Saturday, November 27, 2010

Green Art Activity: ANIMAL HOUSE Furnimals from Reusable Materials

Are you in a school, a library, or even at home? Are you eager to make your very own "furnimals" based on Nathan Hale's amazing Animal House illustrations? Then look no further than your nearest recycling bin or trash can.

Chances are that you have everything you need to turn the above pile of reusable materials into...

...these adorable and loving literary companions.

The toucan of soda, cowch, and refrigergator were made by 3-5 year olds in Victoria Howard's incredible "Art & Stories" class at Barnsdall Junior Art Center last winter.

Mix a Pringles-like container with some stray buttons, construction paper scraps, and a piece of cardboard, and get a toucan of soda.

Shake together some loose buttons, a sheet of styrofoam, an empty soap bar-like box, felt scraps, construction paper pieces, and four corks to get a ....................... brand new cowch!

Don't forget to add the udder underneath. You need some way to be able to milk your cowch.

Gently toss some cute buttons, an Altoids-like metal container, a couple of corks, scrap pieces of felt, and left-over construction paper to get a handy-dandy new..................refrigergator.

Don't forget to stock your new refrigergator with yummy "food" buttons of all shapes and sizes.

So, the next time you see this (Note the pen-drawn reptilian scales on the empty applesauce-like container. Yes, it does look like a proto-skink)........................

.............try and turn it into this.

And the next time you empty a strawberry basket, can you imagine turning it into a chandeldeer? If so, I'd love to see a picture.

In the L.A. area and excited about creating green art activities for large numbers of kids? Check out Trash for Teaching, reDiscover, and CReATE STUDIO.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

ANIMAL HOUSE Celebrates "Neighborhood Toy Store Day"

This year marks the first annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 13th! The day is organized by ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, and will be held on the second Saturday of each November. ASTRA hopes to raise awareness about the advantages of shopping at locally-owned, independent toy stores.

Why does this excite me? Because I love supporting local, independent businesses! The Animal House Experience, my traveling amusement park for "small hands and big minds," is made almost entirely from critters bought at independent toy stores.

The refrigergator, I'm sad to admit, is the one exception. We rescued him from a mega-toy store corporation. He's so much happier now.

Here's an inside peek of the gorvilla, currently the main attraction at The Animal House Experience. Devoted fans will recognize the floormingos and whalepaper.

This beautiful silverback gorilla from Safari Ltd. was adopted from the amazing Dinosaur Farm in South Pasadena. Yes, they don't just carry dinosaur toys!

What do you get when you combine a gorilla with a villa?

A gorvilla, of course!

This Lakeshore giraffe was adopted from the Wear It Once, Wear It Twice children's resale shop in Burbank. They've got some real finds!

What do you get when you combine a giraffe with a roof?

A giroof, of course!

Okay, so the fish pictured above isn't actually a perch, but he was the right size. This sweet lantern fish was adopted from Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop in LaVerne. I can't seem to leave this store without picking up a toy or two.

What do you get when you combine a back porch with a perch? A back perch!

These critters are freshly adopted from the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe in San Marino. I love their selection of Japanese erasers, toy instruments, and books!

The beaver comes from Safari Ltd., and the ray comes from Wild Republic. They await transformation into a BeaVo and RayStation, respectively. Of course, they will both need to be stored somewhere....

Enter this raccoon, a Wild Republic critter also adopted from the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe. He will soon become a media storage rackoon, and he couldn't be more excited.

Photos to come...

In the meantime, run out to your neighborhood toy store and indulge your imagination! By the way, if you happen to find a semi-realistic looking plastic or resin snail, please let me know. The Animal House Experience is in desperate need of a fully operational snailbox. Thanks!

ETA: Oh, in case any of you were wondering who the master craftsman is behind The Animal House Experience, that would be my lovely hubby. Yes, he's more proud than exasperated whenever he declares, "Her inspiration is my perspiration." Gotta love him.