We LOVE stuffed animals in our home, mainly because we don’t/can’t have live pets instead. However, I have simply loved, loved, loved stuffed pets since I was a baby. I still do. My child… my actual child, loves these cuddly babies, too. Friends have gifted all of us stuffed babies over the years. We have “pets” in storage and in the attic. We have given away fluffy loved ones to consignment stores. Yet we STILL have tons and tons of stuffed animals in the house that we simply can’t seem to part with. Lots of them are jam-packed in a bottomless toy box, but they are still here with us. So, what does one do with piles of “puppies” each yearning for attention?
Well, you can create lessons, activities, and projects to give each of them their personalized moments to be preened and groomed. Or you can photograph them in a makeshift, kid-powered runway! Oh there are ENDLESS ways to share special moments and make monumental memories with your real babies and your cotton-stuffed babies, all at the same time!
Try these wonderful activities before you part with your “babies” for good:
(1) Pet Party (LEISURE)
Gather all your buddies around a table (or picnic blanket on the floor), play fun music, spread out the play or plastic tea party eatware, and serve them cereal or crackers from your local dollar store, and watch them (and your real babies) have a BLAST together while you take tons of pictures and videos
(2) WriteShop (LANGUAGE ARTS)
If you’ve discovered the writing curriculum “WriteShop” like we have, then you’ll love using one of your stuffed babies as your subject for learning to “describe an object” (lesson). Let your student choose one or two of his most favorite and most missed pets to walk through the description activity. (Read more about games we play that reinforce language arts here.)
(3) Photo Gallery (ARTS & CRAFTS)
Whether you have a smart phone with a great built-in camera or an old school camera, give the spotlight your forever-buddies deserve by taking “runway” photos of each and every one of them. You can then upload the images to print or scrapbook, creating a “photo album of friends.” Or, you could print a few to paste in a “hello” or “thank you” card to send to a loved one, from “all of us.” That’s guaranteed to ensure a big and bright smile on the recipient’s face!
We also incorporate our favorite friends in our art projects during school time sometimes, too. On days that we want to paint but don't have a pre-determined subject, we have painted our friends (seen below). Sometimes we've practiced line drawing using just pencil and our favorite markers, SHARPIE! (see illustration below). (Read more about our love and uses of Sharpie here, and read more about how we immortalize our furry friends through art here, in our "Item of the Week" [IOW] series.)
(4) Order in the Court! (THEATER ARTS)
My son enjoys setting up courtroom scenes with all stuffed pets as jurors and judges, and creating hilarious, outrageous “pet problems” to be gaveled upon in his kangaroo court! Talk about MEMORIES! (Click here to read more about ways to involve your pets in other activities.)
(5) HISTORY of Things
If you’re in the mood to do a little “school work,” try researching the history of several parts and material of stuffed animals – cotton, plastic, stitching, even fur. If you’d like to take it a step further, learn about where the name “teddy bear” originated, or find certain countries on the map that many of the babies originated. You will have covered history, geography, and improved on research skills. (Click here to read more on creating fun unit studies in order to give your "History a Make-over"
(6) BONUS DEAL
If you choose to do the “History of Things,” and if you’re like us and have never actually been to “Build-a-Bear” before, this may be a good day to skip to your nearest mall to see the teddy bear building process on a small scale, and to add just one more brand new baby to the bunch before you part with the others!
There are many, many ways to incorporate lessons into your daily plans using fun items such as family buddies! Just remember to take lots of photos and footage before you ship them off to Goodwill or Salvation Army to live with new family and friends.
How do you share special, lasting moments with your (fake) furry friends? Do you incorporate them into your homeschool studies? If so, what subjects do they fit in best and how do you use them? Please leave your comments and thoughts in the comments section below.
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“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Teddy Bear Dilly Days include "Teddy Bear Picnic Day" here, and "National Teddy Bear Day" here.
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