Red Fork Romper Room

When I was 15, I had the best Crayola collection in three counties. That and a fondness for sparkly finger paint, blue freezy pops, and bubblegum-flavored soda ensured that I never lacked for weekend babysitting gigs.

Babysitting, apparently, is one of those things you never really forget how to do … as Her Royal Highness Princess Wiggly helped me demonstrate this week:

I forgot to take the camera along for our visit to a Pawnee storytelling session on Monday, but I remembered to bring it for craft time at the library on Tuesday, where Ron kindly served as our photographer. Above, we are making a God’s eye. Every vacation Bible school teacher, camp counselor, or Girl Scout troop leader worth her salt knows that God’s eyes are The Best Craft Project Ever when you’re working with little kids, because they’re fast, easy, and colorful — the perfect combination for a roomful of busy munchkins.

Here, Her Royal Highness is coloring a Little Miss Muffet puppet during the same craft session. (The theme was spiders, so all the crafts involved spiders, yarn, weaving, or some combination of the above.) 

As her pseudonym suggests, Princess Wiggly is not, as a general rule, big on naps … but once she sat on the papasan, she found it sooooooo irresistibly comfortable that she actually asked permission to sleep there.

Scout — who adores Wiggly — stood guard on the floor in front of her for an hour or so before joining her for a snooze and a snuggle.

Below are some pictures of the craft projects Wiggly made today.

With a little help, Wiggly created a personalized tiara, a scepter, and a scrapbook all about her adventures at the zoo. I was a bit skeptical about the prefabbed fun-foam craft kits, but after watching a busy 5-year-old spend the better end of five hours covering every available surface with rhinestones, glitter, and puffy stickers, I’m a believer. Here are some of the pages from Her Majesty’s scrapbook, featuring those crazy square pictures I mentioned yesterday:

The text — which Wiggly carefully printed on there herself — says, “I rode the train.” And yes, that is a photobooth sticker of Ron and me on the right. Wiggly, who was generally impressed with my eclectic sticker collection, was particularly intrigued with this bit of ephemera. I have made a mental note to track down a photo booth for our next adventure together….

The page on the right is probably the most ornately decorated of the lot. Wiggly shot the picture on the left from the zoo train. The text says, “I took a picture.”

We dug the sea lions. The text says, “I saw seals.”

The text at left says “FLAMINGO.” We were running out of puffy heart letters, so Wiggly filled in the missing letters with a purple colored pencil. The text at right says, “I got a flat penny.” What you can’t tell from the picture is that the penny in question has a penguin embossed on it. Wiggly really dug the penguin reward stickers, although I’m not sure whether she has any particular fondness for penguins or was simply enchanted with the possibilities offered by the sheer quantity of stickers at her disposal. It’s hard to turn down a sheet containing more than 100 tiny stickers.

Wiggly drew birdseed all around the border of the picture at left. The text at right says “Wiggly fed birds.” Except, y’know, we used her real name. I think she looks hilarious in my sunglasses.

We were really into the interactive budgie exhibit. The page at left proudly proclaims, “I TOOK THE PICTURE.” At right: Note the budgie perched on the stick Wiggly is holding (which had been dipped in something sticky and then dredged in birdseed to attract avian acquaintances) and the feather that Wiggly and I found on the ground and kept as a souvenir.

“PHOTOS BY WIGGLY.” It’s hard to tell, but these are from the African penguin exhibit — hence the parade of penguins dancing madly around the borders.

And last but not least, here are Wiggly and a little boy admiring the penguins (those are waves around the edges of the page, drawn by Wiggly and then treated with glitter glue to look more like water) and Wiggly riding an ostrich on the zoo carousel.

We had a couple more pages in the scrapbook, too, but they didn’t look as cool ‘cos we didn’t have time to finish them up before Wiggly had to leave for gymnastics class.

Now … time to get offline and reorganize my craft closet. After all my artsy-craftsy adventures this week, I’m beginning to realize that there are disadvantages to my throw-everything-in-a-bin-and-shut-the-door approach to storing craft supplies….