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- Age: 0 to 8+
- Time: Under 1 hour
- Materials: Sock; 2 rubber bands or twine; rice or beans; bin or large container; scoop; scissors; markers; mason jar lid/ roll of tape/toilet paper roll (optional)
Step 1: Watch the Tinkergarten Anywhere Forest Friends video lesson.
Step 2: Make a Forest Friend!
- Set the sock up so it is easier to hold and fill. You can put a lid from a mason jar or a roll of tape in the top at the opening of the sock.
- Use a scoop to fill the sock about a third of the way with rice. This forms the base/body. [Pro Tip: Do all scooping over the bin to catch spilled rice.]
- Put a rubber band tightly around the sock at that point.
- Continue to fill the sock with rice to create a smaller section for the forest friend’s head. Put another rubber band on to seal the top.
- Use scissors to either cut the remaining sock off, or cut down the middle to make into ears if you want.
- Draw a face on the forest friend.
Step 3: Learn about your forest friend.
Step 4: Create play adventures for forest friend.
- Show your forest friend a special spot: Head outside to introduce forest friend to one of your child’s favorite outdoor spots. Does your child have a favorite tree to show their forest friend? Favorite flower? Favorite hideout or place to swing, jump or climb?
- Take your forest friend for a walk: Take your forest friend with you on your next trek or adventure! Create a bindle to carry them, or use a box or cookie sheet to create a sled to pull forest friend. Got an old stroller or wagon? Pull your friend around!
- Make a cozy space for forest friend: Offer materials your kids can use to create special spaces just for forest friend. Create a space to read or sing to/with your forest friend, a soft and cozy sleeping space or use mud and nature treasures to prepare a meal for their homemade friend.
- Playground for forest friend: Ask kids how their forest friend likes to play. Then, offer materials to help them create “just right” outdoor play experiences for their friend. Here are some ideas:
- Slide: Prop a board or cookie sheet against a tree to make a slide for their special friend.
- Seesaw/catapult: Place a log or rock underneath the middle of the board to make a balance game for forest friend. Put the forest friend on one side of the seesaw and press down or jump on the other side to make a catapult.
- Swing/trampoline: Put the forest friend on a towel and gather the ends in your hands to make a swing. Hold two sides of the towel taut in each hand to bounce the forest friend up and down.
- Pulley/zipline: Use rope and a basket or bucket to make a pulley to move forest friend up and down. Or, tie the rope between two trees to make a zipline.