Giraffes Can’t Dance – But They CAN Stamp!
It’s time for another monthly themed picture book link up with some other creative bloggers. This month we are focusing on a perennial favorite- Giraffes Can’t Dance. I have to be honest- despite it’s popularity, I had not read this book until a few years ago. When I finally did, I loved Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees‘ tale of Gerald, an unsure, self-conscious giraffe who pays too much attention to the taunts of the other animals.
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While the other creatures of the jungle dance confidently, Gerald internalizes their remarks. He must be too clumsy, too useless, and clearly- he can’t dance. A friendly little cricket comes along, and helps Gerald realize that he can dance- he just needs to find his music. With that boost, Gerald is able to dance freely and share his new-found moves with the rest of the awed animals. It turns out that Gerald – and giraffes – can dance! The illustrations are bright and lively, sure to draw in young readers. The text is full of novel words, making read-a-louds engaging and enriching.
My entire life, I’ve been Gerald. As a child, going up to bat during a softball game was a panicky experience- all eyes were on me! Public speaking assignments in high school were nerve wracking, and I would shake throughout them. I am the wife sitting down at weddings because I don’t feel comfortable dancing in front of others. I don’t even like to call to order a pizza! Not surprisingly, there’s also an awful lot of Gerald in my mom as well – like mother, like daughter I suppose. I love Giraffes Can’t Dance as an opportunity to share an example of finding inner confidence to my boys. I don’t want them to grow up with my same level of nerves. Ultimately, I want them to feel comfortable dancing freely. I know they can find a role model for this in Gerald.
Giraffes Can’t Dance?! Stamp A Confident Giraffe!
You will need:
- Canvas (we used 9″ x 12″, but size is fairly flexible).
- Base acrylic craft paint (if desired). We used aqua.
- Yellow acrylic craft paint.
- Brown acrylic craft paint. (Or a brown stamp pad, if you prefer).
- Paint brushes. (We used assorted sponge brushes, with 1 small bristle brush).
- Small wooden candlestick holder.
- Craft foam shape. (We used a peel and stick hexagon. You can cut your own shape and glue it on as well).
- Alternatively, you can use a ready-made rubber or foam stamp. We couldn’t find what we wanted locally, so we just made our own.
- Black permanent marker.
- Eye stickers or google eyes.
- Removable contact paper.
- Printable giraffe template.
- First, paint the canvas your desired base color using a sponge brush and acrylic craft paint. Keep in mind that the yellow for the giraffe is pretty light, so you don’t want your base to be too dark. We did two coats of aqua, letting each coat dry completely.
- Next, use your printable template to trace the giraffe outline onto your contact paper. Cut the inside of the giraffe shape out, leaving a stencil that covers the rest of the canvas. (Kids may need extra help with the cutting- it’s a tricky step for some!) Stick the contact paper stencil down, and make sure the edges of the giraffe are well ‘stuck’.
- Paint the giraffe body with yellow acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush. Depending on your base color, you may need a few coats. Allow each coat to dry completely between applications.
- While the yellow paint dries, you can create your stamp. Attach the craft foam shape to the flat bottom of a small wooden candlestick holder. Use a small sponge brush to add a light coat of brown acrylic craft paint to the stamp. Stamp the giraffe’s spots across the body. I suggest using washable paint, and cleaning up promptly. A damp paper towel should clean the foam shape easily, and the stamp can be used again in the future.
- Next, peel up the contact paper template, revealing your giraffe! Make sure to let all the paint dry completely.
- Add details like a tail to the giraffe using a small paint brush and brown acrylic craft paint. This is a chance for kids to really add some personal touches and infuse some personality in their giraffes!
- Next, attach a pair of eye stickers, or glue down some google eyes to give your giraffe sight.
- As the final step, use a fine black permanent marker to add some music notes around the giraffe. After all, it’s easier to dance when you’re surrounded by music!
Finally- crank some tunes and have a giraffe-inspired dance party of your own!
what are your kids favorite board books? Let me know in the comments below!
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