Cow Wrestling is NOT a Spectator Sport

cow wrestling is not a spectator sportCrank up “Eye of the Tiger” and get PUMPED. Because the wrestling match is ON. Can your oatmeal container cow launch off the ropes and knock over “Big Red,” the biggest, meanest bull in the ring? A golden paper cup trophy awaits the victor!

We read Clancy the Courageous Cow by Lachie Hume (Greenwillow Books, 2006). Clancy is a Belted Galloway who was born without a belt. Because Clancy is different, he is alienated from the herd. Additionally, the Belted Galloways are caught in a vicious cycle with their neighbors, the Herefords. Every year, the Herefords win the big Cow Wrestling Contest, which earns them the right to graze on the richest pastures. This allows the Herefords to stay big and strong, and the Belted Galloways to remain small and weak. But Clancy, with his missing white belt, can sneak over to the Galloways’s field at night. He gets HUGE. He also meets Helga (a Hereford with no white spots). When it’s time for the annual Cow Wrestling Contest, Clancy wins! But as they Belted Galloways chase the Herefords from the field, Clancy and Helga speak up. They say it’s high time that cows put aside their differences and live peacefully together. And they do!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • Brown, white, red, and black construction paper
  • Brown, white, red, and/or black poster board
  • A pair of wiggle eyes
  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • 1 cow wrestling ring (more on that later!)
  • 1 gold paper cup
  • 1 black paper cup
  • 2 strips of gold metallic poster board (approximately 1″ x 4.5″)
  • Scissors, glue and tape for construction
  • Metallic markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

First, your cow. Use construction paper to wrap and decorate a small oatmeal container. In the book, Clancy and Helga have a baby named Clanga who is brown, white, and black. So that’s what we went for.

black white brown cowSince the cows are going to get pretty beat up in the ring, I recommend using poster board for the horns, arms, and legs. We attached these with hot glue. We also did a self-adhesive foam nose and mouth, and wiggle eyes (but you can just draw these on with markers).

Your cow needs an massive opponent, so, in this corner, we have…Big Red! I made sure to use a large oatmeal container to accentuate the size ratio.

big redBig Red is constructed the exact same way as the smaller cow except that he has a sparkle stem ring through his nose, an ear tag, a mohawk, and tattoos on his arms.

cow tattoosYour cows are finished, now for the wrestling ring! The ring is basically an up-ended table with 8 rubber band ropes. Our table was 4′ x 4′. I strongly recommend using a table with fixed legs. Even a table with locking folding legs might not be able to withstand the pressure of cows being launched repeatedly from rubber bands. Here’s our table, in progress:

cow ringI had some huge 6″ rubber bands that I looped together to make the ropes, but smaller rubber bands will work too (it’ll just take a little more time to put them together). Make sure you have extra rubber bands on hand too, because we had a couple snap during the wrestling frenzy.

Once you have 8 rubber ropes, slip the first 4 ropes over the legs of the table, placing them about 6″ from the bottom of the table. The second layer of ropes should be about 9″ from the table top. To “wrestle,” pull your cow back on the rubber bands, then release it, slingshot style, towards Big Red. Here’s Marissa with the demo:


Did the kids have trouble operating the slingshot? Yes, at first some did (and we gave them the option of just throwing their cows into the ring). But after some practice and a little coaching, they learned fast. There were lots of excellent moves…

The “Classic Charge”

classic charge“No Cow Left Behind”

no cow left behind“More Cowbell Face Crunch”

cowbell crunch

While the kids were wrestling, Marissa set up a trophy decorating area. To make a trophy, cut a black paper cup down to 1.5″. Flip it over, then hot glue a gold paper cup to the top of it. Add a pair of metallic poster board handles with tape or hot glue.

As kids finished in the wrestling ring, they came to the trophy area to celebrate their victories and decorate a trophy. We had metallic markers and plastic gemstones on hand. We also had sticker labels so kids could customize the trophies with their cow’s name.

cow wrestling trophy

Crocodile Smile

crocodile smileHelp your crocodile keep that winning smile with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouth wash, and reward stickers! This project was designed by our own Miss Marissa, who, I’m delighted to report, has had some really, really good news of her own to grin about.

We read Clarabella’s Teeth by An Vrombaut (Clarion, 2003). Ruby the Rabbit, Liam the Leopard, Max the Monkey, and Zoë the Zebra can all brush their teeth quite quickly, but Clarabella the Crocodile, with her extra-wide smile, takes forever. In the course of a day, she misses playtime, lunchtime, AND tumble time. When she’s finally done brushing – doh! – it’s bedtime. Her friends put their heads together and give her a gift. An extra large toothbrush so brushing will be a snap. Now, they can all play together!

