The second grade so enjoyed Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen and illustrated by Elise Primavera that we determined in the interest of spring, our own beloved resident library dragon, Dusty, should have a nest of eggs. To that end, here are directions for second graders (or students at any grade level) who have free time over the break and would like to make a dragon's egg and participate in the activity!
SAFETY CHOICES: A grown-up must help you make the paper maché paste on the stove, and please wait until it is fully cooled before touching. Please also be careful to keep the balloon away from babies and small children so they don’t choke. Thank you!
Step 1. Make the paper maché paste! With the help of a grown-up, measure 1 cup of flour and 3 cups of water. In a saucepan or pot, mix a little of the water with the flour to make a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and have the grown up heat the mixture until it boils, stirring all the time. Turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture thickens. Then, turn off the heat and leave the mixture until it is completely cool. You can also keep the paste covered for a couple of days in the fridge if you need to. (Recipe from The Paper Book by Hannah Tofts).
Step 2. While waiting for the paste to cool, rip a newspaper or several pieces of newsprint into long strips, like Ms. Esme demonstrated in class.
Step 3. Blow up the balloon and tie the end (a grown-up can help with this, too). Dip a strip of paper in the paste and make it very wet all over. Then, pull the wet strip of paper between your “scissors fingers” over the bowl (like Ms. Esme showed you) to get rid of the extra paste. Lay the wet strip on the balloon, and repeat until the whole balloon is covered and you can’t see any of it except the tied end. Then, cover it all again in a second layer, which will make it stronger. Smooth out your layers.
Step 4. Leave the newspaper-covered balloon in a cool, dry place. In three to five days, it should be very dry, and the balloon will have likely lost its air. Once it is completely dry and holds its shape, pull the balloon out from the hardened shell (gently pop if necessary).
Step 5. Paint or decorate the egg until you can no longer see the newspaper. Acrylic, poster paint and “Modge Podge” all work well. Be creative! Please remember to cover all surfaces and wear a smock or apron when using paint or glue, and again, let a grown-up know what you are doing. Let it dry, and bring it in to the library so we can make a lovely nest of eggs for Dusty, our own resident dragon!
This craft is not required, but it is fun! All kids who bring in an egg the first week back from Spring Break will be entered in a surprise drawing for participation and will receive extra credit if they are receiving anything less than an A! Plus, did I mention it is fun? Can’t wait to see what you make!
Spot illustration by Elise Primavera, all rights reserved by the illustrator, used for one time non-commercial educational purpose.