This is a classic tale of selfless love, or learning to be satisfied with what you have, depending on how you view it. The tree, who selflessly gives is happy, the boy as he grows and wants more, becomes increasingly unhappy.
This activity came about due to me having a surplus of sawdust, and thinking, because I hate waste, that there must be something I can do with that, and indeed, google revealed a variety of different recipes for sawdust clay. So I looked at the simplest few and decided to make my own version.
up to 1 cup Water
1 cup flour
1 cup sawdust
Make a paste of flour and water (just mix them together as if making papier-mâché, don’t worry if it’s a bit lumpy).
Add sawdust (wear mask to avoid breathing it in) and mix well
It will probably be too sticky, add more flour and sawdust and knead until it’s a dough-like consistency.
Use the clay to make models, just as you would with playdough. We used cutters and silicon moulds to shape things. We decided to try to do some jewellery, so put holes in the top of most of our creation.
To make beads:
Take a small piece of clay, roll it into a ball between your fingers, poke a cocktail stick through the middle of the ball. Then holding the cocktail stick, not the clay, roll the ball back and forwards on the table, the hole will expand and the bead will elongate.
Once you have finished your creations, place them on baking trays and if you’re lucky enough to have an airing cupboard like me, leave them in their for a few days, otherwise bake on a very low heat for a few hours, or leave out in the sun/over radiators.
Once dried, you can remove rough bits using sandpaper. Then, paint your creations using kids’ paint. Jumbles didn’t fancy painting his, so he coloured his with felt tip pens, which worked fine, though the coverage was a bit less.
If you made beads, painting them on the table can be tricky, thread them onto beading cord and string them up, either hanging down from something, or what we did was fill 2 empty bottles which had handles with water to weigh them down, then tied the cord to the handles so that the beads were suspended in the air. Make sure you have paper beneath to catch the drips, but it will stop the beads sticking to the paper. They may stick to each other a bit, but I found you could pull them apart easily once dry.
Once the paint is dry, varnish them with watered down PVA glue (2 parts glue to 1 part water). Bean wasn’t happy with the sparkle level, I’d said the PVA would make them shine and obviously it doesn’t when wet, so I added some glitter to the glue, so she was painting sparkles onto them.