Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Chicken in a Manger - Two Versions

Reuse the manger at your church during the rest of the year with this creative idea...

I took Tahlia to Bible class at a church in Melbourne, and she absolutely loved one of the play activities they had for the littlies. They had put some stuffed chickens in the manger and they were sitting on blown eggs. There were empty egg cartons so they could go egg collecting! She loved it so much, I had to come home and make something similar.

When I told my friend about the plan, she hunted the net and found a pattern for a stuffed chicken that lays eggs. With the temptation of even more ways to play, she convinced me to make that version rather than the very simple version I had shown her photos of.

I would like to show you both versions!

Easy No-Sew Chicken 

This chicken is very basic, but still such wonderful fun! It consists of three main pieces of felt hot glued together, plus the wings, comb and wattle. You can hot glue them on too. Just use a colouring page of a large chicken like this one and use it as a template to cut out your pieces. You may have to print it out a couple of times to get all the pieces.

Here is a diagram showing the names of the various chicken parts:

Image Source

Depending on the colouring page you choose, glue the two side pieces together to about an inch under the wattle, and a couple of inches down the tail. Perhaps on the one I suggested, you might want to only glue to the edge of the wattle and the tip of the tail.

Once it is dry, spread the sides out and sit it on a piece of paper so you can tip it back and forth and mark some beginning, end and middle points so you can draw a rough eye/segment shape on a piece of paper for the bottom section. It may help to stuff the unfinished chook first to get a more accurate shape. When you are happy with it, cut it out of felt and hot glue it to the bottom edges, leaving room so you can stuff it if you haven't already. Then complete the gluing.

Wait until it is stuffed to glue on the wings so you get a better idea of where they look good. You can glue on the wattle and comb now too, and add eyes if you like. Or you could just draw or paint them on instead.

Collecting the eggs was tonnes of fun!!

Here is a YouTube demo of how to blow eggs out of their shells so you can use them for collecting:

Egg-Laying Chicken:

The pattern is available to purchase from ikatbag. Here are a couple of her photos:

Her pattern comes with a pattern for a chick too!

The pattern recommends you use knit material. I made mine out of felt, and am regretting it. It is started to pill immediately. And as you may already know, I like to double my felt whenever it is not attached to anything else, such as the collar and tail.  Because of that it was rather difficult to sew some sections together, particularly where the the tail joins the body. I did get a little confused with the egg channel - don't try the more difficult sections late at night when you really just need to go to bed! Go to bed!!!

I used a cardboard glad wrap tube to fill the egg channel while I stuffed the chicken so it would leave enough room for the eggs to fit through.

My friend who convinced me to make this version made the orange one...

Why not add a duck in there too!

I made 'hay' by ripping up some calico off cuts into strips. I think it would have made it easier for the chicken to sit on the eggs better if I had made some more.

I bought some rubber bouncing eggs after Easter - they bounce unevenly and are hard to catch. They look very realistic until you touch them.

Relating Chickens In Church...

  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?? We know the answer to that one as God made everything mature in the Garden of Eden.
  • Jesus said He wanted to gather the Israelite's under His wings like a mother hen, but alas they were unwilling. See Matthew 23 and Luke 13.
  • Ask, Seek, Knock!  “Is there any father here who, if his son asked him for a fish, would instead of a fish give him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg would give him a scorpion? So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will the Father keep giving the Holy Spirit from heaven to those who keep asking him!” Luke 11:11-13.


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