Bald Eagle Handprints

1 Jul

It’s time to celebrate the 4th of July here in the Mind Games House, and what better way to celebrate any holiday than getting your hands all gloppy with tempera paint and smearing it onto construction paper?

Bald Eagle Handprint 1

Barely a day goes by that we don’t whip out the paint and paper, but it’s usually for free-flowing painting time.  Today we made a Craft with a particular desired end result… Bald Eagle Handprints!

This morning, we read four books about the 4th of July:

The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry
Hats Off for the Fourth of July! by Harriet Ziefert
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee – a Scholastic paperback version
The Star Spangled Banner – a Random House pictureback version

GoGoGirl, who is 3 1/2, doesn’t remember much about the 4th of July from last year.  Explaining that it’s “America’s Birthday” (as our first book did) is a great start, since she’s all about celebrating birthdays!  Our second book, Hats Off, is a quick, rhythmical book about a holiday parade.  GoGoGirl loves to sing & listen to me sing, so singing My Country, ‘Tis of Thee and The Star-Spangled Banner a few times each really caught her interest.  KarateKid was very interested in the sidebar information in this copy of the Banner, which included information on Betsy Ross, Francis Scott Key, Presidents, The White House, The Statue of Liberty, and Bald Eagles.

KarateKid has long been captivated by raptors, and bald eagles in particular since our first day trip to see them in our area this spring.  We read two longer books together to learn more about eagles:

Bald Eagle by Gordon Morrison
Soaring with the Wind: The Bald Eagle by Gail Gibbons

We read through the first book two times: first, reading the simple story about the eagle family, from the words, “Today a baby bird will hatch…” on the first page, through the life cycle of the birds and ending with the same “Today a baby bird will hatch…” at the end.  Then we turned back to the beginning and read all the captivating small bits of information scattered throughout the pages.  KarateKid was fascinated by the page that showed parts of the skeleton (a bird’s wing bones lined up to a human’s arm bones, for example) and the various feathers and a diagram showing the basic physics of flight.  The extra information in this book was excellent!

Soaring with the Wind was good too – we’re long-time fans of Gail Gibbons here – and we enjoyed reading the two books back to back to see what was repeated in both books (facts about hatching, nestlings, learning to fly, the courtship dance) and which facts were slightly different (life span, weight, other numbers that scientists have to estimate).  These are both library books, but I’m tempted to buy a copy of the Morrison book for our own personal library.

After our reading, we turned on the TV to watch an episode of Life of Birds (by David Attenborough) on Netflix streaming.  Episode 4 was the fascinating “Meat-Eaters” episode that looked at the lives and hunting patterns of a variety of hawks, eagles, and other meat-eating birds.  Absolutely riveting!  The whole way through the program, KarateKid and I were exclaiming to each other and calling out excitedly when we saw things we’d read about in the books.

Back to the celebration that was more GoGoGirl’s speed!  We went out to the driveway to make some lovely, messy handprints.  Two brown hands, thumbs together and fingers spread out, became the eagle’s body.  For the head we painted the pinkie side of a closed fist white.  A yellow thumbprint made the beaks and a black pinkie tip dot was the eye.

Bald Eagle Handprint 2

It’s always fun to make handprint pictures, but today was particularly sweet.  GoGoGirl knew we were making eagles but didn’t seem to follow how they were coming together.  She gladly offered her hand for painting and squished it down on the paper, but it wasn’t until she added the pinkie-dot of black for the eye that her own eyes lit up and she called out, “It’s an EAGLE!  I made an EAGLE!”  What’s cuter than that?

If you want more art ideas that go along with great books, check out stART at A Mommy’s Adventures!

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8 Responses to “Bald Eagle Handprints”

  1. Almost Unschoolers July 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    That’s one of the neater handprint crafts I’ve seen. How fun to find a non-red-white-and-blue craft, that’s still patriotic!

  2. Pathfinder Mom July 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    I really like this craft – they’re such majestic animals. I also love seeing some books that we can grow into.

  3. JDaniel4's Mom July 2, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    The handprints came out so well. I love all the books you selected.

  4. sunnyvale422 July 2, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    I really liked your eagle craft – so very neat! I have to look for some of those song books too.

  5. B July 3, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Love the books you have for this. We did this craft this week, too! (Well, except that we ran out of paint…..)

  6. Aunt Gwyn July 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    @PathfinderMom — right down to the majesty of eating carrion! ;)


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