Child's Learning Snake
by Charlotte Rascon

Charlotte says, "I got the idea from one of my aunts several years ago at a baby shower she was giving for her daughter. Hers was on blocks (choo choo train) that "velcroed" together. She got it from a magazine at a doctor's office, that's the pictures. Don't know which magazine, sorry can't be of more help. Mine is made of thin t-shirt fabric and stuffed, the whole snake is knotted to divide the steps so that the snake moves and wiggles freely. I also used the new eye and rivet "baby safe" (won't pop off). 

TOY SNAKE

Here's a project that you can make for your children to help them learn how to button, snap, lace and zip with out the expense of a "Dressing" doll.

MATERIALS:
Fabric Scraps - bright colors - 7" by 12" to 7" by 16" pieces
Scraps of batting - light weight -the same size as your fabric
A small red felt scrap for the tongue
6" zipper (directions to use what you have in tips)
2 or 3 Large buttons
A shoe lace
2-3 large snaps - gripper gun type if you have them.
One 6" piece of velcro or hook and loop tape.
2 buttons for eyes or firmly attach able wiggly eyes
Thread --- STRONG Thread for any hand sewing.
Pencil or chalk

DIRECTIONS:
All directions are for 1/2" seam allowances. Each piece of fabric has a matching batting section which will be worked as one piece.
*NOTE* - Remember you are making a child's toy and they can choke on small pieces. Reinforce and use "Button And Carpet" thread or dental floss for small pieces such as buttons and snaps, or use the NEW Snap/Lock Button/Shank Eye (child proof).

HEAD
Cut 10 blocks of bright color fabric 7" by 12". Cut 2 blocks 7" by 16". Round off one end of the 7" by 16" piece, as shown in diagram. Make a piece of batting for each piece of fabric.

Sew the straight edges of the 7" by 16" piece up to the start of the curved area. Leave the straight edges open. Pin across the back of the curved area. Open the curved area and trace it on to another piece of fabric.

Stitch the mouth on to the curved area. Turn right sides out.
Fold the raw edges of the straight edge in 1/2". Top stitch closed. Press flat.
Hand tack the tongue into the back of the mouth. Securely attach eyes.

BODY SECTIONS

ZIPPER
Line up 2 blocks with matching batting. Stitch zipper into seam allowance of one 7" edge, keeping the teeth in the body of the sections. Turn and press stitched edge.
Repeat for the other edge of the zipper, in another color block.
With wrong sides of the fabric together, stitch around the remaining edges leaving an opening on the other 7" edge to turn right side out.
Turn right sides out. Press the area you turned through under and press the whole piece flat.
Along both edges of the zipper, top stitch through all layers 1/2" from where the fabric joins the zipper.
Top stitch close to the other 7" edge to close the opening.

ALL OTHER SECTIONS
Line up all fabric and batting sections. Stitch with wrong sides together leaving a sectionsof the 7" edge open to turn through.
Turn right side out and press under turning area. Top stitch near both 7" edges. Top stitch again 1" in from each 7" edge.

JOINING SECTIONS

Lay out sections on the table. You can use any order for the different types of attaching sections. Make button holes for the size button you are using. Attach buttons to the section which will join to the buttonholed section.
Attach snaps to both edges of those two joining sections.
For the lace up sections, make buttonholes or use small grommets. Attach the shoe lace to both edge sections. This keeps it from getting lost and avoids strangling.
When making this snake for small children, you can also keep the laces very short by making two button holes close to each other and just use this section for bow tying skills.  **NOTE**  Always think safety in making a child's toy.
Attach velcro to the two edges that will join with the velcro.

TIPS
You can use a separating zipper for increased dexterity skills, but I recommend a one piece zipper. It keeps the two snake pieces together even when they forget to zip up.
To use a zipper that you have on hand. Bar tack the end of the zipper so it will fit your 6" area. Trim off excess zipper. Cover raw edge of zipper with twill tape, bias tape or seam binding and stitch in to place.
Before assembling sections, decide on the order you will want them in and applique numbers on the top sides, to reinforce another learning experience.
Applique or embroider the child or snake's name on the head section.
Keep the toy in a travel bag for the car, to keep the child busy while you drive.
 

 

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