Saturday, November 1, 2014

Birthday Favors - Miniature Engineer Stashes

We're celebrating around here. It is my son's fifth birthday and we are inviting some of his new friends from school to join us to play at the park, eat some pizza, and sing "Happy Birthday." And I know that party favors are sometimes the bane of existence as a fact, I struggle with whether or not they are truly necessary. But then I get inspired...and this year's favors are right along the lines of Preschool Engineering. 

First, a little history. When we read "Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Beatty, my kids were very interested on the idea that "when no one is looking she digs through the trash for treasures to add to her engineer's stash." Since Rosie entered our lives, we have a designated bin we call the "engineer's stash" that houses recycled toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, rinsed berry clamshells, etc.

When I suggested that we give his friends their own "engineer's stash," Mikey was very excited. I am very excited, too. Here is a picture of the "Engineer Stash" that we've assembled: 

The bucket is the foundation. A bag could have worked but the play that a good pail provides is better, I think. We've also included a small ball of yarn (I crochet so I have tons of remnants around), a clothsline clip (because grabbing things are cool), glitter glue, crayons, some foil, googly eyes, stickers (flowers that resemble gears), and a pipe cleaner snake. My hope is that these items are used with the creative joy that glitter glue seems to elicit...

Before I end, I have to explain about the pipe cleaner snake. My original plan was to just use the pipe cleaner to wrap around the crayons so they wouldn't be all jumbled around in the bucket. Then we went to the zoo, where there is an extensive exhibit of snakes. That day Mikey fell in love with snakes. He said, "Mama, I think snakes are interesting because they move like conveyor belts." Enough said. Then, his classmate had a birthday and brought origami frogs to pass out to everyone in the class (this is in lieu of food because of new school rules for celebrating birthdays). I was amazed but thought, "yeah right. I'm not folding two dozen origami anything." That night over more conversation about snakes, I felt inspired. I wondered if we could make snakes for Mikey's classmates and the pipe cleaner snake was born.

These are good little projects for small hands. I've included pictures along with instructions for you to enjoy.

You will need:
- pipe cleaners
- foam shape stickers
- marker or googly eyes and glue
- gift ribbon
- scissors

The gift ribbon, gently snipped on the end, can be pulled apart to make the ribbon appropriately sized for a snake tongue.

Peel the backing off a foam shape sticker. (Don't throw the backing away!) Place one end of the pipe cleaner onto the sticky side of the shape. Place a piece of ribbon tongue on too.

Place the backing of the sticker onto the shape. This holds the pipe clean and the tongue on. I noticed that the not-so-shiney side works better at sticking back on the foam.

Turn the snake over to get a good look at the head.

Then draw some eyes and nostrils on.

Repeat as needed and voila!

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