Nugget & Fang

Children tend to be fascinated with certain creatures – dinosaurs, monsters, robots, fairies etc. In our family this week it is sharks!

We received a gifted box of books from Scholastic this week. One of the big favourites from the selection has been “Nugget & Fang”. Fang is responsible for the Shark love happening in the house now. Which is totally understandable, because quite frankly, Fang is very loveable sort of shark. His best friend is a little minnow called Nugget. And if you think it’s an unlikely combination, the other minnows in the ocean and Nugget’s school teacher’s would agree with you.

After enjoying a wonderful friendship with Fang, Nugget is surprised to learn at school that he should not be friends with sharks. To be precise and quote the book, “Nugget was shocked. (And apparently delicious.)”  I love it when books that appeal to children have dialogue that is also appealing to an adult’s sense of humour also. Makes story reading a little less mind numbing! Do I hear an Amen? (Thankfully there is such a wide range of delightfully written books these days, so it’s generally easier to avoid the mind numbing episodes! 🙂 )

Oh, while I’m sharing my personal favourite parts of this book, let me also show you my favourite illustration. To get ahead of the story, Fang is devastated when Nugget accepts the status quo and avoids being friends with a shark. Fang unsuccessfully tries to prove he’s not scary. But the minnows gain respect for him after he rescues them from a fishing net. Although they were very surprised – staring in disbelief! *giggle* Don’t you just love their shocked wide open eyes?

This book has been very timely arriving in our house. With the start of school this week, Jonty has been adjusting to a new grouping of friends. My son finds forming new friendships tricky, and unfortunately his close friends are in the class next door. Which means he can still play with them at lunchtime, but at this age level, there is a certain mysterious dynamic which makes most children naturally hang out with kids from their own class.

“Nugget and Fang” was a lovely starting point to talk with him – and Trent, who next week will start Kindy, so he will be making new friends soon. This book introduced concepts of having fun together with friends, being aware of our friends feelings, and not accepting stereotypes.

This morning Trent asked if we could do some shark craft. I love it when reading inspires kids to do real life activities and to pursue further knowledge and learning. I found some lovely ideas on Pinterest, check out my board, Kids activities to keep kidlets busy, busy, busy. After being inspired by several cute designs, I thought I could utilise our own supply and make paper plate fish and make a box shark.

3 Minnows

The kids love doing craft and embraced the project enthusiastically.

Before long, it was obvious that I needed to step back and support their interest and enhance their learning by following their lead. The triplets saw the scissors, and were instantly captivated. They received some scissors for Christmas and love using them. Two years old is not too young to introduce scissors, although they do need specific teaching on safety behaviour.

So the fish were lovingly ‘fringed’ with lots of snips. Which is excellent for their fine motor skill development, not to mention a really useful skill to develop. When the triplet’s finished their fish, they continued doing paper plate collage, in full armour with a circular saw, of course. Well if one is going to get creative, you may as well go full hog!

And there was a lot more scissor work afterwards too.

The younger children decided themselves to colour in the centre of the fish plates. Even if it didn’t appear like it, they were making the connection with the book and their artwork, and referred to the book throughout the morning.

See Jayden pointing at “Fang”? So cute.

Trent embarked on the project to make a shark out of a box.

Can you see all the logical components of the shark? Fin on top, flippers on the side, the front is a blue mouth with top and bottom teeth. There’s also a tail stuck on the back. I’m so proud of his focus and concentration during this project.

I had cut a paper plate in half and showed him to cut little triangles to make sharp teeth. That turned out to be a little complex for him, but he still enjoyed manipulating the scissors and cut out a shape that he jubliantly declared as a mouth. I was about to offer my cutting, that decidedly looked more sharkish, when I remembered, that this was HIS creation, and it didn’t need to be perfect, and the process is more important than the outcome. In a world of Pinterest and picture perfect children’s activities, craft and parties, it is easy to forget this. I love Pinterest and almost die of cuteness overload some days when I’m on it. I’m not against helping your child to produce picture perfect things either,

just so long it’s not every.single.time and that your child is regularly allowed to be master of his or her creativeness. If there is a combination of parent led craft and child led craft, hopefully the child will gain techniques and ideas during the parent led craft that they can implement during their independently directed art – and play for that matter.

OK, rant over. (Although feel free to re-read the paragraph over again if you need to! Yes, I’m passionate about the topic!)

Fang the Shark as made by Trent.

So, I had a lovely time watching Trent create. We also introduced new words such as fin, tail and flippers. We examined the pictures in the book of what the shark looked like and then Trent would go and include it on his box shark. The only problem when he was finished was that he couldn’t play with it until the glue dried. That was a bummer But once it was all dry, he had a lovely time swimming it around the house.

After all that hard work, a picnic morning tea in a cubby house was very much enjoyed.

Do you find it hard or easy to give children free reign in creative projects?

Linking With Some Grace

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  1. Ha ha Emily. You make me laugh! I should add, when I give them free choice, I still have limited choices, they can’t break into the craft cupboard willy nilly. I wouldn’t be able to handle that!

  2. (“Fug” means a stuffy atmosphere, but I like the way Emily used it better!)

    It IS hard to let kids go off the beaten path with improvised craft, knowing that you’re going to have to love and display whatever craziness comes out, and then clean up!

  3. Yes, Emily has a way with words! Luckily my kids are more about the process then the display – most of the time, but it does mean they don’t always notice an artwork disappear!

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