"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

make-it-yourself: spooky skeletons

Well, today was the day. The day I earned yet another stripe as a Real Mom: I got The Call from the school nurse. Evan had fallen asleep during Work Choice Centers. In the middle of the room and the kids and the noise. Imagine my lack of surprise when the nurse told me that he had a fever. It's sort of his thing, is it not? Max is my respiratory illness kid, Evan's my fever kid. Molly's my doesn't-get-sick kid (knocking on wood that her healthy streak continues!).

So by lunchtime, all of my babies were home with me as the rain poured down in sheets outside our windows. It was a snuggly, cuddly, sure-we-can-read-another-book kind of afternoon. And, of course, because it IS mid-September, those books were all spooky, spooky Halloween books. We are celebrating EARLY this year. Max has already made a fall/Halloween themed stained glass, cut-paper Jack o' Lanterns, a Five Little Pumpkins ("and their pet spooky ooky bats") mural, and two Happy Halloween posters. And Evan has enjoyed looking at Max's artful decorations.

While we read Eve Bunting's Scary, Scary Halloween, Max pointed to the skeleton. "When's that guy gonna come?" I told him that he's just a boy in a costume, and maybe we'll see a kid in a skeleton costume on Halloween. Then, to blow his mind, I added, "But you know, each of us has a skeleton inside us all the time. Feel your arm....that hard part's your skeleton bone!" His eyes got wide as he asked, almost breathlessly, "How'd he get in there?" To which his big brother responded, "He didn't get in there, Max. It's just a part of your Human Body. Don't you remember Miss Frizzle and the Human Body?" (We're big Magic School Bus fans around here, too, of course.)

So we talked a bit more about bones and we felt our bones in our arms, legs, heads, and chest, and then....brainstorm:


We pulled that butcher paper back out and got to work making our own spooky skeletons. I did open our Halloween books to pages with skeleton illustrations, and we did spend a few more minutes feeling our bones before we got to work, but once I finished tracing their outlines, I stepped back and let them get to work...

Here are Max's rib bones...and look at his spine!


Max consulted the book illustrations for guidance, while Evan added extra touches, like spooky fingernails...


 ...and a skeleton face...
(check out his hand bones...)



When I saw him drawing circles around his bones, I asked about them. "They're white blood cells," he said. How appropriate coming from a kid who's own white blood cells were hard at work today...


Lesson Learned:
This was fun. And it was art! And science! And they'll be great Halloween decorations! And....well, they sort of look like crime scene chalk outlines. Maybe next time we'll use white paint instead of crayons, to make the bones pop a bit more.


Actually....if we're all feeling up for it, I think we'll do that tomorrow. Or Q-tips! We could glue Q-tips and straws on their crayon lines to show that different bones are different lengths! Oh, the places we could go with this activity. Good thing we have PLENTY of time until Halloween...

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