Since our exploration of Japan was such a success, I decided we'd continue on with our trip around the world and stop off in India. Since India is one of the few places in the world that tigers live in the wild, I knew the girls would enjoy learning about them.
We enjoy making masks, so making a tiger mask was an obvious choice. (Plus, I'm always trying to find ways to use up that 100 pack of paper plates I bought!). I cut eye holes out of the plates, found our orange paint and a bit of yarn to tie the masks around the girls heads. For the stripes, we tore strips of black construction paper.
The first step was painting and we painted the entire plate orange. While the plates were drying, we pulled out the book about tigers we had found at the library. Lizzie was fascinated! She soaked in the information, learning about tiger habitats, what they eat, how they mark their territory and how big tigers can grow. The part of the book that made the most impact on Lizzie was the danger that tigers face and the reasons why they are endangered. We talked about illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat. If you think that a 4-year-old wouldn't understand, you would be wrong. The book broached the subject simply and honestly and Lizzie's natural empathy towards animals really helped her understand.
Once the paint was dry, we moved on. It was time to glue on the stripes. While we were gluing, we talked some more about tigers. Lizzie was determined to do that beautiful animal justice. She was quite concerned that we didn't have any white paint or paper out. She knew that tigers had white fur in addition to the orange and black. She finally solved the problem herself by using glue to make the white fur. (I didn't have the heart to tell her that the glue would dry clear!)
This project turned out much better than I anticipated! I had originally planned on reading the book prior to starting the project, but since the girls are young, I'm learning to be much more flexible. The craft seemed to have much more meaning when we read the book while working on it. We learned a lot, made a really cool craft and most importantly planted the seed about wildlife conservation.