This week in preschool I planned a nocturnal animal theme. Bats and owls are always favorites as Halloween approaches, but I like to talk about the habitats and behaviors of the animals rather than focus on making holiday decorations.
Today was owl day. We sang owl songs made the cutest ever pine cone owls. You know it’s a great day when every single child does the art project. I love using natural materials to inspire the little sprouts (foam stickers are my enemy). For this craft we used pine cones, cotton, feathers, leaves, beans, and straw. The only pre-made items were the buttons, egg cartons (for the nests), and glue.
I showed a few children how to pull apart the cotton and stick it into the pine cone cracks – then as more children joined the art table, I asked the children who were already working to show the newcomers the first step. There was this great sense of leadership, cooperation, and discovery, as they made their baby owls together. The most magical part of this art project was watching the way the child started out casually handling a pine cone- then, as it transformed into a little baby owl, they began to cradle it gently in their little hands, like a fragile living creature. It was like magic, watching how each child had magically transformed an everyday object with their imagination!
During our project, if a child seemed hesitant or lost I might encourage them by asking what they needed. If they responded that they didn’t know, I might suggest “well, how will this little owl see?” and when they replied “eyes!” I might ask “What can we use for eyes?”. There was an amazing level of diversity in the baby owls that they made. One child scavenged the art bins for googly eyes. Another picked through all of the buttons until she isolated a couple of jewels to use. Some children used feathers (from my chickens, of course!) for wings, and others used leaves. Their processes amaze me, as usual!
They were inspired by our reading- one of my all time favorite books. Owl Babies. The whole time they were crafting their adorable owls they were telling me which owl from the book it was. So I came home and discovered that there is an animated version on YouTube! Then I discovered they have these for almost all of my favorite books. It’s like Reading Rainbow on demand! The little literacy loving child within my heart is ecstatic.