Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paper Plate Turtles

I can't take credit for this craft; the facilitator at our play group at the local community center did this craft with the kids about a year ago.  I love turtles, so I was a huge fan.  Natalie didn't want to do the craft that day, so we brought it home.  When we did sit down to make it, she liked it so much we made a second one a couple days later.  This was the beginning of her love for glue sticks.

What you need:
Paper plate
Green construction paper
Various colored tissue paper
Black marker
Glue stick
Tape (optional)

What to do:
Depending on the age of the child you are working with, you can either make the head and legs in advance or have your child help you draw and cut them out.  (Since our play group is ages 0-5, she had already cut out all the pieces).

Glue the head and legs on to the back of the paper plate.  Depending on how strong your glue is you might need to use some tape to help them stick on.  For us, the bumps on the outer edge of the paper plate made the glue not stick well.

Tear off a bunch of pieces of tissue paper in different colors, sizes and shapes.  Again, you could do this in advance if you like, but it really is great fine motor practice for kids.  They can either practice ripping and tearing or practice using scissors if they are old enough. 

Let your child decide which pieces to glue where.  Natalie liked using the glue stick when she did this at about 18 months, but she didn't apply enough glue so I had to help.  I liked the look of the whole shell being covered in tissue, so I had to encourage her to keep going.  That is up to you if you and your child if you cover the whole shell area.

Lastly, draw on the eyes and a smile.

You can use craft foam or card stock for the head and legs.  You can use googly eyes, beads, tiny pom poms, or sequins for the eyes.  You could use a plastic plate instead if those are what you have on hand, but its nice to have paper plates for various kinds of crafts. You could probably also substitute a paper bowl to make it more of a rounded shell.  (Hmm... I wonder if you could make baby turtles with the cups of an egg carton ...).

By the way, this is a very affordable craft.  You can get a pack of tissue paper, a package of plates, glue sticks, and a marker all at the dollar store, but you probably already have all these items in your house already.

  • Name the colors you use.  Talk about how the colors look different when the tissue paper overlaps.  
  •  Make the tissue into shapes.  The easiest to tear are squares, but you can use scissors to make more complex ones like stars and hearts.  Name and compare the shapes as you glue. 
  • For a preschooler, you could make a pattern with the tissue pieces. For example you could start around the outer edge green square, blue square, pink rectangle, and then ask your child to keep it going. 
  • Read some books with turtles!  Possible titles: the Franklin series by Paulette Bourgeois, Yurtle the Turtle by Dr Suess, Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff, and any version of The Tortoise and The Hare (Eric Carle has one!).
  • Use this as a craft before or after visiting some real turtles at the zoo or a pond.  

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