Learning about Endangered Species - with bananas!
At Freeman’s Bay Primary School, Charlie and Ella have been learning about endangered species and (always one to look for a craft angle) I thought we could learn about the Bottle Nosed Dolphin and Yellow Eyed Penguin by crafting them, with bananas - frozen and fresh! I know that if it weren’t the pictures supporting this project you might think I am bananas myself! But I have done this project many times - and it’s always a hit. Great to do if you have a heap of kids over. I bet you all the bananas in Auckland everyone will love this craft. We made our project with fair-trade, organic bananas from All Good Bananas. Nice one!
For the bottle nosed dolphins you need
Now for something with the fresh bananas - something that is quick to put together! We started to open it like we were going to peel it but just opened the banana a little bit - which made for the mouth and made a little dot for their eye. The bananas sit well at the bottom of a plastic container surrounded by grapes (pseudo ocean).
Extra grapes for the crafter who can remember most facts about our friends in the sea.
About the Bottle Nosed Dolphin…
Their curved mouths give the appearance of a friendly, permanent smile. Bottle Nosed Dolphins travel in social groups and communicate with each other by a system of squeaks and whistles - sometimes they can make up to 1,000 clicking noises when looking for their prey!
What you need for the Yellow Eyed penguins
2. The chocolate sauce you get in a bottle which freezes on ice cream
3. Coloured lollies - we used Smarties for their fabulous colours
4. Edible eyeballs - we have a great cupcake store nearby where we buy these - but you can use yellow smarties.
Here’s how to go about it:
1. Peel and cut your bananas in half crossways and pop them into the freezer - a few hours should do. Each banana makes two penguins – with their pointy heads on top and flat bottoms down below.
2. Pour some of the chocolate sauce into a small container - this makes for the dark dorsal (upper body) surface while the white lower body will be the natural banana. This black and white colouring has been adopted by many marine animals.
3. Very quickly after putting the chocolate on the upper banana put some eyes in. Then pop a dot of chocolate sauce underneath the eyes to secure them and a blob at the bottom for the feet. Offer extra bananas to the crafter who can tell you the most facts about our yellow eyed friends.
This was a four handed project - I was actively involved in helping putting these together with my younger crafting friends.
About the Yellow Eyed Penguin…
This species of Penguin is endangered, with an estimated population of 4,000. It is considered one of the world’s rarest penguin species and may be the most ancient of all living penguins. The Maori name is Hoiho.