This Tea Party RULES

this-tea-party-rules

It might look like a proper tea table with matching teapot, cups, saucers, sugar bowl, creamer, and a platter of cookies. But beware! Your guests want those cookies something fierce, and aren’t afraid to get grabby in our fast-paced cookie snatching game! Video, of course, at the end of the post.

We read Tea Party Rules, written by Ame Dyckman, and illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Viking, 2013). A bear cub follows the delicious smell of cookies to a little girl’s tea party. Pretending to be the girl’s stuffed bear, the cub eagerly awaits the moment when he can devour the cookies. He’s got her completely fooled, but then the girl decides that her toy bear needs to follow the “Tea Party Rules.” In other words, he needs to be clean, neat, fancy, and dainty. Poor Cub is subjected to a bath, ribbons, perfume and a dress. But when it comes time for a lecture on dainty eating, he snaps. He attacks the cookies. When only one cookie remains, Cub stops. Suddenly, he realizes that he’s not only ruined the tea party, he’s made the girl very sad. So he gives the final cookie to her. Does she eat daintily? No she does not. She decides it’s time to play BEAR!

You’ll need:

  • 9 – 10 paper cups
  • 1 corrugated cardboard base (I used a 9.75″ x 13.75″ cake pad)
  • A selection of patterned tape
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 1 small paper plate (mine was 7″ in diameter)
  • 1 spouts template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Extra poster board for tea set handles, spouts, and sugar tongs
  • 1 small pom-pom
  • 2 circles of white poster board (approximately 3.5″ in diameter)
  • 3 circles of tag board or brown poster board (approximately 3.5″ in diameter)
  • 3 button magnets
  • 1 rectangle of or brown poster board (approximately 2.5″ x 9.25″)
  • 1 rectangle of white poster board (approximately 3.5″ x 9.25″)
  • 2 jumbo paper clips (mine were 2″ long)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

finished-tea-tableThis project consists of 1) A tea set with cookies; and 2)  A pair hand grabbers for the snatching game. The cookies have magnets hot glued to them, and the hand grabbers have paper clips taped to them. Thus, when the hand slaps down on the cookie, it picks it up!

glove-with-cookieWe’ll begin with the tea set. To make the table, hot glue 4 paper cups to the bottom of a corrugated cardboard base. The cookie platter is a flipped-over cup hot glued to a small paper plate. You don’t want the cookie platter to be too tall, so you can either cut a full size paper cup down to 2.25″ inches, or use a shorter cup (we used 3.5oz plastic drinking cups from Target). Decorate the platter and table with patterned tape, colored masking tape, and/or markers. Then hot glue the platter firmly to the top of the table.

tea-tableTo make the teapot, flip a paper cup over, then tape (or hot glue) a poster board handle to one side. Cut the spout from the template and trace it onto white poster board. Fold the tea pot spout in half (the fold is marked with a solid black line on the template). Next, fold the spout’s tabs outward (the tabs are marked with dotted lines on the template). Attach the tabs to the tea pot with tape (or hot glue). Finish by hot gluing a small pom-pom to the top of the tea pot.

tea-pot-and-tea-cupsTo make tea cups, cut 2 paper cups down to 2″. Use tape (or hot glue) to attach a white poster board handle to the side of each cup. Then place the cups on a white poster board “saucers.” Decorate the teapot, cups, and saucers with patterned tape, colored masking tape, and/or markers.

Next up – the sugar bowl and creamer. To make the sugar bowl, cut a paper cup down to 1.5″. Drop a paper baking cup inside for extra flair. To make tongs, fold a narrow strip of poster board in half. Those cute little sugar cubes? Foam packing peanuts, cut in half.

sugar-bowl-and-creamerThe creamer is a paper cup cut down to 2″. Cut the creamer spout from the template, and trace it into poster board. Fold the spout in half (the fold is marked with a solid black line on the template). Next, fold the spout’s tabs outward (the tabs are marked with dotted lines on the template). Attach the tabs to the cup with tape (or hot glue). We filled the creamer with white cotton ball “cream.”

Finally…the cookies. These are circles of tagboard (or poster board) decorated with markers. We made 3 cookies per kid. Hot glue a button magnet to the back of each cookie.

magnet-cookies

Now for the game! We had 2 hand grabbers – a bear paw and a fancy white glove. To make the bear’s paw, round one end of a 2.5″ x 9.25″ strip of tag board (or brown poster board). To make the glove, cut a hand in one end of a 3.5″ x 9.25″ strip of white poster board. Tape a jumbo paperclip across the palms of both grabbers.

game-handsReady to play? Have 2 kids select a grabber and sit down at the table. On “Go!” each kid must use his/her grabber to quickly remove cookies from the platter. The kid who grabs the most cookies, wins!

It’s a Bouncing Baby…WOLF?!?

it's a bouncing baby wolfThere’s a new arrival in the family, but this baby has fur, fangs, a propensity to howl at the moon, and a very wolfish grin! You’ll be fully prepared for parenthood, however, with a bottle, diapers, blanket, bunny snuggle toy, and customized diaper bag.

