I originally saw the idea for making felt snakes over at the blog Montessori Mama, but was only reminded of it recently when it was featured again on The Moveable Alphabet. It was perfect timing because I have felt that Kal-El just really isn't ready to try the buttoning frame yet based on what I've observed when watching him work with the snap frame and the occasional button on a Learn-to-Dress Doll doll.
For this project I used some "vintage" buttons, some sheets of felt, and some ribbon. I cut lengths of ribbon just long enough to go around my neck in case the boys wanted them to be "necklaces for Mommy." I sewed a button on to each end of the ribbon so that they could work from either side and that the button on the opposite end could serve as a "stop." Because this project might look suspiciously like sewing to my husband (who probably wouldn't mind anyway), I tried to make it look as manly as possible. This is how it turned out:
I was really happy with the ribbon I used. I thought one looks like a man's dress tie, and the other has the alphabet (which Kal-El loves) in non-girly colors. I also found a really great package of felt that had a tiger stripe, zebra stripe, and cheetah print with coordinating solids. Kal-El recognized the patterns right away and was very excited. I used the most manly buttons I had in my button bag. Here he is working on putting the button through a hole.
I had so much fun making it I got really carried away, much to my husband's amusement, and cut out 200 pieces of felt before I realized what I was doing. I separated that into three groups and made six ribbons with buttons instead of two. I put very large buttons on one set, medium on the next, and small on the last and cut the buttonholes to size accordingly. This way I can increase the difficulty as I wish. I really liked the buttons I used on the medium set by the way, I had some that looked like black snake skin. Very manly.
The project worked like a charm! He was very interested in working with it even though it was difficult for him. He never did actually finish a snake...he discovered the joys of unbuttoning well before that happened. I think this was just the intermediate step he needed.