Z is for Zebra (summer holiday activities)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Summer holidays are here! I've helped Isla to make a list of all the things that she'd like to do in the coming weeks. It looks a little like this:

  • make slime
  • bake biscuits
  • painting
  • playdoh pizzas
  • painting
  • go to the aquarium
  • stickers
  • painting
Clearly she has her priorities straight. We did try out some slime (I'll post about that later) but it has since been acquired by her younger brother and she wants some more. Blue, mama. Blue is my favourite colour. Five minutes ago her favourite colour was pink,

The folks from Education.com got in touch and asked if I'd be interested in trying out one of their kids' activities during the holidays so I figured why not? It's a fun crafty activity looking at alphabet letters which is just up Isla's street.

She's started singing her very favourite song, The ABC Song as she calls it, and I can't stop laughing when she gets to the end. Instead of "now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me?" she has her own version. It goes like this: ... x y z, Now I know my ABCs, d e f g h i ... ". It's a loop, she misses out the "next time won't you sing with me" and launches straight back into another recitation of the alphabet. It can go on for about fifteen minutes before she realises what she's done. It is probably the best thing ever.

This is what crafting during the school holidays is supposed to look like. Credit to Education.com for sending me this pic as guidance for our Z is for Zebra Activity.

So back to "Z" is for Zebra! You can download the activity here if you want to try it out too. Here's what they say:

Don't let alphabet practice turn into catching zzz's. Paint up a zany Z zebra and inject a little excitement into learning letters. Little kids love the hands-on fun of painting, and it's great exercise for small hand muscles, helping to strengthen them for writing. Paint up a stripy zebra and let the alphabet fun begin.

What You Need:
  • Books containing photographs or illustrations of zebras
  • White construction paper
  • Black tempera paint
  • Thin paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue or glue stick
What You Do:
  1. Begin by researching zebras. Look at the photos or illustrations of zebras in the books with your child and talk about what they see. Encourage them to describe the zebra's shape, size, and appearance to you.
  2. Place the construction paper in front of them. Help them cut out large shapes to form a zebra. Ask them to choose shapes for the head, neck, body, legs, and tail. Cut out ears and facial feature shapes as well.
  3. Glue the shapes onto a new sheet of construction paper. Encourage them to assemble the shapes into the form of a zebra first before adding any glue. Putting the zebra together is kind of like a puzzle!
  4. Once the zebra's body is glued down, paint on the stripes. Squeeze out a little black tempera paint and have him paint stripes on the zebra's body.
  5. While they paint, talk about the letter Z. What sound does Z make? Look at the zebras in the books again. Do they see how the stripes zigzag across the zebra's body similar to the letter Z?
  6. After they paint all the stripes, help them paint a large letter Z at the top of the page.
  7. Set the painting aside to dry.
  8. Hang the zany zebra on the wall to keep them company as they learn the other letters of the alphabet.
This made me chuckle a bit. It's a lovely activity, but can you imagine doing this kind of focused - and neat - painting activity with an I-know-better-than-you-mum almost-three-year-old?  No. We changed it a little, and used a colouring-in zebra (this one here) and crayons instead.

Isla focussed beautifully, colouring in the zebra with the black crayon. That is, until she noticed that there were other colours. Zebras are also purple, mama, with glitter. 

She might be on to something. Still, it was a fun activity, and kept her busy for about half an hour. The glitter was the main attraction. We spoke at length about zzz noises and zzz words, what zebras sound like, where they live, and which other zebras we know (Zoe Zebra from Peppa Pig was - of course - at the top of the list, along with her twin sisters Zaza and Zuzu). I can see how this activity would be a lot of fun if Isla was 3, or a bit older, to do the cutting out and piecing together. For now, colouring in will do just fine.

I think it will be a lot of fun to spell out the alphabet for her little art gallery, although perhaps we'll start small and spell her name. I think I can handle that much glitter.

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