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Peanut Play

By Meagan Ruffing

Note: This craft should NOT be performed by or around anyone with a peanut allergy.

When you hear the word "peanuts" you may think of PBJs, peanut brittle or, depending on your age, even Jimmy Carter. You probably don't think of crafts. But these projects make use of the illustrious legume in a whole, new creative way.

Finger Puppets
5-10 empty peanut shells (plus a few more in case some break)
Tempura paint (multiple colors)
Paper plate

Break peanut shell at its weakest point, in the middle. Shells can be delicate so be careful when breaking them. To make finger puppets, you want as complete a shell as possible. Pull peanut out. (Sometimes the peanut won't come out, but your child can still fit one of her fingers in the shell. If that's the case, don't worry about getting the peanut out.) Let your child use paint and a brush to paint a face on the peanut shell. Leave shell to dry on a paper plate. Repeat. Once shells are dried, have your child put the shells on her fingers and help her sing the "Daddy Peanut" song. (Make up your own tune.) "Daddy Peanut, Daddy Peanut, where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do? Mommy Peanut, Mommy Peanut, where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do?" Repeat song using Brother Peanut, Sister Peanut, and so on.

Butterflies Peanut shells
Cardstock or construction paper
Butterfly template
Markers & stickers
Hot glue gun with glue
Googly eyes
Black pipe cleaner

This craft will require help from an adult since a glue gun is involved. Have your child pick out a full-sized peanut shell. Draw a butterfly shape on paper and let your child cut it out. (See picture below for general shape or find a template online.) This is a great time for your child to decorate the wings with markers and stickers. Cut the butterfly in half lengthwise, creating separate left and right wings. Pipe a thick line of glue on one side of the peanut shell and stick the flat edge of the left wing in the glue. Hold there until it sets. Repeat on the other side of the shell and with the other wing. Both wings should be across from each other. Glue two eyes on the front of the peanut shell (or just color eyes with marker). Cut the pipe cleaner into one, 2-inch piece and form it into the shape of a V. Place one large pea-sized dab of hot glue on the backside of the peanut. Place the apex of the V in that dab of glue and hold until it sets.

Parenting journalist Meagan Ruffing is always looking for fun, new ways to get her kids involved with crafts. Through the writing of this article, her 4-year-old daughter Elinor realized just how much she loved eating peanuts. For some peanut-inspired recipes, visit meaganruffing.com.

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