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Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Okapi

When my daughter was in second grade, they had a unit on rain forests.  To culminate their studies, they had to choose an animal that lived in the Amazon rain forest and create a life-sized replica.  They were going to turn their room into a makeshift rain forest zoo.

We had parent teacher conferences as the unit was kicking off.  The teacher told us Miss K had chosen a butterfly.  YES! I could help her make a life sized model of a butterfly.  Easy peasy.  Visions of food coloring and coffee filters held together with a fuzzy pipe cleaner (ahem, chenille stem nowadays)

As the unit progressed, I noticed other animals showing up in the classroom.  Six foot python made out of dryer duct thingamajig.  Birds, spiders, monkeys.  It was awesome.

Two days before the animal was due, my daughter dropped the bombshell. She didn't have a butterfly.  She'd chosen an okapi.  Apparently the particular butterfly she'd chosen wasn't native to the rain forest so instead of picking a different one, she chose an okapi.

That led me to ask the following question:

WHAT THE HELL IS AN OKAPI AND HOW DO WE BUILD ONE?

Thank God for Google, that's all I have to say.  THIS is an okapi:



Uh, yeah.

Wasn't going to need any coffee filters after all.

I got some foam core, brown felt, stuffing, and zebra print ribbon.  the goal was to cut two silhouettes out of the foam board, get them to stick together somehow, pad the makeshift skeleton with the stuffing and cover THAT with the brown felt.  Good plan, right?
Except my silhouette had four legs...so by the time I attached the other one our okapi had EIGHT LEGS.  I burst out laughing....we were all but done by the time I realized my design flaw. I just bound his legs together with the ribbon.  So he looked a little silly....but daughterling loved him.




(Oh, and obviously we cheated on the life-size part since these suckers can be as tall as me!)


Hopefully I prove to be a better writer than I am okapi builder.  

Do any of you have any help-the-kids-with-a-project gone awry?

13 comments:

Stephanie Thornton said...

I've never heard of an okapi until now- very cute! And the daughterling is adorable too!

My monkey is just starting pre-school so I haven't come across any projects yet. I'm sure there are many to come in the future!

Nicole MacDonald said...

hehehehe - it's gorgeous! Well done super mum ;p

Al said...

Why do these projects always turn into a "bigger than Ben-Hur" event?

aspiring_x said...

okapis are sooo cute! i remember first seeing them in the zoo and thinking they had to be a joke- no way the thing was real.. then it moved!
anyway, my kids haven't come home with any big projects yet... but i'm reminded of our VBS at church...
i usually have big builds for those- but they're self-imposed. then i have to get rid of the stuff (life-sized dinosaur cut-outs or a giant squid being being the biggest)! luckily our little library usually will take them off my hands- (the dinosaur cut-out even made a tour of different libraries for a while)so i don't have to throw then away after all the time put in!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Aww. Your daughter loved the okapi, thats the main thing. I do wonder how these 'small' projects manage to evolve into lifesize wonders though.

Lord help me when my goddaughter gets to school age. I'll be roped in to helping! :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I was thinking the same thing--what the heck is an okapi? LOL!
Learn something new everyday. :)
You did a fantastic job!

Jaydee Morgan said...

You did a great job on that - and with short notice as well. I would have been too busy freaking out to check google to see what an okapi even was.

Lenny said...

hi miss vicki! wow i love your okapi! i could see your daughter loves it too. you did a really good job on it but i gotta tell you that picture of it standing in the middle of that room got me laughing real hard. i didnt ever hear of a okapi til just now. i think i could want one for a pet.
...smiles from lenny

Tamara Narayan said...

Hey, that's a might fine lookin' okapi, if you ask me. Well done! My oldest will start first grade this year, so we'll have to see. Actually, I'm psyched. I've already built a huge cardboard castle and a wooden house for the kid's stuffed animals. So, with my luck, my daughters won't let me anywhere near their project, because I'll go overboard with "help".

Bish Denham said...

That is a very cool okapi! Good thing your daughter has a talented and creative mum.

Matthew Rush said...

So ... its like a Zebra Giraffe with the face of an Anteater? That thing is damn cute!

Theresa Milstein said...

The animal looks like those old cars that have gotten spare doors and hoods, but the owner never bothered to repaint them.

You did an awesome job, especially considering the scope of the assignment. Life sized?! None of my children's teachers have subjected me to a project that was too unwieldy.

Slushpile Slut said...

I don't think Martha Stewart herself could have fashioned a better Okapi! What a great mom you are :)