My two and a half year old daughter is a handful. An adorable, loveable, sweet, curious handful, but a handful none the less. She is very smart and becomes under stimulated incredibly easily. And as everyone with a toddler should know under stimulation breeds misbehavior, tantrums, and a whole lot of unpleasantness all around. So in a hope to improve the general atmosphere of our home I have initiated Theme Weeks!
Each week we pick a theme and base our play and learning around it. This week I chose SNAILS. So instead of seeing my daughter struggle and wondering what activity I could do with her and getting overwhelmed by the mass quantity of possibilities on my Pinterest feed I narrowed it down by choosing one theme. This week whenever I noticed she needed a little something I first thought snails and from my own creativity and a little help from Snail Crafts on pinterest we were set. It was amazing how much easier it was to come up with fun ideas when I’d narrowed it down to one specific topic.
We started off by collecting three garden snails to be guests in our home for the week, and learned how to keep them moist and happy with a little help from Wikihow: How to Care for Garden Snails.
After carefully observing them in their new terrarium home we moved on to something we could get a little rougher with… Polymer Clay (we used Sculpey brand clay because it’s incredibly easy to manipulate). We rolled the clay into long snakes and then rolled the snakes into spiral snail shells, formed little snail bodies and added a set of copper wire eye stocks and were set to bake them. We followed the baking instructions from the side of the clay package and a half hour later we had fully cooked, solid and very hot snail toys. We let them cool for 15 minutes and they were ready to go.
After having a chat about Simple Snail Anatomy (Eye Stalk, Shell, Muscular Foot, Mouth) we got into a discussion about Escargot and she was inspired to do a little imaginative play in her kitchen.
We also had a snail inspired lunch of peanut butter and jelly rolls, banana slices and carrot slivers served on a bed of fresh baby spinach; it was a big hit, and way easier than you would think. When I was putting it together I was surprised to see that once all the elements were placed together it looked great, so don’t be intimidated and give it a try.
Having spent some time on snail anatomy I got to thinking about spiral shells and spirals in general so we spend an afternoon with our pens, crayons and paper drawing lots and lots of spirals and talking about how they go around and around and around. We also made spiral shell sun catchers by putting our own spin on this great little tutorial over at Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas about making coffee filter art.
By the end of the week my daughter could identify and draw a spiral tell you the basic anatomy of a snail, and is a much more pleasant, much happier, much less whiny little person who loves snails, and I feel like a great, attentive mother. Wins all around in my book.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment and/or ask questions