What’s a woolly mammoth to do when the Ice Age starts to warm up? Get a haircut of course! We made some spectacularly hairy mammoths, gave them drastic full body haircuts, and then played a little game called “Cold! Hot! Cold!” There were lots of giggles, I assure you.
We read Hot Hot Hot by Neal Layton (Candlewick Press, 2004). Oscar and Arabella are a pair of playful woolly mammoths. While the Ice Age winter is wonderful (Snow! Ice! Freezing winds!), eventually summer arrives and the misery begins. Plants and flowers make Oscar and Arabella sneeze, insects irritate them, dust itches them, and the burning hot sun is just awful. The mammoths try seeking shade, fanning themselves, and jumping in a lake but nothing works. Finally, they decide to give each other haircuts. Ahhhh! That works! The other animals decide follow their lead and everyone is much more comfortable. When winter returns, the animals grow their heavy coats back, no problem. Except early man. He’s looking mighty chilly at the end of the book!
- 1 box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
- 8 rectangles of brown construction paper (approximately 3″ x 6.25″)
- 4 toilet paper tubes, all of which are the same height
- 1 rectangle of white construction paper (approximately 4″ x 13.5″)
- A small rectangle of tagboard for the tail (or brown poster board)
- A rectangle of tagboard for trunk (approximately 1.5″ x 7″)
- 2 circles of white poster board for eyes (mine were 1.25″ in diameter)
- 2 rectangles of white poster board for mammoth tusks
- 2 small tagboard squares for ears
- 1 piece of 12″ x 18″ brown construction paper
- 4 pieces of brown yarn (approximately 19″ long each)
- 1 piece of 9″ x 12″ brown construction paper
- A 17.5″ piece of brown yarn
- Scissors and tape for construction (glue stick optional)
- Markers for decorating
- Hot glue
We built our mammoths from the legs up! Begin by fringing 8 rectangles of brown construction paper. Wrap 2 fringes around each toilet paper tube, creating a double layer of leg fringe like so:
When all the legs are wrapped, hot glue them to the bottom of the box. Next, use markers to decorate a rectangle of white construction like underpants (I went with classic red hearts look). When you’re finished decorating, wrap and tape the underpants on the rear end of the mammoth (note: the underpants will only cover 3 sides of the box – they don’t need to go all the way around).
To make the tail, fringe the bottom of a small rectangle of tagboard and tape (or hot glue) to the rear end of your mammoth. If you want to get extra fancy, you can attach a fringe of brown construction paper to the end of the tagboard rectangle like this:
Now for your mammoth’s face! The face consists of a pair of white poster board tusks, a curled tagboard trunk, a small pair of tagboard ears, and a pair of white poster board eyes. Tape (or hot glue) these items to the box. Two important things to keep in mind. Firstly, the ears need to stick out of the sides of the box, next to the eyes (otherwise, they will interfere with your mammoth’s “bangs”). Secondly, when drawing your mammoth’s eye pupils, aim for a surprised look. It’s much funnier that way.
The mammoth body is now complete, now for the hairy coat! Drape a 12″ x 18″ piece of brown construction paper over the back of your mammoth and fold the paper down the sides of the box. Then cut a portion of the front of the paper out, thus creating “bangs” over your mammoth’s eyes. Remove the paper and fringe the bangs and the sides of the paper. Finish by crinkling the fringes with your fingers to give the hair some volume.
Place the newly-fringed paper hair back on your mammoth. Then tape four, 19″ pieces of yarn to the top of the fringed paper. Trim the yarn if needed.
Next, drape a 9″ x 12″ piece of brown construction paper on top of your mammoth, fold down the edges, and fringe the sides. Crinkle the fringes for volume. Attach this second paper layer to the first paper layer with tape, a glue stick, or hot glue.
The final step is to hot glue (or tape) a 17.5″ piece of brown yarn along the top of the construction paper hair, creating a dorsal stripe down your mammoth’s back.
Your mammoth is done! Place the hair on its back, and then whip it off quickly for a surprise haircut! At our story time, we also played a game called “Cold! Hot! Cold!” Here’s how it works. Katie whipped up a pair of poster board signs, which she mounted on PVC pipe. One sign represented the hot summer, the other sign represented the cold winter.
All the kids sat on the floor with their mammoths in front of them. I held up the “Cold” sign and everyone covered their mammoths with hair.
Then I quickly switched signs and shouted “Hot!” and, in unison, the kids whipped the hair off their mammoths, revealing many multicolored pairs of underwear!
Then I switched signs again and yelled “Cold!” Down came the hair once again.
We started slow, but the game kept getting faster and faster until the hair was (literally) flying and everyone was laughing. There were about 18 kids at story time that day, so the effect was tremendous!
Looking for more hair projects (and who isn’t)? Check out this post!