If you’re tired of seeing little handprints all over the walls, put them to better use with this cute, bird-themed craft! Everyone remembers the 1st grade “hand turkey” project every year at Thanksgiving — why not try your “hand” year-round at blue herons, ostriches or flamingos?
What You Do:
- Find some pictures for inspiration. There are many wildlife photos archived online — National Geographic’s wildlife photos are particularly good and often show the animals in their natural habitats. Print out or bookmark the photos so you can come back to them.
- Fill a paper plate with pink paint (for a flamingo), blue and gray (for a heron), and a combination of brown, gray and white (for an ostrich).
- Gently press your child’s hands into the paint, and then onto a clean piece of paper. This will serve as the body for your bird.
- You can elongate a thumbprint to make your bird a long neck, or simply use the thumbprint as it is for the bird’s head, as though the bird is looking backward over its shoulder. To extend your thumbprint to make a long neck, paint it into an S-shaped curve — herons, ostriches and flamingos are known for their long necks.
- Draw in a beak and legs. You may want to refer to your reference photos for this step. You can differentiate your heron by adding a long, dagger-like bill, your ostrich by adding distinctive tail feathers, and your flamingo by its one-legged stance.
- Add googly eyes, yarn, sequins, etc., to decorate your bird. Have your child sign his or her name and date to it so you can preserve their little handprints as a cute keepsake craft.
Want to extend the learning? Have your child do some research on bird environments and paint in appropriate backgrounds — an ostrich in the African desert, for instance, or a blue heron on the lakefront. Kids who aren’t afraid of getting a little dirty could add fun, realistic backdrops by gluing twigs, leaves and sand to their masterpieces.
M.L. Gordon has taught a wide range of subjects, from seventh grade drama to college-level English. She has a Master's in secondary education and currently teaches high school language arts in Arizona.