Thursday, May 24, 2012

Clifford with Clothespins

Natalie is afraid of dogs, so when she said she wanted to make a dog, I quickly jumped on it.  This past week Natalie has really loved painting clothespins, so I adapted a craft we did a long time ago at our play group.

What you need:
Card stock
Felt scraps
Small pom pom
One googly eye
Two clothespins
Paint brush
Markers (optional)

What to do:
First, draw the body and head of a dog on your card stock.  If you have a stencil or cookie cutter, that could help.  I just did a generic dog, something like a lab, but if you have a favorite breed or certain household pets, you could of course model your shape after that.

I then cut out the body.  An older child could do the cutting along the lines.  I asked Natalie what color dog she wanted, and then had her start coloring it in with a marker while I got the other pieces ready.  If I had prepped in advance, I might have had her paint the body instead.  Using the marker was good practice for her though since her JRA caused her to give up on coloring for many months this winter.  She also just learned how to uncap a marker yesterday.

While she colored, I got out the other materials.  She said she wanted a brown nose and didn't answer me about the eyes, so I chose one that was hanging around on my desk.  I cut out the ear and tail from felt (I should have used the scrap box, but didn't).

Next, we painted the two clothes pins that make the legs.  I painted one and she painted the other.  Natalie really has loved painting clothes pins the last few days.  She's done over a dozen in two days.

After she was done with the painting, she was again interested in making the dog, so we glued on the eye, nose, ear, and tail while the paint dried.  I then put on the clothes pins and stood it up for her to see even though the paint and glue weren't completely dry yet. 

Substitutions / Alterations:
We only decorated one side, but you could do both sides using another eye and ear.  You could also easily add a color and leash.  A felt color with little gem stones and a yarn leash sounds pretty fun to me.  When we originally did this craft at play group, we made horses and used yarn for the manes and tails.  You could easily translate this craft into just about any four legged animal.  The card stock can easily be swapped for card board, very stiff felt, and thick craft foam.  You need it to still stand up once you put the legs on.  If you didn't want it to stand, you could use Popsicle sticks for legs.  Pipe cleaners might also work, and you could probably bend them to make feet. 

  • Read Clifford.  We made our dog red, so he looks just like Clifford.  But even if you don't make a red dog, Ian Birdwell's Clifford series is a lot of fun. There are tons and tons of books about dogs for all age ranges.  I'm not a huge dog fan, but here are a few I like: Kipper series, Spot series by Eric Hill, and Doggies by Sandra Boynton.  For a read aloud book  to older kids there is Where the Red Fern Grows and Shilo. These three are famous, but I don't really like them much myself: Harry the Dirty Dog, Pokey the Dog, and George Speaks
  • Sing BINGO.  
  • There is an Elmo's World all about dogs.  You can get it on video and it aired in episode 3852.  
  • If you have dogs as pets or have dogs in your life, you can talk about the different features of different breeds - such as size, colors, and shapes of body parts.  For example, "Susan's dog Kegan is a pug and has a flat brown face with a curly tail.  How is that different from our dog?"
  • If you don't have a dog, talk about ones you have seen when visiting friends or in the neighborhood.  Possibly plan a visit just to see the dog(s) or offer to take a friend or neighbor's friendly dog for a walk.  
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter where you can feed, water, brush, and play with the dogs and puppies. 

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