December 28, 2010

Reptiles: Turtles and Tortoises

I sort of cheated with turtles/tortoises. I had an ultrasound so my sister and her hubby watched my children. Since I didn't have a day to waste, I made my sister "do school" with the kids. I gave them the books to read, I showed my brother-in-law the password to the computer so he could access the craft instructions, and I had all the supplies in a bag on the piano. Everything was ready.

I left.

They read the books. (I read them later because I was annoyed the kids knew things that I didn't.)
Sea Turtles by Judy Wearing.
A Mama for Owen by Marion Dane Bauer.
Tortoises by Chuck Miller.
Box Turtles: Weird Pets by Lynn M. Stone (different cover).

My sister said the kids liked all the books and were especially interested/excited by the fact that sea turtles return to where they were born to lay eggs. They told me all about it when I got home. They also told me about some sea turtles that have spikes/spines in their throat. Weird. But cool.

The craft didn't happen.

After reading the books my brother-in-law went to the computer and typed in what he thought was the password, but it wasn't. Without the instructions they were hesitant to plow ahead. Instead, they drew pictures of turtles and had a lovely time doing that.

When I came home the kids all demanded we do the craft, so I fed them lunch, put the baby to bed, and whipped out the glue gun.

We should have left it at drawing turtles. This craft was lame. As in entirely unsuccessful and I am only telling you about it to warn you away.

The craft is called Baby Pet Turtles. You can get the instructions here.

You start out with some heavy paper. I used a paper plate and trimmed it to a smaller size. Then you put glue all over the plate and, starting in the center, wrap yarn in ever increasing circles to cover the plate. Then you add some appendages and googly eyes and you're done.


Don't be fooled by how cute Cowen's turtle looks in the picture below. The craft had some serious issues.

1) The paper wasn't heavy enough to hold up to the yarn so when the kids tried to play with their baby turtles the turtles flopped around too much. They played with the things for three minutes before giving up. Not a good sign.

2) The yarn didn't stick to the glue very well. I used white school glue (Elmer's) and had the kids spread it around their plates with a paint brush. Because the yarn didn't stick well, none of my children could put the yarn on themselves. Besides, creating the circles was really hard for my children. Putting the yarn on is the bulk of the craft. I do not like crafts that are intended for children that children cannot do themselves. Maybe if the glue stuck better the kids would have had a better time of it. In the end, I did all of Cowen's and Emeline's turtles. Miriam did her own, but 90% of the yarn fell off within minutes of completing the craft.

I can't think of a better glue to use. Hot glue is too hot. Glue sticks aren't any stickier than Elmer's. Fabric glue?? I haven't played with that much.

I made one major mistake and that was making my paper circles too big. Cowen's was originally larger, but the wider the circle of yarn got, the harder it was to get it to stick. I finally cut the yarn and trimmed the paper to match. I definitely should have made really small baby turtles.

Also, if you do attempt this craft, I recommend using cardboard for the circle body. That will hold up the yarn and make it so your kids can play with the final result easier. That stills leaves the problem of what adhesive to use.

Even if I had done things differently/better, I still don't see how my kids could have done it themselves. I let Miriam make her own appendages and glue on her eyes, and she liked that. Otherwise, the craft was a huge disappointment for all involved.

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