One part science, one part art, mobiles make fun art projects for creative kids and fascinating studies for curious minds. Help your child bend plain pipe cleaners or craft wire into bug shapes as varied and diverse as the creepy crawlies that inspired them. String them up into a mobile and hang them outside, then watch them take flight as the wind catches them and sends them skyward.
2 wooden dowels or fallen sticks gathered from outside
Thin string or thread
What You Do:
Bend the pipe cleaners or wire into butterfly and bug shapes. Help your child bend and twist the pipe cleaners or wire into simple shapes such as circles, ovals, or triangles, then twist these together to form a complete bug. Don't worry if they don't look "real": this activity should be experimental and exploratory.
Cut several pieces of string or thread in different lengths.
Tie one string to each bug.
Place one wooden dowel or stick over the other in the shape of a plus sign (+). Lash them together by wrapping string around the cross section where the two overlap. Tie tightly to secure.
Tie another piece of string to the dowels over the lashing. You'll use this string to hang the mobile.
Tie the bugs to the mobile frame, spacing them evenly around so they hang freely.
Hang the finished mobile outside on a breezy day. Ask your child to hypothesize (make a prediction) about what will happen when the wind blows it. Will it spin? Will it sway back and forth?
Erica Loop has an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.