daddy the Opabinia, and Satori the Anomalocaris. Davi’s Opabinia is the blue creature, with 5 eyes, segmented body, and the proboscis.

Hallucigenia and 5-eyed Opabinia

Hallucigenia and 5-eyed Opabinia

After mom started making her psychedelic worm, Satori had to make one too. Here’s her Hallucigenia the far right, poor little fellow, its spines got all flattened!

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We had such a blast we rushed in to make more creatures! David is using a pinecone to embed brown scales on his Wiwaxia.

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I helped to add glow-in-the-dark spines on his back.

Wiwaxia with glow in the dark spines

Wiwaxia with glow in the dark spines

Here’s my second creature, the Anomalocaris, a scary super predator of the Cambrian seas with a mouth full of teeth! When scientists first found his fossil, they thought he was 3 separate creatures!

Anomalocaris - a mouth full of teeth!

Anomalocaris - a giant for its time

Wiwaxia Ancient Creature Card

Wiwaxia Ancient Creature Card

And put them all together for our Burgess Shale Cambrian fauna zoo!

Our Burgess Shale Cambrian zoo

Our Burgess Shale Cambrian zoo

One important creature we left out was the Pikaia, which could possibly be the first chordate animal (with a backbone).

Think you are now familiar with the Cambrian Creatures? Try your luck at this Cambrian Creatures game!

Wrapping up our study on fossils, although I’m sure we will come across many fossils in our studies of prehistory!

Here’s another Fossil Activity we did, taken from The Fossil Factory: A Kid’s Guide to Digging Up Dinosaurs, Exploring Evolution, and Finding Fossils. This book was another little treasure trove for myself, I read it in one night, it’s not really a picture book for a 4 year old, so I haven’t read it to her yet, but I learned a lot, and it offered some cool activities.

The Fossil Factory

The Fossil Factory

We made a fossil cast using clay, Plaster of Paris and the impressions we wanted (dog footprint and toy dinosaur body cast).

Insert toy dino, hand/foot  (for print), leaves, or your choice in the clay. Take out and let clay dry for 3 hours.

Toy dino in clay

Toy dino in clay

Tightly tape a 2 inch tall strip of cardboard around the clay. Mix up Plaster of Paris according to package directions and pour in clay impression. Let sit overnight.

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The next day, brush oil over the plaster and add more plaster to make the cast.

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The next day, we have both the impression and a cast, and now we have two parts that will fit together!

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Satori and I celebrated Earth Day 2009 today. Once I told her that Earth Day was a holiday, she got very excited and said we can help keep the earth healthy! Exactly the point my dear. 🙂

We discussed ways we can keep the earth healthy and clean and then after dinner we made the earth. Of course I got a chance to throw in a geography lesson. 🙂 We’re going over the 7 continents this week as part of our new phase of homeschooling (more about that later), so I whipped up a quick project, only figuring out what to make as I scrimmaged around in our craft room.

Foam Earth

  • Foam sheets in blue, green, white, brown (we lucked out and had some blue foam circles lying around)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String

Foam Earth supplies

Foam Earth supplies

To start, I very roughly cut out some basic continent shapes. Most of the continents were green shapes, with Antarctica being white. Satori ran to get her tiny earth globe, and then glued the first side of continents, matching up the shapes to her globe. She pasted Antarctica on the bottom before even getting her globe though!

Pasting continents on earth

Pasting continents on earth

After all continents were glued on, we looked at our globe, decided to add Greenland as another white land mass. Then to demonstrate a few mountain ranges, we also glued on brown strips to add more dimension (and color) to our earth!

Side 1 was North America, South America and Antarctica.

side 1

side 1

Side 2 was Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Antarctica again.

side 2

side 2

Remember that this was a last-minute project, I very roughly cut out the continents, and gave Satori the liberty to paste them on as she saw fit. So things may not be totally geographically accurate and to scale. 😉

As you can see, we punched a hole and strung it up for it to twirl around and remind us of our beautiful and wondrous earth!

Hoping to brighten our day with these past few weeks of snowstorms, we made a bouquet of flowers using an egg carton, toilet paper roll and pipe cleaners!

Flower bouquet

Flower bouquet

Who would’ve thought I’d be collecting toilet paper rolls? 😉 (In the past few months I’ve collected dozens.) Well apparently you can BUY them, as when I was looking for shaped pipe cleaners, I came across them. I couldn’t find “bump pipe cleaners” anywhere locally, so I got some online at Kwik Crafts. It was here I found the cardboard tubes.

Here’s our gathered materials. And yes, a regular toilet paper roll works best for this! Don’t mind that I got suckered into buying the cardboard rolls…

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Painting our homemade roll, complete with bits of toilet paper stuck on it!

Blue toilet paper roll

Blue toilet paper roll

Satori loved her bouquet of flowers!

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Here’s why we needed shaped or bump pipe cleaners, for the leaves of our flowers. I tried to go for the “romantic” look by setting the single flower on our glossy piano. 🙂

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How to Make Egg Carton Flowers

Complete instructions on how to make these flowers can be found at the Skip to my Lou blog – “Welcoming Spring with Egg Carton Flowers!”.

I should make a new blog section “When Ordinary People Attempt Crafts” – as Satori said that website’s flowers are more beautiful than ours. 🙂 If we do this again, I would use a thicker chenille or pipe cleaner “stem”, but the shaped pipe cleaners worked out great!

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Not fluffy mail, but we’re excited about our packages that arrived today!

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First up was some wood scraps and stuff from Casey’s Wood Products. I ordered some wooden blocks for an upcoming creative craft. While I was on their site, I also got some wooden eggs for Easter, an assorted wood bag, and other cute wooden miniatures. 🙂

For $2.99, I got this Assorted Wood Cutouts Bag. I think it will be great for playing with math/geometry, or for using in various crafts. The 1 1/4″ wood cube blocks were a quarter each. Eggs were 18 cents each I believe.

Assorted Wood bag

Assorted Wood bag

I should’ve known they’d all make a good toy! But darn it, I forgot to order larger eggs! No worries, their shipping was SUPER FAST! I ordered 3 nights ago, it shipped out the very next morning at 8am, and I got it 2 days later!

Casey's Wood products package

Casey's Wood products package

Next up, Amazon came with this:

Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics

Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics

I got this Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics (Scholastic Video Collection specifically for a long road trip we are going on next week. (We’ll be out of town for a week and a half.) Satori will be able to watch her favorite stories on DVD! And look, there’s quite a few FIAR book DVDs in here!

DVD books

DVD books