Accordion Critters

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Bounce around with R10300 Accordion Critters! Use the full color animal projects to teach children how to fold paper accordion style—an essential exercise for developing fine motor skills.

Paste the finished accordion-folded legs onto the cute animal characters and string them up to use as puppets! Encourage creative thinking with dramatic play, literacy, basic lessons in biology and physical education.

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The Accordion Critters are printed in full color and simply need to be popped out of the paper backing. There are 12 different kinds of animals. Pick a cat, dog, snake, frog, elephant, pig, spider, octopus, monkey, sheep, flamingo or giraffe. Each animal has different indications for where the paper strips go.

Before assembling the animals, exercise your students’ understanding by asking how many legs each animal has. They can use the markers on the animal bodies to determine how many legs are required, or they can guess. Not all of the animals in the pack have the same number of legs. In fact, the animals with the most legs are the octopus and spider! Give the octopus and spider to older students, or partner two students together to complete these animals.

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Start with the separate pile of paper strips. The paper strip colors coordinate with the color of the critters’ body. Accordion fold the strips or combine with other colors to make interesting braid patterns. Note: We suggest that younger students use the basic accordion
folding technique to make their Accordion Critter legs. Older students can exercise fine motor skills while adding a new paper folding technique to their repertoire!
To accordion fold the legs, start at the top. Fold the edge of the paper strip down about 1” (2 cm) then flip the strip to the opposite side and fold down 1” (2 cm) again. Continue doing this all the way down the length of the paper strip.

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To braid the strips, place one paper strip face down on a flat surface. Place a second paper strip on top of the previous strip, of a 90° angle to the top edge. Flip the second paper strip so that it faces upwards. Tape the two strips together. Fold the bottom paper strip up and over the top strip so that it goes in the opposite direction. Repeat for the second paper strip. Continue folding the paper strips up and over each other all the way to the end. At the very end of the braid, tape the ends together to secure the entire braid. If you braid two different colors, you’ll notice that the colors alternate throughout
the braid.

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Lay the Accordion Critter on a flat surface and attach the legs onto the leg base with tape. Hold the Accordion Critter up at its sides. Notice the two side edges are flat and line up when you curve the body. Join the two sides together to make the Accordion Critter body curl into a cylinder. Secure with tape. Add tongues to the frog and snake. You can curl or accordion-fold the tongue.

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To finish the Accordion Critter, cut a length of string to hang the Critter. Tie the ends of the string onto the pre-punched holes at the sides of the Accordion Critter. Children can grasp the middle of the string to hold the Accordion Critter up like a puppet. You can additionally hang the Critter off a ledge or from the ceiling using a hook or piece of tape. Accordion Critters are fun to play with! Exercise both fine and gross motor skills with paper folding and with puppetry!

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