For kids, one of the fun things about moving to a new home is getting an entirely new address; although it can be a little stressful, too. Here is an easy, creative way to help your child learn and celebrate your new street name: create Street Name Bugs! Or Street Name Aliens, or Street Name Robots, or Street Name Critters… you get the picture.
- All you will need is:
- computer paper
- a Sharpie
- something to decorate with; can be dollar store watercolor paint, crayons,
markers, or any combination of them.
Young children will need help with the first part, but when the name is turned into a “bug”, they can take it away! At that point, you will be reminded that there is nothing like a child’s creative eye.
You and your child are going to write the street name on a folded piece of paper; this needs a little adult help the first time. Cursive makes beautiful name creatures, but it’s a dying art that sometimes the kids are no longer taught. Printing makes cool name aliens and robots. Either is fun!
Fold a piece of paper lengthwise, keeping the folded part in toward your body. I tell kids to turn it so you can quack like a duck.
It’s a great idea to have a piece of scratch paper underneath your folded paper.
Choose whether to write the name in cursive, or to print it neatly. You are going to do this part with a Sharpie, so it’s a great idea to keep an eye on the kids– Sharpie will not wash out.
For the example, I wanted to find an unusual name that kids might find difficult to remember and spell, so I chose a name from a neighborhood called Glen Iris at Ballantrae, where Signature Homes is building gorgeous new homes. One of the main streets in Glen Iris is: Kilkerran Drive. yes, K-I-L-K-E-R-R-A-N. Kilkerran fits in perfectly with the Scottish influence of the neighborhood architecture; it’s even the name of a famous castle. But it isn’t the easiest name for kids to remember.
Whether you print or write cursive, the most important thing to do it to bring the letters all the way down to the fold of the paper, especially on the first and last letter. Parents, one reason you may be needed the first time is because spacing can be tricky until you get the hang of it; you can do a dry run with pencil if you want to.
Here is Kilkerran both ways (ignore the strange looking “a” in the cursive version):
Note how close we write the letter to the fold:
This is the trickiest step; after this it is all easy. Flip over the folded paper and hold it up to a window; with that little bit of light shining through, you can see the image of the word. Using the Sharpie, trace over the entire name. It will look strange!
Now the fun begins! Open up the paper and see what you have! Look for its personality. Is it a monster? An alien? A strange insect? Turn it 180 degrees if you don’t see something and look at it from that perspective. If something doesn’t jump right out at your child, help them look for what might be eyeballs– once you settle on the eyeballs, the rest comes easy sometimes. Kids are usually way better at this than adults.
Once you get the eyes placed, features start to become evident. Add hands, antennae, hair, ears, nostrils, a mouth, shoes… just whatever your little creature needs to bring it alive.
Encourage your child to let his/her imagination run wild!
You will be amazed at how much the color will bring the personalities out of these little creations. Crayons or markers work great; or if your child loves to paint, nothing beats a strip of dollar store watercolors (but use water sparingly– encourage the kids to use a pretty dry brush on this thin paper). If you don’t know what something is on your creature, just start coloring the different sections and the ideas will start flowing. You can always add more details, too.
Put on the finishing touches and enjoy your Street Name Bugs! Can you recognize the name? If you want to fold the finished bug and look at it again, you can still recognize the root word in it, but when you open it up the magic happens.
Feel free to pass this link along, and if you create a Street Name Bug, please email it to me at email@example.com. I would love to make a gallery of wonderful bugs, aliens, robots, monsters, and other creatures. Have fun and let me know what you think!