The Fairy Party – invent an animal

by Deb on September 14, 2009

My big girl is having a fairy party for her birthday and we are using it as the latest theme for our play.  I’ve been writing a series about it over at Fusion Parenting as well, and there are more specifics of the fairy tree going up there too!

“Invent an Animal” is something I generally do with students in Year 7 or 8, because there is a whole section on adaptation and habitat they learn then and it is a great way to get them to see how it is all interconnected.  But it’s something that can be done with young children, it just depends how much detail you ask them for and how you talk to them while they’re doing it.  I’m putting lots of detail in the questions to make them useful for older kids, for younger ones just move on to the next thing when they start to lose interest.

It can be done in all sorts of different ways.  I generally do a poster with descriptions at school because diagrams and descriptions are part of scientific literacy.  But at home you can lash out, take photos, make models, cook food even!  We decided to do a diorama, something that’s relatively easy for a little one because it has lots of gluing and sticking rather than drawing.

We’re doing fairies, since an almost 4 year old isn’t up to inventing their own imaginary animal yet!  As an aside, it’s a very good idea to check with your kids periodically that they know which animals are real and which are pretend – think about it, how are they supposed to know the cows in their books are real and the dragons aren’t?

Animal

Get an idea of what sort of animal they are interested in.  Either choose their favourite imaginary or mythological animal or older kids can make one up.  Most start with some sort of composite animal like a minotaur, unicorn, pegasus, or dragon.

Habitat

  • Where does your animal live?  Tease it out to have as much detail as you can.
  • What sort of plants are there?
  • Where do they sleep?
  • What other animals are around?
  • Do they have to hide from anything?
  • What about the sun? Do they get too hot?
  • Where do they get their water?

Refining the Animal

  • Food
    • What do they eat?
    • How do they find/catch it?
    • What sort of teeth/mouth do they need?
  • Sleep
    • Do they make a home/nest/burrow?
    • What sort of body do they need for that eg dragging, digging etc.
  • Groups
    • What sort of groups do they live in?
    • How do they all work together? or How do they find each other?
    • How do they have babies?

As you can see, this has the potential to get huge.  It is definitely one for talking and doing together, because that is where most of the fun will happen.  The idea is to get them to see that there are reasons for things – animals are the shape they are because it helps them find food, or they live where they do to protect themselves, or they need feathers to keep them warm.

The Fairy Tree

So here it is:

complete tree

It has lots of flowers and leaves, because that’s what fairies eat.  It also has some as beds, one can be seen down in the bottom corner.  The fairies themselves are hanging on strings.

Top of tree with insects and fish

This is the top of the tree with some of the other animals that live with them.  I’m still not sure why the fish are up there, as far as I can tell they are sparkly and look pretty and that’s where they wanted to go.

Water at the bottom of the tree

And down the bottom is a little pond with grass around it.  She spent a lot of time after we finished flying the fairies down to drink water, then up to eat some flowers, then putting them to sleep in their beds.  Then she took them over to her party countdown calendar so they could visit with their friends – that was completely independent!  And she gravely informed me that if they needed to drink in the middle of the night they could call her and she would come and get them out of bed to take them to the water 😀

This is just one example.  Think of all the millions of imaginary animals and habitats you could make and play with.

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