Monday, May 14, 2012

Eagle Handprints

I'm back with another week full of bird crafts! (The very first theme I shared on my blog just over a year ago was birds. Check those crafts out here!) After all the talk about the Decorah eaglets in my class, how could I not teach them about bald eagles? So that's what we learned about today. I even got out the measuring tape to show how big they are. (Females are bigger than males and can be 3 feet tall and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet!) You should have seen the eyes pop of the kids' heads when we measured 7 feet across!!
I found this cute eagle handprint at Mind Games, but I changed it a little.
Here's how we made it. First I painted the kids' hands brown, but painted their thumbs white.
They pressed one hand down with their fingers together and thumb out, then they pressed the other hand on the opposite side.
Those are the wings and tail. (Mind Games had a brown tail, but I like the white because bald eagles have white tails.) Then, after the kids washed, I painted the side of their fist white to make the neck/head.
I liked how the curve of the pinky looked. Mind Games used a fingerprint for the beak, but I wanted to try using the pinky, since I'm already painting the fist anyway. So I put a little yellow paint on the pinky.
Not bad, but it was a little long. So next I tried only painting a little bit of the pinky, and made sure the child curled it when they made their fist stamp.

Ahh, much better. When they were dry, the kids used oil pastels (love them!) to make an eye and draw in a background.
We ended up with some beautiful bald eagles!

I love how this next one has a tree with a nest and eggs!
And food in its mouth!
I always start my bird unit with this book:
Funny Faces, Wacky Wings, and other Silly Big Bird Things by Cynthia Copeland. It has great pictures and shows a variety of birds, including the now extinct dodo. The kids love it!

Fun Fact: Bald eagles mate for life and many return to the same nest every year, always adding to it and making it bigger. Typically the nests are 5-6 feet in diameter and 3 feet tall. But a nest used for decades can be much, much bigger! (Yep, we got out the measuring tape again!)

**View the Decorah Eagles here. They are getting so big!**

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