Friday, January 27, 2012

Peanuts, Pipe Cleaners, and a Rain Forest Diorama

We just spent two weeks researching golden lion tamarins, and we thought we were done with them. Then on Monday Conner came home with an assignment to make a diorama of his chosen mammal's habitat. Ooooookay, I guess we weren't done, after all!

Conner and I talked about it. Some of his friends (who had older siblings) had already known that the habitat diorama was coming after the research report, and had already finished theirs and turned them in. They had been able to find little plastic figurines to represent their animals in their habitats, and Conner wanted to do that for his. So we googled  it...there were no little plastic golden lion tamarins (glt's) to be bought. (And I didn't tell him this, but I had doubted that if there were some, that they would be a price that I was willing to pay!) So we talked about looking for pictures in magazines or on the internet - or even drawing them - and then cutting them out. But no...apparently that was a terrible idea! So we were down to making them.

That was all that we did on the diorama on Monday afternoon. I spent the rest of the evening brainstorming how in the world to make little orange maned monkeys. I think I probably even dreamed about it, because I woke up the next morning with a rough idea. And then, after brainstorming with a teacher friends of mine, I had a plan - peanuts and pipe cleaners. So after preschool on Tuesday, Josiah and I were off to Hobby Lobby. That was a pretty fun little shopping trip. :)

We added what we got to the few things we already had, and ended up with a pile that looked like this:

Conner helped Bret spray paint the box green. Then Conner and I played with the pipe cleaners and peanuts for a little while, and ended up with a little glt that looked like this.

I was in love - it was adorable! Ready to make at least a dozen, I asked Conner how many he wanted in his rain forest. "Oh, probably about two," he mused.

"What?!," I said, "Two? Just two? But look how cute they are. Don't you want a few more than that?" Nope. Two was all he wanted. "Ok," I said. "It's your project. But I'm so stinkin' proud of them and think they're so cute that I'm still gonna make a bunch of them. I'll just hang them from the ceiling by my kitchen sink if I have to." Boys...

By the way, here's a real glt. I think we did a pretty good job making a replica, don't you?!
While we were making them, we realized that I forgot to get plain orange pipe cleaners. We only had the kind with the sections of super-fuzz on them, so Conner had to cut the fuzz off to make their tails. He loved doing that...and we had orange fuzz everywhere...

Then over the next couple of days Conner painted paper towel rolls, and made trees out of them. (Yes, he did it. (Except I worked the glue gun and just let him stick the stuff on it.) I made a sample tree while he was at school one day, and he got his feelings hurt when I told him that it was mine for my class's unit on jungles. He had to make his own!)

He had fun cutting the leaves off the silk flowers, too...but the wire was a little hard to cut sometimes! :)

A finished tree, complete with a glt nest in it!

We made another tree, found a rain forest photo on google that we printed and used for a background, and then glued it all together. Here's the end result - finished a day early! (Yes, he did finally decide - after he realized that they could hide in the trees and hang from the vines! - that he wanted a few more than two glt's!)

Of course, Micah and Josiah got into it, too. They each ended up with their own glt. Josiah took his to show and tell on Thursday. His teacher thought the way he said "golden lion tamarin" was so absolutely adorable that she recorded it. ;)

...and we're now in the process of making another rain forest for Micah's glt to live in...

...and this morning, Josiah and I got to go to the zoo for a little while. While we were there, we decided to check up on the glt's again. And hooray, they were out playing today! You can really only see the shadows in this video, but we need to remember what funny little monkeys they are. :)

Update - Micah's rainforest (which he plans to give to his class for his birthday!):

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Bonnie said...

Now, that's a COMPLETE learning experience!!

The creativeness of this is simply amazing. Thanks for sharing the process. And J is completely cute with his "go-den yion terry-am".

I bet your bigger boys even enjoyed to video of the real ones at the zoo...or maybe not...might have sparked a, "When can we go?"

As always, you did a nice job of recreating your experience for us to share in, too!

Lee, Michelle, Cooper 4 and Allie 3 said...

so cute! Love it that you 'had' to make yours - home-made always turns out to be such fun and better looking than the store bought.

Lydia said...

AWESOME post. I haven't been on in a while. You're blogs are so great! THanks for sharing. Joey is super cute and you are super creative!

Rachel said...

ack!!! that is the cutest little diorama i have ever seen!!! awesome job!