Unicorns, Laminas, and Whatever You Can Imagine.

Channelling his inner Octicorn.

At the Fishtown Library Lunchtime Literacy session this week, we asked our young friends to suspend reality for the moment and enter the realm of imaginary and fantastical animals.

Have you ever met an octicorn? We began by reading a delightfully humorous and touching book titled Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and Justin Love. It’s about a rare creature who is half unicorn and half octopus and struggles to find his place in the world. The message is that it is wonderful to be unique, even if it is hard to look different from everyone else around you. After reading, we celebrated being unique by creating our own unicorn horns to wear. 

Making the uni-horns. We enlisted the assistance of the adult friends and turned the art project into a bonding activity. Children and caregivers worked together to trace and cut out  felt triangles and circles. We hot glued two sides of the triangle together to create a cone shape and allowed the children to stuff the cones with cotton balls. A final hot glue step to close the opening with the circle piece of felt, some gold thread wrapped to create the spiral, ribbon for a chin strap, and voila! a real unicorn horn!

Building our own laminas. (Hint: “animals” spelled backwards) After experiencing what it was like to be an octicorn, our friends had the opportunity to build their own mixed-up animal. We offered drawings of various animal bodies, heads, and other features and asked the children to assemble an imaginary animal, name it, and decide what kind of animal, or lamina, they had created. It was amusing to witness their reactions to the instructions. While this girl had no problem suspending reality for the project, another boy kept trying to match the animal bodies to the “correct” heads. He finally settled on a cat-eagle and even made up a scientific-sounding name for the species. 

Be who you are. The takeaway message for the day was to celebrate the uniqueness of the person you are and to recognize that in everyone. We read Be Who You Are by Todd Parr and the children enjoyed the colorful and wacky illustrations depicting a universe of possible ways a person can be whatever she wants to be and love it. It was a lesson in self love and respect for the individuality of others.

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