Today’s inspiration for Messy play with two and three year olds was drawn from FLORA AND THE PENGUIN by Molly Idle. In this wordless picture book Flora meets and befriends a penguin. While Flora and the penguin enter into an ice dance above, the fish swirl through the water below. Penguin finds himself beak down in the water and catches a fish only to have it thrown back by Flora. Intent on making up for her mistake, Flora uses her skate laces to create a fishing line. Flora and the penguin catch a fresh fish with joyeux de vie and land in a beautiful lift with Olympic size flair.

After sharing the story with the children, we set out to go fishing just like Flora and the penguin, and create some beautiful string art while we were at it. To complete this project you will need:

  • Yarn
  • Straws
  • White multimedia paper
  • Stickers (I used color coding dots, you may use fish stickers if you have them)
  • Washable tempera paint
  • Paper plate
  • Something to cover your work surface if desired

First the children applied the stickers to the paper to represent the fish swimming by. The act of peeling and sticking gave my group of two and three year olds good fine motor practice. When we were happy with the number of fish on our papers we used our fishing rod, a half of a straw with yarn looped through and tied. The yarn was dipped and swirled into the paint on the paper plates and then we bounced our fishing line on the paper to catch our fish. We had fun, made a mess, and created some interesting works of modern art.



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