Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And today's project was a pine cone bird feeder!




Art class grows ever more adventurous, as our fearless leader, Miss A, entrusts ten tempestuous toddlers with maple syrup, pretzels, cookies, blocks, paint brushes, and large, sturdy pine cones. These pine cones, in their natural state appear courtesy of K O's flickr pics. As usual, I never have my camera when I really need it.

How does this all work?

Materials:
Large pine cone
piece of ribbon to tie on top
maple syrup
wooden block
small zip lock bag full of pretzels and plain wafer cookies
large, heavy duty art paint brush

optional, but strongly recommended for those who prefer their living surfaces to not be sticky - a styrofoam plate and aluminum foil


Crush the edibles (leave them in the bag!!) with the block - loudly. Preferably to the tune of "pop and pop and pop those bubbles! Pop and pop and pop those bubbles! Pop and pop and pop those bubbles...POP THOSE BUBBLES ALL DAY LONG!" This was monkey's tune of choice. Set aside. But not for long.

Put the pine cone on a sheet of aluminum foil and using the paint brush, paint cone with as much maple syrup as you can. Pause every other stroke to insert brush into your own mouth to ensure that the syrup tastes good enough to serve to our feathered-friends. This is a good opportunity to teach your toddler about sharing. Like I did:

"Jordan, let's share that maple syrup with Mr. Pine cone, ok? One taste for Jordan...one for Mr. Pine cone."

To clarify, I did this not because I wanted to teach a sharing lesson. Rather, I tried to salvage what I could of the situation and make in into a learning opportunity. What else am I supposed to do when I see my kid inserting the entire paint brush into his mouth?

After the cone has been liberally drizzled with syrup, you can decorate it with the crushed cookies and pretzels. Pour the crumbs into the tray and roll the cone in it, or sprinkle the crumbs onto the cone itself. Traditionalists will note that this craft was usually done with peanut butter and bird seed. However, I am thrilled Miss A. used the supplies she did.

Not a toddler at the table was able to resist. Each one poured the crumbs onto the cone, and happily sampled bits and pieces themselves. Monkey, once again, ate his art supplies with gusto. Maple syrup covered pretzel and cookie bits? Yum, yum, yum. While the other children eventually went back to the project of decorating the cone, monkey continued to eat, scooping up maple-pretzel-clusters with his hands, and stuffing them into his mouth like he hadn't been fed a day in his life.

I didn't even attempt to stop him, but instead wondered whether I should offer him a cold beverage. At least he was wearing his art apron.
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