Does your little one dream of far off places filled with unusual creatures, like camels walking across the desert sands of Egypt? Let's face it; you're probably not going to plan a trip to Cairo, but you can put together a few activities about desert animals. Even if you aren't the most crafty person in the world, you don't have to just read about these animals in a book. Although reading to your tot is great, you can make learning even more enjoyable through hands-on activities.
1. Desert Snake Crafts
Desert snakes leave beautiful patterns on the sand -- they look just like ripples on water. Replicate this look by pouring sand into a jelly roll pan and dragging a piece of string back and forth in a rippling manner. Or, make a paper snake with your child by linking paper strips together; glue on a forked tongue cut from red construction paper. Create a cute thumbprint snake by pressing your child's thumb into washable ink, then stamping it repeatedly across a sheet of craft paper to create a slithering snake. Make the picture look like the snake is in the desert by applying glue with a glue stick to the areas around the thumbprint snake, then sprinkling on sand.
2. Desert Camel Crafts
Typically seen in the deserts of Africa and the Middle East, camels can vary in appearance -- some having only one hump and others having two. Give your child a stencil of a camel, and show him how to color in the stencil on paper; glue brown pom poms on top of each of the camel's humps. Or, create a camel using an egg carton. Cut out three egg carton sections, keeping two of the sections attached to each other. Turn the attached sections upside down for the body, and allow your child to clip four clothespins around the outside for the camel's legs. Clip another clothespin onto the remaining egg carton section which will become the head, and glue the other end of the clothespin onto one end of the other two sections. Let your child paint the egg carton camel using brown tempera paint.
3. Desert Spider Crafts
You might not like the spiders that you see crawling around your house, but just think about the giant spiders that live in the deserts of Australia. Although your little one will never have to encounter a desert tarantula crawling under her bed, she can certainly make one with craft materials. Show your child how to color the outside of a foam cup with markers, then poke eight chenille sticks into the sides of the upturned cup to make a creepy foam spider. Or, make a candy desert spider by sticking licorice strings into a giant marshmallow -- best of all, you and your little one can eat this spider after you make it.
4. Desert Tortoise Crafts
The tortoise can live in super dry climates such as the deserts of North America by eating succulent plants and can come in a wide variety of sizes. When you craft tortoises with toddlers, you can make them different sizes as well. Make a large tortoise your child can sit in by letting her decorate the outside of a cardboard box with paint or markers; attach smaller boxes with masking tape to create the head and legs. Make a smaller tortoise by allowing your tot to paint six smooth stones, five small and one large, with tempera paint and then help her glue them together.
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