We recently completed this snake themed invitation to create, which my kids LOVED, as part of our pond theme this month.
This is a simple Invitation to Create that can be replicated without special materials (though I love that MGT delivers ours right to the door!)
As always, please remember that an invitation to create is an open ended, process based activity. The product may (in fact likely will) look nothing like a snake, if there is a product at all.
As adults, we are gathering materials that we might be able to make into a craft project resembling a snake.
To the kids, we are giving them free reign over beads, straws, and pipe cleaners; which is way more fun for them than telling them they have to make a snake!
The photo of the snake is provided simply for inspiration and as a conversation starter.
Conversations that happen while the kids enjoy creating art and possibly a mess, are often some of the most valuable learning moments in our home.
Invitations to Create are perfect for generating those conversations, often about the planned topics, but sometimes about something else entirely and that’s OK.
They’re learning and you’re connecting. Enjoy!
You Will Need:
- water snake photo as inspiration (look through google images for a water snake)
- pipe cleaner
Set the Inspiration Photo in the center of the table.
Provide each child a straw, pipe cleaner, and some beads.
If your child struggles to get started or needs some additional help or seems interested in conversing more about the snake in the picture these prompts are great. They are NOT meant to redirect or avoid your child creating his own non-snake themed masterpiece
- Where is the snake in the photo?
- How do you think the snake’s skin feels?
- Why do you think a snake sheds its skin?
- How will you decorate your pipe cleaner to look like a snake?
I’ve got two kids who participated in this project: Owl, my little boy is three years old and Ladybug, my little girl is four years old.
I always let them choose whether they want to play or not. Outdoor play or quiet place elsewhere while the project is going on is totally fine.
My one year old is playing with his soft blocks in his playpen, because pony beads are still too small for him.
Exploring the Materials
First the kids explored the beads and the pipe cleaners.
The straws very quickly went into their mouths and they blew air through the straws to make some obnoxious high pitched noises that they of course thought were wonderful. I looked out the window and waited till they were done…lol
If the “music making” had continued, I might have offered to get out their harmonics or glockenspiels and let them just do music for a while.
Fortunately, they very quickly returned to the pipe cleaners and perhaps because they’ve had plenty of practice making bead jewelry, they started to thread the beads onto the pipe cleaner. Awesome fine motor! And if you look quickly you can see my daughter even started to make a pattern of one color, the two of the same color, then a different color, then two of the same color……etc.
Then we took another closer look at the beads using the same magnifying glass we used to examine the pond water.
My son also threaded his beads onto the pipe cleaner, but was also very interested in the straw.
To his delight the straws provided by Mother Goose Time were big enough to slide over the pipe cleaners AND the beads.
They also made a great noise when you shook the pipe cleaner with the beads inside the straw.
My daughter then decided that the noise the beads made sounded just like a rattle and she knows about rattle snakes from our time learning about the desert with Mother Goose Time. So, she decided to make a rattle. In the above picture you can see how she created a rattle on the back of the pipe cleaner.
She also cut part of the straw to create the rattle, but then decided she liked it better as a head. She drew two eyes on the head and then added a red bead for a tongue.
She folded the pipe cleaner over the red bead to hold the tongue in place.
She was not in the mood to have her picture taken, so I respected her wishes and her little brother helped me a take a quick picture of their “snakes” before the exciting and fun process of deconstruction occurred. Those are his cute little fingers and toes in above picture.
Some of the most creative things happen when I let my kids play and further examine their creations.
I’ve learned the hard way that I missed out on tons of learning with my kids when I took their creation and stuck it up on the mantle. It did nothing for them up there and eventually made its way to the trash.
Now, I just take a picture, which the kids are typically OK with my keeping for their “portfolio” i.e. look what we did today Daddy, and then let them enjoy the materials before putting them in the trash.
My son discovered that the beads rolled down the straw and he had a great time trying to roll them into a container that I had provided to help contain the beads in deference to the baby. Notice that almost no beads are actually in the container….lol……
We started cutting the straw, because he was interested in making a snake head the way his sister had, but got distracted because he thought it looked like a ramp and he wanted to see if he could tape it back together to get the beads back into the container. He wanted to make a “cannon.”
The beads kept getting stuck in the taped together straw “cannon” or “bead chute” depending on the minute. This frustrated him, but his sister came up with a solution.
They discovered that “air power” blowing into the straws made the beads shoot out the other end. They had successfully created their cannons.
And completely foiled my plans of all beads staying in their containers, a small price to pay for this kind of fun and creativity.
We had beads EVERYWEHRE as payment for our laughter and fun. So, we put on some music and “played” bead pick up. I told them that every bead they picked up they could use to play with again at another time.
The kids really enjoyed this activity and did pick up all the beads to save with the other leftover materials (pipe cleaners, and straw pieces) to play with another day.
We curled up what was left of our “snakes” and put them in a little empty container that used to hold cream cheese. I stuck them in the craft closet to explore another day.
What fun have you been having in your home school?
I try to hard to share activities with you that you can easily reproduce in your home school.
Mother Goose Time makes it easy to do all kinds of activities I simply wouldn’t have the time and energy to put together otherwise.
If you wish to learn more about Mother Goose Time, you might want to check out my What’s in the Box post or my post on Why We Really Use Mother Goose Time!
The image below is perfect for pinning: