Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creating with kids: Making a butterfly house

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

How to build a butterfly house in 11 easy steps

One day Mikko was charming the socks off a Home Depot worker, who gifted him with a child-size apron, workshop pin, and butterfly house kit. She asked me if he were five years old — he was, I believe, two at the time — but then said he could have the kit anyway.

So we put it away, but not till he was five. Earlier this year, I got all ambitious and decided: We were making a butterfly house, dang it!

This is a good summery project for you and your little ones. Just be sure to follow all the steps precisely.

Step 1: Read the instructions.

Step 2: Sand the wood.

Step 3: Insert an unrelated hex screwdriver into the nail hole and crank it.

Step 4: Use hammer to pound in nails.

Step 5: Put philips-head screwdriver in nail hole and spin.

Step 6: Use needle-nose pliers on nails to do … something.

Step 7: Continue using screwdriver while someone else applies wood glue.

Step 8: Insert rope through the slits.

Step 9: Perform some sort of woodworking magic involving a wrench and rope and hex driver.

Step 10: Voila! It’s done! Time to decorate.

Step 11: Wait for warm weather, and then insert sliced bananas. (Do not reverse the order.)

With heartfelt appreciation to Sam for picking out the photos and helping with captions.

Now, presuming you actually do want to make a butterfly house and don't have a conveniently gifted kit, here are the basics, yo:

  • Get some thin wood. Plywood or scraps should do nicely.

  • The sides are shaped like a rectangle with a right-angle triangle on top. The back is a tall rectangle, the front a shorter rectangle. They all fit together like the picture, see? The bottom is a square that fits flush with the other pieces. The roof is a rectangle that overlaps the opening a little on all sides.

  • Cut long, thin slits in the front piece. This is how butterflies get in. I'm hope they remember to fold their wings before they leave or they'll think they're stuck. Butterflies are probably pretty dumb.

  • Sand the wood. (Mikko got one step right.)

  • Use wood glue and then short nails to attach the side pieces to the back.

  • Do the same to attach the front piece.

  • Do the same to attach the bottom.

  • For the roof, hammer one nail into the back center. It should then swivel so you can open and close the top.

  • Put in some twigs and leaves or moss, along with a few pieces of ripe (or overripe) fruit. Hang it up, and wait for butterfly visitors!

(Not actually from our butterfly house.)

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Family Draw Time Art ShowKate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family's cherished tradition of family draw time.
  • The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the "Non-Creative" — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her "non-creative" child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
  • Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up "little spaces of beauty."
  • Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how 'creating together' has evolved from 'things' to memories.
  • The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
  • Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
  • Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
  • How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
  • Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
  • Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
  • Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
  • Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
  • Home School Music - Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
  • Creating (im)perfectly TogetherMudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
  • Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
  • Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.


CatholicMommy said...

So cute! I love that you let him use real tools. My parents did that for me, too. It was great to know they trusted me to be careful with their things.

mudpiemama said...

What great pictures you got in that process and i love that you were so open to all the tools in the new places and that hammer....loved it!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Huh.Larious. omg!!! I love that you had the presence of mind to give him all of those unrelated tools. (Um, well, perhaps you really did use the giant inflatable hammer.)

Anonymous said...

LOL @ the hammer, that's brilliant. The final project is sheer perfection, especially the decorating. I love how this project incorporates construction and nature and even empathy- wanting to build a house for the butterflies!

ana z. said...

Mikko is such an adept craftsman! I love when places like Home Depot have cute gifts for kids. All sorts of crap about Big Corporations and whatever aside, it's really nice that places still do things like that. Hopefully you find your crafting to be fruitful and are graced with some beautiful butterflies taking up residence in the butterfly house! Great pictures!

Kate Wicker said...

That huge, inflatable hammer made me laugh aloud. What a great project. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Oh, fun! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a butterfly house, and I love butterflies. I guess I've gotta get me one of those, pronto. Mikko is adorable, as usual, and it looks like he had lots of fun creating!

Hannah said...

Tee hee, loved the captions and the tool usage, we don't do enough of that - inspirational.

mrs green @ littlegreenblog said...

beautiful pics and an inspiring post - thank you! I love how you are allowing the use of 'real' tools as well; I feel this is so important for children ...

Wendylori said...

Our son would enjoy this too since he loves tools and wood, and gets REALLY excited anytime we need to fix anything.

Gaby @ Tmuffin said...

That whole post made me giggle! The hammer, the woodworking magic, the butterflies knowing to fold their wings...

I am very impressed that the whole butterly house came together like it did! (And that you are using wood glue around a young kid on carpet).

Mikko looks like he can handle tools better than I can!

cpcable said...

What an awesome project! Much to my husband's chagrin, whenever milkweed pops up I let it grow for the monarchs. We've also had some swallowtails this year, which has been awesome.

Jessica @Crunchy-Chewy Mama said...

This is great! My son loves woodworking and I've been looking for a project. And I do love the captions!

Sylvia@MaMammalia said...

What a laugh! I wonder how it would have looked what Mikko was only 2...?!

Deb Chitwood said...

I love the use of real tools (of course, the photo with the inflatable hammer is awesome)! How wonderful that Mikko experienced the whole process ... and great concentrated expressions in the photos. Very cool! :)

Momma Jorje said...

These captions are awesome! So... do you have to cram the banana slices through the slits in the front?! Isn't that messy?

Do you have to clean it out later? It sounds kinda gross, really. :-P

Lauren Wayne said...

@CatholicMommy: It's true — I'm a big believer in letting kids use "real" things. I like that it helps them learn how to use them, and usually that's what they're attracted to anyway — as I found out after many failed attempts to give Mikko toy cellphones. ;)

I also have to say, since I didn't talk much about why we did this project with him, or why we did it this way, that you all picked up on our philosophy anyway! Maybe I should shut up more. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Dionna @ Code Name: Mama: Yeah, those tools were all just in the tool box we have, so he went to choosing what he wanted. :) Instructions from Home Depot notwithstanding.

Lauren Wayne said...

@lovenotesmama: The hammer is a greatly loved Puyallup Fair win. :) It was one of those hit the (real, big) hammer on the pad and see if it rings the bell games, but for toddlers, so everyone won one of those inflatable hammers! He was in heaven.

Lauren Wayne said...

@panda: Exactly! I'm torn about that very thing, because several (not all) of the small stores around us are kind of snotty toward kids (even a couple toy stores we go to!!), whereas when we go to the big box places, they're usually so gracious and welcoming toward families. Kind of a tangent, sorry, but it's something I've been thinking about!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Gaby @ Tmuffin: Ah, but we hate that carpet, hee.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Momma Jorje: No, fortunately they go in through the sliding roof. But, yes, it is a bit gross to clean out, I suppose — I haven't cleaned it out yet. ;) Maybe I'll just hose it down outside.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

So adorable!! I especially love the pic with the giant inflatable hammer :) Ithink we may have to try this one... Gigi LOVES to build things!

Melanie said...

I am seriously in love with this kiddo! I've seen so many pictures of him on here and these are some of the cutest :) What a little handy man!!!

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