Snake Day II

We had our first World Snake Day  (July 16th) program last summer, and it was a success. It is important for people to learn about snakes and their place in the ecosystem. While there are some dangerous snakes out there, not all snakes are bad.

This summer, we collaborated with the Children’s Department in order to create an all-day Snake Day event with activities for all ages. In addition to the sewing activity, the kids made clay snakes, and Sternberg Museum of Natural History visited the library with some of their snakes.

Click here to learn how I made the snake pillows. It is a good idea to have two sewing machines running, and also schedule participants in groups of four every 20 minutes.

Someone also mentioned making snakes out of old neckties as a good activity, but I haven’t tried that yet. Whatever you do, have a good Snake Day!

 

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Yarn Art

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This was a new experiment for our Knit & Nosh program. In my experience, knitting and crocheting can be pretty challenging, even for adults. It seems difficult to find projects that take a short time to complete (let me know if you have any). One of the issues is different skill levels. Some people know how to knit and are quite good at it, while other people may be beginners.

The idea with this yarn art project was that it would be challenging enough to keep everyone interested, but not require an advanced skill set. However, this yarn art project turned out to be little more challenging than it appears. While it doesn’t require an advanced skill set, it does require a fair amount of patience.

There are three ways of filling in space used in the above image: layering and cutting (the hills), layering without cutting (the sky), and spiraling (the blue pond areas). Spiraling looks neat, but it is a little more complex than the two other methods because it is easy to unravel your work. It might be possible to use pre-cut yarn, which would make the project easier (the end result would be very different, of course).

It is important to tell the participants to only squeeze out a small amount of glue at a time. If they make a huge puddle, they might get glue on their fingers, which will stick to the yarn.

I found that it is best to use foamcore board, so that the glue doesn’t warp the surface. The picture above was created on cardstock, so it rippled. It is also a good idea to limit the surface area. I handed out 6″X 6″ boards, but they could have been smaller.

If you want to have an educational portion of the activity, you can talk about the origins of yarn art.

 

Watercolor Splatter Painting

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Splatter painting is something that the teens are always wanting to do with acrylics, and I usually say “No Splattering.” However, it is really enjoyable, and splattering creates fun, spontaneous images. Watercolor is the perfect medium for this activity because it splatters well, but is easy to clean up. We happened to have some leftover liquid watercolor and black ink, which worked out great.

If you want an inexpensive paper, you can cut down cheap poster board and use the mat side. Watercolor paper is a little pricey, but worth it. I was surprised by the speed at which people completed their paintings. It might be a good idea to have lots of extra paper, in case everyone wants to make more than one. In addition, you might want to think of another process to add to increase the complexity. We had straws out so that people could blow on their wet paint to create spidery designs, but collage or stenciling might be fun too.

 

Fairy Gardens

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Last summer an extensive fairy town sprung up one day and dominated the activity room for almost a month. There was a Fairy-Mart and a Fairyot hotel. I wanted to revisit the fairy construction industry, so we had a fairy garden activity. Some materials we used included felt, beads, craft paper, ribbon, white glue, hot glue, and small pots. These were really small fairy cottages with gardens. There were ponds, bridges, and ladders. Note: In order to create a roof like the ones we had, you need to cut a half-circle of felt. Here are the steps using a paper template:

Ojos de Dios

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This craft is simple and fun! If you have Popsicle sticks and yarn hanging around, you can easily create Ojos de Dios or God’s Eyes. We used a glue stick to secure the sticks together, then, starting from the middle, we wove the yarn between the sticks. Here is a great site with the directions and some information about the Huichol tribe who create Ojos de Dios as offerings. Most teens made two or three Ojos de Dios, as they planned to give them as gifts. You can also make Ojos de Dios into ornaments during the holidays.

Pinecone Owls

Pinecone Owls are easy to make and super cute! Here is the site that inspired us. Materials we put out included felt, hot glue, markers, wing-shaped stencils, googly eyes, pipe cleaners (owl feet) and pinecones. This craft goes pretty quickly, so you may want to have another felt craft as well. Felt roses or felt creatures might pair well with the owls, or they could always make more than one owl.