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Monday, August 16, 2010

Kids Crafts : Chenille Stem Critters

Kids Crafts Chenille Stem Critters Pipe Cleaner creatures

Chenille Stems aka Pipe Cleaners are quite versatile and can be used in many crafts as they can be bent and shaped easily. There is a thin wire surrounded by soft chenille, but the ends are still sharp and can poke if we are not careful when handling it.

Working with these chenille stems can be a sort of Zen like activity - coiling, twisting, bending, looping - all of these have a simple rhythm and a soothing effect, as long as one is not hung-up on getting things "perfect".

Since afternoons are free play time, and since Ana's craft cubby is usually well-stocked with pom-poms, feathers, Popsicle sticks, Chenille stems, googly-eyes, glitter, tissue paper, glue, beads, bells, rocks, pebbles, craft gems, found objects and what-not, it was only a matter of time before this activity suggested itself to her.

I didn't bother presenting project ideas to her. The end-product's virtues are not as high in my ranking as having her figure things out for herself as best as she can. So, these critters may not quite look like their real life inspiration, but, from my vantage point the five-year-old had fun for the 60 to 90 minutes she was engaged in thinking about these creatures and shaping them as best as she could independently, free from my usually well-intentioned interference.

There are lots of websites offering instruction for making Pipe Cleaner things - like flowers, animals, people , Christmas tree ornaments like Christmas tree, candy cane - some are quite intricate involving coiling and shaping multiple stems to create a final product.

The nice thing is, after she is done and she has shown it off to Appa and has let it sit on her shelf for a few days, she is willing to let me undo it, so I can reclaim the pipe cleaners. I meticulously untwist and uncoil them and smooth them out and save them in her cubby for another day: Reuse. Recycle.

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