Luke and I spent some time this afternoon re-creating a scene from the children's book Acorns Everywhere by Kevin Sherry.
It's a fun story about a squirrel who hurriedly hides his acorns in the ground because winter is coming. When he is finished hiding them all, his tummy rumbles from hunger and he suddenly realizes he can't remember where he hid all the acorns. There aren't many words in the story so it's definitely more toddler/preschool level. The illustrations really tell the story well though, so not much need for more words.
We've also read the story Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert this week. It's about a rascally squirrel who is up to all sorts of tricks during summer time in the city. He digs and eats and zips and hides, but when he sneaks inside an apartment window, a little boy comes up with a nutty solution to get him out.
To make our craft I started by finding this free squirrel template at All Kids Network and printed it out 8x10 size and made sure to click the option to make sure all of the picture fit in the dimensions (it made it a bit smaller which was what I wanted). The original template has eyes and a nose drawn on it but I wanted to make my own so I opened it up in Paint and erased them before printing it out. I don't think it is really necessary though because the paint and things I added probably would have covered them up anyways.
After cutting out all the pieces we painted them using a pom-pom attached to a clothespin. Not only do my kids think it's fun to paint this way, but by dabbing it with the pom-pom it gave it more texture looking more like fur on the animal.
I forgot to get pictures of how I made my acorns but I simply used the acorn in the template to trace 10 of them on brown construction paper. Then we used dark brown paint to paint the tops of them. I drew a light pencil mark at the top so Luke knew where to stop painting.
While the paint was drying we assembled our layered background. I started by cutting a large hill out of light colored green paper and glued it onto our blue construction paper background.
Then I created another smaller hill in dark green construction paper. It was the same width of the blue paper so it made it easy. On one end of it I also cut out a section of it just like in the book where we could bury some of our acorns.
Only glue half of the dark green hill onto your paper at first so you can see where to glue on your acorns inside the hole.
After gluing down the acorns in the hole, glue the rest of the hill down.
Next we used some brown paint to paint a tree on top of our hills, just like in the story. We also cut out some orange leaves and added them to the tree, along with a couple acorns.
At this point our squirrel's were all dry so we glued all the sections together and glued it onto our background page. We also glued the rest of our acorns on the page, including one in the squirrel's hand.
Lastly, we added details to the face. We could still see the smile outline from the template so we traced it with a black marker. For the nose I cut off a small piece from a black pom-pom and we glued it on and then we glued on a googly eye.
Luke insisted on having a red squirrel. It's his favorite color so of course I didn't resist and it turned out so cute!