No matter how low the mercury falls, it never gets too cold to play in this snowy enchanted forest. Made from thin sheets of foam rubber (ask for Foamies at your local craft or art supply store) or poster board, the pieces are a cinch to assemble and virtually unbreakable, unlike many tabletop figurines.
ROUND UP SOME ANIMALS
Once your child has decided which creatures he'd like to populate his forest, help him sketch the parts of each figure on the foam or poster board. Begin by outlining the animal's torso with only its head and tail attached. Next, draw two pairs of legs (and a set of antlers, if appropriate) separate from the rest of the body. Cut out the individual pieces with scissors and then snip narrow notches in the top of each set of legs and the bottom of the torso, as shown. Fit the pieces together so the animal will stand on its own. Use the same method to attach the antlers. Add eyes (or stripes on a raccoon's or skunk's tail) with colored markers or paints
BUILD A SNOWMAN
Cut out two matching foam snowmen. Notch one cutout from the head to the middle of its belly and the other from the bottom to the middle of its belly. Fit both pieces together. Now cut out a notched top hat and carrot nose, and attach them to the snowman. For a scarf, cut out a wavy ribbon shape with one curved end. Cut off the curved end about 1 inch from the edge, then notch the cut edge on both pieces of the scarf and fit them onto the snowman's neck. Draw on coal eyes and a mouth.
FIND A CONSTELLATION
To make stars and a moon come out in your forest, start with pairs of matching shapes. Notch one cutout from the center of a point and the matching star from between two points. Then fit the pieces together. (For a moon, use notched circles.) Thread fishing line through the tops and hang them above the scene.
It wouldn't be a forest without pines. Again, start with like shapes. Notch one from the top to the center and the other from the bottom to the center. Then fit the two together.
LET IT SNOW
Now your child can set up his forest on a sheet of cardboard covered with drifts of faux snow.