Tag Archives: Folkmanis puppets

Art meets Audubon

It's the perfect day to try a bit of bird-related art in honor of John James Audubon

John James Audubon, a naturalist and artist known best for his work with birds, was born April 26, 1785.

Hence today’s Google doodle with the beautiful bird theme.

If you’re feeling inspired to honor Audubon’s contributions to the worlds of art and science, consider making a bit of bird art with your children this week.

A few ideas…

  • Build a birdhouse — from scratch or using a kit.
  • Paint a bird at your local pottery painting joint.
  • Write poems about some of your favorite birds.
  • Take a walk to look for birds in your neighborhood.
  • Cut bird pictures out of old magazines, then use them to create a collage on canvas or poster board.
  • Use stencils to create whimsical bird designs along a wall in your child’s bedroom.
  • Plant a bird friendly plant in your garden.
  • Draw birds you see on exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Look for birds in art exhibited at the Phoenix Art Museum or Heard Museum.
  • Take a sketchpad and pens/pencils along to draw birds you see at the Desert Botanical Garden or Rio Solado Audubon Society.
  • Make bird designs by tracing your child’s spread out palm (a favorite with kids at Thanksgiving time).
  • Sew simple birds using felt and embroidery floss, then use them to create a hanging mobile.
  • Fold paper to make origami birds.
  • Use bird puppets or plush (like those from the Audubon Society or Folkmanis Puppets) to create puppet shows full of birds.
  • Read books about birds, then write your own bird stories.
  • Draw birds that start with thumbprints made using colorful ink pads.
  • Take photos of birds in your neighborhood or natural settings.
  • Observe different birds, then make up dances that mirror their movements.

If you’ve got an idea for a bird-related craft or activity, please comment below to let our readers know. Or send photos of some of your family’s bird-related artwork so I can add them to this post for others to enjoy.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix — which offers summer camps for children, as well as other programs for children and adults. Learn more about John James Audubon from PBS and the National Gallery of Art — and the National Audubon Society.

Coming up: Memphis meets movie theater

Update: The Arboretum at Flagstaff will hold “Saturday Morning Birdwalks” led by bird experts from local chapters of the Audubon Society during May, June and July. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. Learn more at www.thearb.org.


Fun with frogs

The first thing I notice each time I hit the Phoenix Zoo is a large frog sculpture just outside the entry walkway, near an area for visitor drop-off and pick-up. He seems a happy sort, and always helps me feel welcome.

I got frogs on the brain after reviewing April events listed in the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

In the “On stage” section, I spied “The Frogs” — a “musical comedy adaptation  by Stephen Sondheim from an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes.” The piece runs through Sun, April 10 at Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Theatre in Phoenix.

In the “On exhibit” section I found something called “Once Upon a Time…Fairy Tales, Frogs & Fables.” It’s “an opportunity to explore some of the world’s favorite stories” through imaginative characters and sets, dress-up, puppet theater and more — running through May 29 at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

Alas, I learned too late that children could make frog puppets, and learn about the life cycle of frogs, at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix April 1-3. But I’m including a photo of some of their fine work to inspire your own frog follies at home — which could also include old-fashioned games, like leapfrog, that help kids stay fit.

But happily, I’m way ahead of the game for the third annual “Save the Frogs Day” — being celebrated April 29, 2011 by those with a special fondness for frogs and other amphibians. Some will even be rallying at the U.S. Capitol for more frog-friendly legislation.

The organization that specializes in amphibian conservation, called “Save the Frogs,” is currently holding several frog-related contests as part of “Save the Frogs Day.” Think poetry and art contests –plus a “build a frog pond” contest (open to schools and homeowners).

If you’re keen on wearing your frogs loud and proud, you can shop the “Save the Frogs” website for necessities like pro-frog clothing, bumber stickers, tote bags, wristbands and more.

There’s also plenty of frog-related fare at the Phoenix Zoo gift shop. Think T-shirts, books, plush toys and more.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green,” laments Sesame Street’s “Kermit the Frog” in the song of a same name. But maybe if we all work together, the world’s most celebrated frog will soon be singing a different tune.

— Lynn

Coming up: Children’s theater meets classic storybooks, Down to the final two