Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Polar paper mache and instant snow

We have been thinking about the polar regions a lot over the past week and doing a project I had been saving for a snowy time of year. The idea came from this book, which has some other lovely ideas I will be using. The project in the book is for Antarctica but Harry wanted ours to be the Arctic and Antarctic so we could use polar bears and penguins at the same time!
We watched Snow Babies, which is a documentary I recorded that was on BBC over Christmas. We also read parts of a book from the library about penguins. We liked a page showing all the different kinds of penguin in a line to show their relative size and features.

We created a paper mache polar landscape by scrunching up newspaper and covering a piece of stiff card (I used an unfolded Amazon delivery wrapper) with mountainous icebergs and valleys. We then added smooth layers of newspaper to join it all together and covered it with a glue/water mixture.

Once dry, we gave it a few coats of white paint and added shiny blue and silver paper in the valleys to represent pools of water between the ice.

Harry made some polar animals from air drying clay to live in the model and painted them - penguins, whale and seal.

So the model was finished and we were very happy with it and then the fun really began. I had bought some instant snow powder from Baker Ross with my Christmas order and we hadn't used it yet so we got some out to make it snow on our model. This stuff is amazing! 50ml of water and 1 tiny scoop of powder creates a few handfuls of fluffy fake snow (looks a bit like dessicated coconut) in seconds. 

The boys played with this for 2 hours this afternoon! We hid polar animals in the snow and talked about camouflage and how they might evade hunters if they dig deep enough not to be smelled. We talked about polar bears having huge paws to spread their weight over the slippery snow. Peter had a great time transferring snow between pots.

The Octonauts got involved and we had several rescues from snowdrifts caused by blizzards. 

Trucks then came along to help clear up and loaded and bulldozed snow for a while. We talked about why it would be important to clear roads after snow (using the book Katy and The Big Snow as the basis) and what services are essential - police, hospital, airports etc.

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