Mar 25, 2009

Coral Reef Livingroom

Brace yourself... today's project is a long one!

We have wanted to go to the new California Academy of Science for months and months, well, since it opened, but the insane queues with young kids and the $25 per ticket have meant we've been waiting. On Tuesday we finally got to go with a field trip group for the bargain price of $10 per ticket! Yippieeee!!!

I was quietly disapointed that they didn't let kids younger than six into the planetarium there, because astrophysics is what my masters is in and I was curious and wanted to see the kids geek out with that stuff too.

The kids adored the aquarium there though. I mean REALLY adored it and the fact that the scuba crew were down there cleaning the tank at the same time we were there just blew their little minds. It was great! Sadly the photos are a bit naff because we took our crippled little point and click camera.
So, today while they were still psyched over the coral reef experience I drew out a load of the animals that we'd seen in there with a Sharpie for them to make thier own reef in the livingroom. I scanned in the drawings to make multiple copies.
There are five pages of drawings here that you can print out yourself if you want. Each page has two reef creatures for kids to colour and cut out. Just click on each thumbnail to get the full sized image and remember to check "fit to page", especially if you are printing on A4 rather than US letter size.

Also I've got a page with them all on together for if you have older kids and want to make a smaller tank out of a box maybe.

Finally, a crib sheet for what colours these guys actually are. My lot knew what colour the Blue Tang and the Clownfish were from good old Finding Nemo. We didn't stick to the right colours all the time though ;)

So, I fixed up one of our blue double bed sheets in the livingroom and the kids coloured and cut the reef animals and as they did each one they came through to tape it up with double sided sticky tape.
I added rocks from newspaper and coral from the final left over bits of the dollar store crepe streamers. Then they all spent a while sticking on blue circle stickers as bubbles (I think this was the favourite part for the guys that had just turned three).I cut out some more fish shapes from some cheap adhesive labels and the kids coloured those in however they felt and stuck them on the reef too.The four year olds then told me that we needed a diver like in the real reef tank, so, not wanting to have to draw an entire diver, I just drew out the legs and flippers on some card and they coloured them in and we stuck them on too.
Finally they dragged out any suitable fishy type soft toys to add to the display. Even Spongebob was there. My youngest daughter was adamant about Charlie from "charlie and lola" being on the reef for some reason. My youngest also wanted to go and put on one of the numerous homemade mermaid tails that we have and pretended to swim around with the fishies!
Our livingroom looks mighty interesting now, especially seeing as the rocket ship is still alive and kicking after two months of space missions!


Unknown said...

you drawings! Thanks again for sharing :) My boys are sure to love them ( & I'll love knowing the names ;)

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

This is sooooo awesome!! You are fantastic at drawing!!

This reminds me of a primary school task, we used crisp boxes and made the inside whatever we wanted, I chose under the sea. Paint the inside blue, hang up your fish, add some seaweed etc, so cool.

Anonymous said...

Awesome idea!! I bet my three boys would love doing this. Thanks for sharing!


Gary S said...

Brilliant! Your lot have such amazing imagination!!!! :D

Balou said...

What great ideas you have. And yep, still waiting for those adoption papers to show up so I can be the oldest adopted daughter evah! The drawings are awesome.

LiEr said...

Gasp! You are just a whiz at line art, I say again! But I think it is your sense of humor that I enjoy more (if it's possible) than your amazing artistic talent - those scuba fins attached to disembodied legs! He he he! nd I really like the mermaid tails - I've been meaning to sew a couple for the girls but never got round to - I love how yours are modest and yet one-piece. Did you use one of those stretchy liquid-gold-type fabrics?
OK, I have to go rescue something on the stove so I'll end quick with this - I did make a small cardboard aquarium /fish tank a couple of years ago - cut out opposite sides of a box and lined the holes with cellophane for "panes". Stuck weed on the floor standing up. Then suspended cardboard fish with string from the ceiling, in which I also cut a small trapdoor to open and feed the fish with fake fish food. Oddly it was one of the eldest's favorite toys till the cellophane fell apart and we had to toss it. Hence no photo in the blog. Maybe I'll make another, with your awesome fish templates! (I still can't get over them).

Lindsey said...

Glad the scubadude made you chuckle LiEr. The kids giggled at it too when they realised it wasn't going to be a whole diver.

I made the mermaid tails back in September as part of my older daughter's birthday party. The first ones I made were from some clothes I picked up at goodwill, but then I got a gift card to Jo-Ann for my birthday and bought the weird liquid gold type fabric stuff that was green fish scale patterned and the shimmery purple stuff to make more. I blogged about the original tail a while back.

Thank you everyone for saying such nice things about my drawings. I really enjoy drawing big chunky pictures for the kids with a Sharpie pen.

Unknown said...

Amazing and fun, as always! I also love the dangling diver legs. :D

Anonymous said...

I would love to see your astronomy-themed projects (I got my masters in astro several years ago, working on the PhD and I have a 2 year old in tow to boot!). Anyhow your blog is awesome. I love your creativity and I want to do all the projects myself.

Keep up the great blogging!


MaryAnne said...

I love these! I printed them out for Emma today, and she had a blast coloring them! I wish I could draw like this...

Brandi said...

Hey girl.. I took Conner to the Planetarium before we left and he loved it. I think that is just the recommended age. Try again next time you go!

Lindsey said...

No way! They actually turned us away when I tried to get the tickets for the next show. Buggers!

Kirsten said...

What a fantastic aquarium!
I'm not sure if I'll be that ambitious, but I've printed out your colouring pages. Thanks for uploading them!

Lori said...

Thank you for providing these beautiful printouts! You are so talented and creative. My girls enjoyed coloring and cutting them out for our study on the ocean.

75 gallon aquarium said...

Brilliant! Your lot have such amazing imagination:)!