My daughter's two youngest were spending the night with me during the 2001 holiday season when I got out the dome where Edself Elf Feeds the Deer. Just as their older brothers had when they were small, they looked closely at all the details of the deer and their elf caretaker.
Jenna mused thoughtfully, "I wonder why we can't do projects, Nana." My heart skipped a beat, and I asked casually, "Oh, would you like to do a project?" They
both nodded, and thus began a series of Grandchildren's
Projects which have been a source of great delight for
me and a learning experience for all of us.
So, I placed inexpensive ornaments and decorations purchased in after-Christmas sales on the table in the workroom so they could choose what they wanted to use. I suggested they see if they could put things together so they would be like a little story. Jenna chose a Santa figure and a little cart, and Joel chose elves, a dog and a sled.
First, we examined the deer feeding scene closely and I told them how I had made the base. Next, I showed them how to glue pieces of styrofoam to cardboard and carve it to suggest a snowy hillside. Then they experimented with the placement of their figures. When they were satisfied, they coated the styrofoam with spackling compound, then sprinkled on baking soda. While the spackle was still damp, they put glue on the items and pushed them into place so that they would look natural in the snow.
Unfortunately, in those days I didn't think to take pictures of their work in progress.
Here is Jenna's scene. The cart contains a teddy, a wreath, a small tree, a nutcracker figure, a couple of small toys and a little string of lights. Jenna's story was that Santa is wondering what has happened to the reindeer that was pulling the cart.
Here is the scene from another angle.
This is Joel's scene. He said the elves have been sledding and are waiting for the dog to come down so they can go back to Santa's house where it's warm.
Here it is from another angle. At the time they made these scenes, Jenna was five and Joel was six and a half.