Both L and A have been fascinated by the ocean and its inhabitants for a while now. They want to read books on ocean creatures, watch ocean documentaries, do sea creature craft, and watch The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo over and over and over… They also want some pet fish, but we just don’t have a good place where we could keep a fish tank at the moment, not with Baby T learning to climb on everything and pull things over. We improvised instead, and made some little aquariums using paper plates to hang in their rooms.
Painting the plate blue.
First, the kids painted one of the plates blue to represent the water in their aquariums. This was fairly quick, but of course, we had to wait until they were dry. While that happened, the kids started colouring in their sea creatures with markers. L only coloured in a few of her creatures, as she only wanted to make one aquarium, but as A wanted to make two, she coloured all of hers in. I found the undersea creatures to colour in on the Crayola site. There are lots of colouring pages available to print there.
L cutting out her fish.
L only needed a little bit of help cutting her sea creatures out, but A asked me to do hers after she almost cut off the fish’s head. We used crepe paper to make sea weed, I just cut a few different green shades and some brown into strips. The kids glued some seaweed on, and then added their sea creatures. They both added some more strips of seaweed after this, making some of the animals appear to be hiding in the sea weed. This was their idea, and I love it.
Adding sea weed.
Gluing on sea creatures.
I made the lids for the aquariums using a second paper plate. I cut the centre out, leaving just the ridged bit around the edge. Then I taped some plastic cling wrap over the plate, creating a clear cover for the aquarium. We stuck the two paper plates together at the edges using tape, added some string to the top of each aquarium and hung them up.
This is a fun and interesting way to serve cocktail frankfurts. A friend of mine served these at an undersea themed birthday party last year, and I just had to try them for myself.
Surprisingly easy to make, the kids often ask for their frankfurts to be made into octopuses now. I use a sharp knife to cut into each frankfurt starting from about half-way up, slicing through the bottom half length-ways. Then I turn the frankfurt around and cut it through again, so now the bottom half is in quarters lengthways. Then each quarter is cut in half again to make eight tentacles. I have found it just as easy to cut through the two opposite quarters of the frankfurt at the same time, as it is to tackle each quarter separately.
Cut up ready to cook.
Cooking in the pot.
Once the frankfurts are cooking, either on the stove top, or in the microwave, the tentacles will start to curl up and out, giving the frankfurts an octopus look.
The kids like to have tomato sauce with their frankfurts. They dip the octopus’ tentacles into the sauce and bite them off. While they were eating, I heard a lot of “I have a four-leg octopus” and “I have a no leg octopus!”. L even exclaimed she had a “no-head octopus” after she bit the top off her frankfurt.
Frankfurt octopuses ready to eat.
These wonderful jelly-fish were made using a paper bowl and scraps of various yarns, cotton, and ribbons. The ribbons were all collected from gifts we had been given for birthdays last year and were just sitting in the craft box awaiting their final purpose. It’s great when we can re-use something like that in our craft pursuits.
Painting the top of the jelly-fish.
We ended up making three jelly-fish. First we painted the bowls, L picked orange, A picked blue and purple. I ended up finishing off the purple one though, as A got a bit tired of using the tiny detail brush she’d decided to paint with. She chose a much thicker brush for the blue paint, which allowed her to paint the bowl more quickly and easily.
While the bowls dried we sorted out our tentacles. I thought the jelly-fish would look better with tentacles of varying lengths, so I wasn’t very particular about the length of the pieces as I cut them up. I placed the tentacles into two piles, one for each child, so that they each had a range of different tentacles to choose from. I ended up needing to cut more yarn up as we ran out before we had finished. Some of the yarn was feathers, and some was a powderpuff yarn that was fluffy. I thought these yarns looked really good on the jelly-fish, and it gave them a bit more variety and texture, than if we’d just used plain yarns.
Taping on tentacles.
To stick the tentacles onto the bowl, we used sticky tape. The kids made bundles of several tentacle pieces together in some sticky tape, and then they taped that to the inside edge of the bowl. I found that it was easiest to use a longer length of tape, stick the tops of the tentacles along it, and then fold it over to form a rectangle of tape housing a number of tentacles, and then tape that section into the bowl. We continued doing this all the way around the edge of the bowl to give the jelly-fish a good coverage of tentacles.
Decorating with markers.
L and A used some permanent markers to decorate the top of their jelly-fish. We also stuck on some googly eyes to the side of the bowl.
We hung the jelly-fish up in their rooms, and they look great with their tentacles wafting about in the breeze.
I love crafting with paper plates, they have so many uses 🙂 This time we used them to make fish. A whole plate for its body, and a quarter plate for its tail. I cut a triangle out of L’s for a mouth, but A decided to draw a mouth on for herself. The kids used collage materials and paint pens to decorate their fish. Once they were dry I punched a hole in the top of them so that we could attach some string and hang them up.
Adding pom poms.
Sticking on tissue paper.
A’s fish hanging up.
Sticking the tentacles on.
Making balloon octopuses (octopi?) is a quick and easy after school craft activity. All you need is some balloons, tape, crepe paper (or streamers or tissue paper) and permanent markers. I blew up a balloon for A, but L blew her own up, and tied it off. I added string to the knot so that the octopuses could be hung up.
Drawing a face onto her octopus.
They each cut up some crepe streamers into eight pieces for the tentacles (another opportunity to practice some counting!). Then they used tape to stick these on around the bottom of the balloon. A used the permanent markers to draw a face, including hair, ears and cheeks, while L covered her balloon in red spots, and told me it was a ‘red-ring octopus’. L also put some red spots on the tentacles. They had to be careful not to use too much pressure when drawing on the balloons so they didn’t pop. A glued a few pieces of pink tissue paper to the back of hers to make it pretty.
Once they were finished, I used blu-tack to stick the strings to the roof so that the tentacles hang down and swish in the breeze.
A smiley octopus.
A spotty octopus hanging from the ceiling.