Moomah the Magazine
Unusual Creatures

Unusual Creatures

If only we could hold onto the unrestricted imagination of our childhood. Children can dream up the most spectacular and unearthly of things, unburdened by facts or plausibility.

Michael Hearst’s book, Unusual Creatures, explores fifty-six different creatures that are shockingly of this earth (though your kids won’t find this shocking). You’ll find that sometimes what you think isn’t plausible actually is. The animal lovers of your house will enjoy all the interesting facts about these beautifully illustrated animals; which animal can poop cubes and which creature is resistant to the vacuum of outer space?

Michael Hearst is also an accomplished composer and the Founder of One Ring Zero so there is even a CD, Songs For Unusual Creatures, to accompany the book that’s inspired by its' inhabitants. The Blue-Footed Booby, Magnapinna Squid, Tardigrade and Aye-Aye all have their own track (you know all of those creatures, right?).

This book can provide families with lots of entertainment and special time to spend together. We recommend sitting down with Unusual Creatures, listening to the CD and then getting to work on making your own unusual creature (scroll down for our Unusual Creatures Placemat Project) that has yet to be discovered. Maybe your animal poops hexagons? There’s no limits to what you can create.

So inspired by this book, we couldn't resist putting together some fun activities for you to do as a family.

 

 

1. GUESS THE TRACK

Songs For Unusual Creatures has sixteen tracks, each track inspired by one unusual creature from the book.

PRINT the name of each creature that has inspired a track on the CD.

MIX the creatures around and work as a team to MATCH the track with the creature that inspired it. You will notice that some tracks use heavier bass instruments, possibly representing elephant shrews, while others are more whimsical, perhaps representing how the animal floats around its wet environment.

LISTEN hard and you should be able to mix and match correctly to get the correct order.

2. DRAW THE DESCRIPTION

The book describes each creature in great detail, though the animal doesn't always look how you may have imagined it. Have some fun trying to draw the creatures through description alone. Working in pairs, have one person act as the describer  and another as the artist. 

DESCRIBE your chosen creature, using the information provided in the book as well as your own observations from the image provided.

Your partner will DRAW what they believe the creature looks like according to your description. Do not tell the artist which part goes where, it is much more fun to see what they come up with.

COMPARE the artist's drawing with the actual image of the creature. Were they close?

3. BECOME A COMPOSER

FIND objects around the house that you think may make interesting instruments or make your own out of recycled materials.

DESIGNATE an instrument to each member of your new band and imagine how your creature should sound. Should it have a loud drum bass or a smooth whistle sound? Should the beat be fast or should it be slow?

PRACTICE playing your instruments until you find your sound. 

Here are some ways to make instruments out of recycled materials:

• Fill glass jars with different amounts of water. Use a spoon to gently tap on the outside of each glass. Do you hear the different pitched sounds?
• Use duct tape to cover the end of one cardboard paper towel tube. Fill the tube with a few grains of uncooked rice and then tape off the other end of the tube. Shake your instrument. Can you hear the rattle?
• Stretch some elastic jewelry cord across the opening of an empty tissue box. Tape the ends of the cord down so that they are tightly stretched across the opening, like strings on a guitar. Strum your cords. Do you hear some tunes?
• Collect an empty plastic bin and turn it face down. Use some chop sticks as your drum sticks and play the drums. Can you make a beat?

4. DESIGN YOUR OWN UNUSUAL CREATURE PLACEMAT

We never would have imagined that half of the creatures mentioned in this book existed. Use your imagination to come up with a new creature that no-one else knew about until now!

DOWNLOAD and PRINT the  images below.

CUT the pieces that you would like to use for your own creature. 

GLUE the body parts together on an 11" x 7" piece of construction paper, forming your new creature.

ADD your own drawings to really make it unusual!

On the opposite side of the paper, WRITE your creatures name and a short description. Identify which area of the world it originates from, and come up with a fun fact about it just like in the book! 

LAMINATE your piece to turn it into an Unusual Creature Placemat.

Click THE TEMPLATES BELOW to Download, print, cut and create >>

  
 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK: UNUSUAL CREATURES >>
CLICK HERE TO BUY THE CD: SONGS FOR UNUSUAL CREATURES >>

Posted in: Animal Kingdom   Crafts: Make It!   

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