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • A box cutter
  • Green, red, white, blue, and black construction paper
  • White card stock or poster board
  • 6-8 small pieces of green self-adhesive foam (optional)
  • A strip of tagboard or poster board for a box handle
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • 1 foam bead
  • A piece of string or dental floss
  • A jumbo craft stick (mine was 8″ long)
  • 1 white cotton ball
  • 1 small rectangle of stiffened felt
  • A couple reward stickers (optional)
  • Scissors, tape, glue, and stapler for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll begin with the crocodile! Use a box cutter to slice 3 sides of a large box. The uncut 4th side of the box is the hinge of your crocodile’s mouth.

cut croc boxCover the box with green construction paper. Cut strips of pointy teeth from white card stock and attach the strips to the upper and lower parts of the mouth. We also added some self-adhesive foam nostrils and reptilian bumps, but you could simply draw these on with markers. Finally, cut a pair of eyes from white card stock, tab the bottoms, and attach them to the top of your alligator’s head with tape or glue. We used black dot stickers for pupils, but you could draw them on with markers too.

finished croc boxNext, open the alligator’s mouth and attach a red construction paper tongue. I recommend gluing or taping the tongue to the upper part of the mouth hinge like so:

croc tongueKids have pretty small hands, so Marissa added a handle to the back of the box to make it easier for them to hang onto the box. The handle was a tagboard strip, tabbed on the ends and hot glued (or taped) to the back of the box.

croc handleYour crocodile is done, now for the dental hygiene accoutrements! To make the mouth wash, wrap a toilet paper tube with construction paper. Tape a circle of construction paper to the top as a lid. Draw a label for the mouthwash, then tape (or glue) it to the tube.

mouth washTo make the toothpaste, wrap a toilet paper tube with white paper and hot glue a circle of white card stock on one end. Hot glue a foam bead in the center of the paper circle. Flatten and staple one end of the tube. Draw a label for the toothpaste, then tape (or glue) it to the tube.

toothpaste tube

To make the toothbrush, pull apart a cotton ball, and hot glue about 1/3 of it to one end of a jumbo craft stick. Flatten the cotton ball a bit, then hot glue a rectangle of stiffened felt on top of the cotton ball. Your floss can be real dental floss or white string.

brush floss stickers

You’ll notice some cool BOOM! and BAM! stickers in the above photo. These are “Superhero Stickers” from Oriental Trading Company (the set also includes ZAP!, WHAM!, SMASH! and ZAPOW!). A roll of 100 costs $2.50.

We decided to use these exclamatory stickers as rewards. After the kids had finished their projects, they carefully brushed, flossed, and rinsed their crocodile’s teeth. Then they brought their crocs to the “dentist.” Very carefully, the dentist checked out the teeth. If they looked good (and they all did), I gave them reward stickers! BAM!

Your Royal Tinyness

its a small worldIt might be a small, small world, but you can always dream big! Create a lavish, three-story castle with throne room, balcony, and bedroom with a view. And don’t forget His (or Her) Royal Tinyness, expertly fashioned from a wine cork.

We read The Tiny King by Taro Miura (Candlewick Press, 2010). Once there was a Tiny King who lived in a huge castle. He had everything he could want (a big army, enormous feasts, a huge bathtub, a gargantuan horse). But the Tiny King was sad and lonely. Happily, he falls in love with a big princess and marries her. They have ten children who fill their lives with joy, love, and laughter. That huge castle? As it turns out, it was exactly the right size!

You’ll need:

The beauty of this project is that you don’t need much beyond a paper plate, a few boxes, some construction paper, and a wine cork. And the boxes can be just about any size. Just decorate, stack, glue, and you’re done! If, however, you’d like to replicate some of the elements we incorporated, read on…

finished 3-story castleThe base of our castle is a flipped over paper plate. Remove the lid and tabs from the first box, and hot glue it to the paper plate. Add a pair of castle doors if you’d like. Our doors were made out of tagboard – they were simply hot glued in place and didn’t open and shut. To complete the “throne room,” add a rug (construction paper) and a throne (a tape core with poster board taped to the back).

castle first floorThe second floor of the castle has a balcony. Cut the tabs off your box, but leave the lid intact. Fold the box’s lid outward to create the floor of your balcony, then cut the floor to your preferred shape (we went semi-octagonal).

Hot glue the second box on top of the first box. Then shape a piece of paper (or poster board) around the perimeter of the balcony to make a railing. Tape the railing in place. Furnish the second floor with a little table (a circle of tagboard (or poster board) and a wooden spool).

castle second floorThe third floor of the castle is the bedroom. It has a window, and the wall in which the window rests opens and shuts. First, cut the tabs off your box, but leave the lid intact. Next, use a box cutter to cut a window in the box’s lid (we cut all the windows in advance). Hot glue the third box to the second box. Here’s our window:

castle third floorSince the castle is tall and narrow, we decided it would be best to have the window wall open downward (as opposed to one side or the other – too tippy!). Below you can see how the wall folds down, revealing the interior of the bedroom and a paper baking cup bed.

castle third floor open

The final step is to make the castle’s tower. This is a cone water cup hot glued to a toilet paper tube. The toilet paper tube is then hot glued to the top of the third box. And don’t forget the flag! Once all your castle pieces are stacked and glued, it’s very important to add reinforcement to the back of the boxes. We hot glued a 2.75″ x 9.75″ piece of corrugated cardboard to the back of our castle:

reinforcement on back of castleYou can decorate the castle rooms before you glue the boxes together, or you can decorate as you build. We offered construction paper, patterned paper, and fake plastic jewels to our castle architects.

golden castleWe also provided metallic markers, which produced some spectacular results. I love the gold-rimmed paper plate base in the photo above. And look at this alligator in the “moat!”

alligator in moat

And this! Gold flourishes on the tabletop and the white wall, echoing the Moroccan-influenced wall paper. Gorgeous. The pink shutters rock too.

pink shuttersThe last thing your castle needs is a king or queen! Used permanent marker to draw a face on a wine or champagne cork, then hot glue a little paper crown to the top. Wrap the remainder of the cork in paper. Done!

king cork