Friday, May 10, 2013

Argentina- Animals and Art

Everything from Pumas to Penguins...

Argentina's landscape is very diverse and, because of this diversity, there is a wide array of animals that can be found there.  It might be easier go over the list if we break them up by geographical region.

In the North, where the country nears the Equator, the climate is sub-tropical and hot.  Here you can find crocodiles and caimans (their smaller cousins), jaguars and pumas, howler monkeys, tapir and peccary (both a type of wild pig), and the largest rodent in the world- the capybara.  The air and trees host snakes, toucans and hummingbirds.

Further south, the grasslands area, known as Pampas, is home to giant anteaters, armadillos (one species is called the Pink Fairy), and the South American version of the ostrich, the Rhea.

In the Andes Mountains, which make a natural border with neighboring Chile, you can find llamas, vicuna (smaller relative of a llama), and the largest bird in the Americas- the Andean condor which has a wingspan of up to 10.5 ft!

Along the southern rocky coast you might spot elephant and fur seals, sea lions and Magellenic penguins, which were named after the famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted them in 1519.  Further North along the coast, flocks of flamingoes decorate the beaches. 

The waters are home to orcas, dolphins and whales, as well as, many, many species of fish.   

That's a lot of different kinds of animals!  So we made a few very different art projects.  It's a very rare day when we make both a penguin and an armadillo but that's the kind of day we had :)

Magellenic Penguins
For the project you will need:

  • small Styrofoam ball
  • small water bottle
  • black and orange construction paper
  • glue stick and scissors
  • black and white paint and brushes
  • knife or pick to make hole (adults only please)
  • straight pin (optional)
1.  Take the cap off the water bottle and try to squish the Styrofoam ball onto the neck.  This will mark the circle that you will hollow out with the knife so the "head" will sit right on the "body".  Adults should do this step please. 
2.  Paint the body and head of your penguin black with a white belly.  Check the picture of the real thing to get the markings kinda right.
3.  Cut out a small, long diamond out of the orange paper and fold it to make the beak.  We attached ours with a pin pushed into the Styrofoam and it worked really well, but could be dangerous for younger kids.  Glue would work too.  Note: Magellenic penguins beaks and feet aren't really orange.  They looked kind of greyish and white but I used some artistic license and made them orange.
4.  Cut two flippers out of the black paper and attach to the sides.
5.  Cut some webbed feet out of the orange paper (see above note) and glue them onto the cute little penguin.

6.  Give your little guy (girl?) some eyes and a name get ready for fun and games. Penguins are notorious pranksters. (I totally just made that up- but they seem like they'd be fun at a party!)

Who doesn't love an Armadillo?
For the project you will need:
  • pint-sized milk or half and half carton
  • brown paper bag
  • tape and glue stick
  • scissors
  • sharpie or black marker

1. Cut the bag so you have a sheet of brown paper.  Use the paper to wrap the carton.  On the top, where it's pointy, will be the head.  Try to make it come to a point.

2. Cut 2 ear shapes.  We colored the middle pink.  Fold the edges of the ears and glue the ears onto the armadillo head.

3.  Armadillos have a bit of a snout, so cut and glue on some extra paper to make the snout longer and the edges look nicer.

4.  Roll up a strip of paper about 5 inches long to make a tail.  Glue and tuck it into the folded paper on the butt end to make the tail.

5.  Now the fun part.  Draw the bumps and ridges and creases of the armadillo armor.  I had to print out a picture to show the kids what it should look like since we don't have armadillos.

I think he turned out pretty cute.  We named him Bumpy.