My six year old was assigned to do an Animal Report for his kindergarten class. In addition to the report, he needed to make a model or drawing of the animal. He chose alligators and decided that he needed a stuffed alligator as his model. I tried to sway him towards a clay sculpture, but this boy is not easily swayed.
We found some fun outdoor fabric in my stash that he decided looked just like alligator skin and we got to work. He traced out a basic body shape on the green fabric and I cut it out. Then he showed me where the “spikes”, or ridges of the alligator should go. I made tucks in the fabric along those lines. The underside was made using some brown fabric that we traced the be-tucked top piece out on, so that it matched. Then I made some oversized feet with jumbo ricrac for the claws.
Seth was super skeptical of the ricrac for the claws at first. So after making the first two, I handed them over for inspection
Seth sat on my lap while we sewed it together, helping me to direct the fabric and critiquing my technique. White ricrac served as the teeth and he picked out blue and red buttons for the eyes. The alligator needed one blue and one red because “sometimes alligators just lay there and sometimes they attack and are scary”. Makes sense to me!
He says his favorite part was stuffing it. We ran out of fiberfill and ended up using various fabric scraps I’d
horded conveniently saved. Due to the scraps, Seth ended up with a very heavy alligator for his project, which he decided made it even more authentic. He also couldn’t stop giggling when I showed him that since it was made of outdoor fabric, water beads on its “skin” just like a real alligator.
Seth was so proud of it, but had a hard time leaving it at school for a week on display with the rest of the reports. It took a while for his teacher and myself to convince him he really would get it back at the end.
It was so fun making the alligator with Seth, and all the models made for an impressive display outside the classroom.
So now this kid is an alligator expert
And possibly a future taxidermist.
For any interested parties, here is Seth giving his oral report. His teacher is asking him questions that he answers using his written report.
I love his description of the ricrac teeth, “this cool…white…stuff”