Explore the Ocean from Home!
(or at least fantasize that you are alone on some tropical island with no laundry to do)
As a creative blogger it is hard to come up with an original idea. I have had this concept in mind for a very long time. When studying Anthropology, Levi and Radcliffe introduced me to the theory that an idea (pottery, agriculture etc.) can be invented on several different continents at the same time. This phenomenon is still seen today in the fields of art and science and of course in the blogisphere. Felt ecosystems are pretty popular "toys' to make. I am sure you have seen them everywhere.
I have seen clothespin mermaids on several mom blogs.
I had two clothespin dolls as a child, a bride and a Navajo maiden.
I still have them in a box for the Kaz. Princess when she is older.
Most Montessori blogs mention sensory boxes filled with all manner of grains and legumes for exploration.
If you have a child with sensory issues, even mild ones like mine, you will be tempted to venture into the world of learning and emotional regulation through the five senses. The Kaz. Princess has a very short attention span for Montessori activities unless they involve water. I usually just allow her to explore them however she wants and that means not the way they were originally intended. If I make them about fun and imaginary play with Mom then I have more success. Hence the addition of mermaids, shells, sea creatures, treasure chest, palm tree, and paper umbrellas (which is the one thing she was most drawn to play with because they are a part of her real life). Kids from an orphanage just don't do things according to the books and experts. This has taught me a greater appreciation for how wonderous the human brain is and that each child should be parented based on their unique experiences and temperament. I just follow my heart and instinct and it works.
HOW TO DYE RICE
Pour your rice into the container you plan to use as your sensory box to "measure" how much you will need to dye. A bag of 10-20 lbs should be enough for most boxes and they are cheapest at an ethnic market.
Next pour the measured rice into a container you don't care very much about.
Dilute 1/8 tsp of cake icing dye in 1 cup of water and pour it onto the rice.
Using gloves mix the rice until it is all colored. You may want to use a second round of dye for a deeper color. I have not had good luck with other kinds of "colorants".
Pour the rice onto a large tarp and let dry in the sun for a few hours.
When you are done be sure to clean up well , leaving no rice behind for critters to eat as it can make them quite sick or even kill them in large amounts.
HOW TO MAKE A CLOTHESPIN MERMAID
You will need wooden clothespins, ribbon, fabric, tissue paper and other craft materials
The possibilites for creativity are endless.
Use a template to cut your felt fins.
Cut a rectangle of fabric for the body or use tissue paper to makes some very nice scales.
Use the fabric to make a tube which you will glue around the "body".
Overlap and sew the fins as shown above.
Embellish with tulle, fabric flowers, beads, sequins etc.
To make hair from wool roving
Pull or cut a piece of wool rovingfrom your budle.
Use soapy water to wet it and a sushi matt as your "working" surface.
Twist, roll, and work the wet felt into the desired shape.
As it dries you can needle felt the details.
Sew or needle felt all manner of beads or sequins into your hairstyle.
When fully dry use a strong non-toxic glue to adhere the "wig" to the head of your doll.
The faces can be "painted" or left bare for more imaginative potential.
(what possible form would a beehive take under the ocean than a spiral shell?)
Would you like to win this lovely mermaid? Find out how at the end of this post!
HOW TO MAKE SANDBARS
I just cut some interesting shapes from felt, freehand.
I then layered and sewed them by machine.
(not bad for my third sewing project ever)
HOW TO MAKE A PALM TREE
Wrap a piece of felt around a large straw, pinning tightly along the edge.Leave enough material for the seam. Sew parallel to your pins and then turn your "tube" inside out. Slide it over the straw.
Make palm tree templates. Use them to cut at least 18 leaves from various colors of green felt.
Wet felt three wooden beads with brown wool roving to make your coconuts.
When dry sew these together to make a "bunch" which is then sewn to the top of the trunk.
Jam all the leaves one by one into the straw with a toothpick.
Sew the trunk to one of the islands on your sandbar.
Cut a hole in the sandbar, on the backside, right below the opening of the straw.
To make your tree stand up straight in the box
Jam a pencil or dowel in a lump of playdough.
Stick this to the bottom of your box.
Thread the straw/trunk over the pencil.
Rules for winning the purple mermaid "GIVEAWAY"
Leave a comment at the end of this post.
Join as a follower of my blog if you are not one already.
You must live in the continental US to enter.
GIVEAWAY ends August 4th, 2010.
Winner will be chosen radomly and announced August 5th.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
I recommend that only older kids play with this mermaid. It should be handled very gently as the sequins are vintage and probably made of glass. This toy has not been tested for lead or safety. May be a choking hazard for younger children!
Have fun making toys and good luck to all those who decide to enter.
Wew that was one long toy tutorial!
I am linking up to several parties for this post so please visit the LINK PARTY tab above if you want to see where I have traveled.
If you are visiting from Fireflies and Jelly Beans thanks for stopping by!