In order to really enjoy observing and experiencing ladybugs we have to buy a box of them from the greenhouse and/or make our own! Last Summer while using utensils to cut and make designs in our Sculpy dough, a fun way to make ladybugs-or any beetle- revealed itself.
What you will need:
various sized spoons
leaves with nice hard veins
1. Warm up a nice ball of Sculpy and use thumbs to push and mold Sculpy into bowl of spoon.
You don't want a lot to rise above to "rim" or spill over the sides so you may have to experiment with how much to use.
2. Carefully lift an edge of the Sculpy so that you can then pull the rest from the spoon. This is the ladybug's body.
3. Smooth out any rough edges.
4. Take a small ball of Sculpy for the head and press onto one end of the body. (Our heads tend to be bigger than a real ladybug's but we like the character it gives them!)
5. Using the toothpick, score a line from head to rump to delineate the wings.
6. Now it's time to go find some richly textured leaves. Ones with thick hard veins work very well.
7. Roll out some Sculpy with a rolling pin-about 1/4 of an inch thi
8. Press the underside of the leaf into the Sculpy and gently roll the pin over it a couple times.
9. Peel the leaf off of the Sculpy.
10. Using the toothpick, "cut" out the leaf shape.
11. Place ladybugs and leaves onto baking sheet and cook in the oven per instructions on the Sculpy box. *You can bend and curve the leaf to give it some definition or just leave it flat.
12. Once baked and cooled, paint your ladybugs and leaves with acrylic paint!
Have fun! Lo and her Friends have incorporated these cute little guys into their play for the past year. They are great sturdy additions to any dollhouse, gnome fort, or other imaginative play. They are also a wonderful companion to carry tucked away in a pocket!
Here's our finished results. Lo decided to make a very colorful ladybug and I also made a longer shimmery colored beetle. Lo included her bee and a multicolored ladybug!
It was when Lo discovered her first ladybug at the age of 2 that it really hit home how fortunate we both were that I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. We were at the park when one flew onto her arm. Usually sensitive to creepy crawly types, Lo was instantly enamored, allowing it to crawl all around her arm and hand. She punctuated her many questions about it with "awwww!"s and "so cute!"s. It was also the day she first discovered her shadow! I was so grateful to have witnessed this.
I felt sick at the idea that had she been in day care I never would have been apart of this. I've always wondered(and I am excluding those parents who are suddenly single or experience extenuating circumstances -there are many variables involved, of course, but I will clarify further by directing my negative feelings toward those parents who don't need daycare but who celebrate the institution of daycare anyway. Parents who think that being home with their children is weak, boring, less important than their jobs and the parents who don't take the time to think for themselves, research and plan ,to the best of their ability, the best course of action for their children before committing to have them)
"How could someone pay another person to get the honor and pleasure of experiencing these things -and many of the other great milestones and discoveries?!?! I was once one of those paid people. Those mommies and daddies have no idea what they missed...
But I've digressed...
I can't decide whether to hatch our own ladybugs with a kit to learn about their lifecycle or buy a box to set free. I'll look into it and see. For now, our Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars arrived yesterday and we are looking forward to witnessing their metamorphosis again this summer.
Did you know?
*If a Ladybug is held in the hand while making a wish, the direction that it flies away to shows where your luck will come from. ;)
*Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
*Ladybugs make a chemical that smells and tastes terrible so that birds and other predators won't eat them.
*In some Asian cultures, it is believed that the Ladybug understands human language, and has been blessed by God, Himself.
*If you squeeze a ladybug it will bite you, but the bite won't hurt.
*According to a Norse legend, the Ladybug came to earth riding on a bolt of lightning.
*During hibernation, ladybugs feed on their stored fat.
*In the 1800's, some doctors used Ladybugs to treat measles! They also believed that if you mashed ladybugs (ewww!) and put them into a cavity, the insects would stop a toothache!
*One might think a ladybug's coloring would make it an easy target for predators. Actually, it serves as a beacon to let a predator know that the ladybug tastes terrible!