We read Wolfie the Bunny, written by Ame Dyckman, and illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Little, Brown, 2015). When a wicker basket appears on the Bunny family’s doorstep, they are surprised to discover it contains a baby wolf! Big sister Dot repeatedly warns her parents “He’s Going to Eat Us All Up!” but Mama and Papa Bunny are too busy doting on the new baby to listen. The bigger Wolfie grows, the more worried Dot becomes. Even dressing Wolfie in a giant pink bunny costume does nothing to ease Dot’s dire predictions of consumption. One fateful day, while Dot and Wolfie are at the store buying carrots, a burly bear mistakes Wolfie for a bunny and tries to eat him. But brave Dot intervenes and scares the Bear off. Wolfie seizes the moment to pounces on Dot. Is this it? Does Wolfie want to eat Dot? No, he just wants to give her a great big thank you hug.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • 1 baby wolf template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 very small plastic cups (between 1-1.25oz)
  • Gray felt or construction paper
  • 1 medium pom-pom (approximately 0.75″ in diameter)
  • 1 pair of wiggle eyes
  • 1-2 baby diapers (optional)
  • 1 manilla file folder, letter size
  • 1 ribbon (mine was 45″ long)
  • A selection of patterned tape
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 fleece blanket (mine was 12″ x 29.5″)
  • Scissors, tape, stapler, and hole punch for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

This oatmeal container wolf can be decorated with gray construction paper. But we wanted our wolves to be extra cuddly, and splurged on gray felt.  The issue with felt, of course, is that you have to use hot glue to really adhere it to the oatmeal container. Alas, hot gluing 22 wolves in 45 minutes while simultaneously completing the other parts of this project with the kids wasn’t possible. So we prepped all the felt wolves in advance.

The construction is very simple. Wrap the oatmeal container with felt (or paper). Hot glue the arms, legs, ears, wiggle eyes, and tail to the container. Wrap a small plastic cup with felt (I used Solo 1.25oz plastic portion cups from Party City), then hot glue a jumbo pom-pom on the end. Attach the cup to the face with hot glue. We a snippet of black felt to make a mouth with little card stock fangs underneath it (you could also draw the mouth and fangs with with markers).

finished baby wolfOne of the things that delighted the kids was that the baby wolves wore real diapers. I grabbed some Target brand newborn diapers (36 diapers cost $5.99).

finished baby wolf with diapersYour wolf is done, now for some accessories! Here’s the diaper bag we made. It was stuffed with an extra diaper, a baby bottle, a bunny snuggle toy, and a fleece baby blanket.

wolf diaper bagTo make the diaper bag, staple the sides of a manila folder together, then add some patterned tape to cover the staples. To make the strap, punch holes in the sides of the folder and knot a ribbon through each hole. Decorate the diaper bag with markers.

To make a baby bottle, wrap a toilet paper tube with white paper, then draw marks and numbers up the side to represent ounces. Finish by taping a small plastic cup to the top.

wolf baby bottleThe bunny snuggle toy is on the template. You can cut and use it directly from the template, or you can do what we did and trace the bunny onto white poster board. Decorate the bunny with patterned tape and/or markers, and hot glue a mini pom-pom tail to the back if you like.

bunny snuggle toyOnce the kids were finished with the diaper bag and all its contents, they selected a fleece blanket for their baby (we offered pink, blue, and purple). Then everyone lined up and a “doctor” (played by a game 7 year-old) went to the “nursery” and delivered a baby wolf to each kid (“Congratulations! It’s a wolf!”). It was hilarious to watch kids get diapering pointers from their parents. Some kids settled down to give their wolves a quiet bottle feeding, others whipped their wolf’s diapers off and ran around howling. Different parenting styles at work. It’s all good.

bottle feeding baby wolf

Robot Fun

robot puppetWhat could be more fun than a robot pal to play with? Ooooohhhhh yeaaaaaah!

We read Boy + Bot, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf Books, 2012). One day, a boy meets a robot. The new friends have a blast playing together, but while rolling down a hill, Bot’s power switch is accidentally bumped off. The boy tries everything (applesauce, story, bedtime) to take care of his unresponsive friend, but nothing works. Exhausted, the boy falls asleep. While the boy is sleeping, his parents unknowingly switch Bot back on. Bot, distressed that the boy is not responding, tries everything to revive him (oil, instructional manual, battery). Finally, the Inventor sets Bot straight, the boy wakes, and they run off to play once more.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box for the robot’s body (I used a 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½” box)
  • 1 smaller box for the robot’s head (I used a 4” x 4” x 4” box)
  • 2 extra-long pieces of clear clear elastic beading cord
  • 2 craft sticks
  • Masking tape
  • A box cutter
  • 4 poster board strips for the arms and legs
  • Hot glue
  • Art supplies to decorate your robot. This could be anything – sparkle stems, tin foil, mylar, shiny paper, stickers, etc.
  • An assortment of beverage caps (optional)
  • Scissors, tape and glue sticks for construction
  • 1 wooden dowel

The first step is to super-duper secure the elastic cords to your robot’s body.  This is important because the robot is really going to get bopped around. Wrap each piece of elastic cord around a craft stick, double knot it, and cover the knot with masking tape like so:

prepped cordThen, use the box cutter to make two vertical slits in the “shoulders” of the robot. Starting INSIDE the box, thread the cord through the slit and then pull until the taped craft stick is right up against the inside of the box. Repeat on the other side.

cord throughYou don’t need to secure the craft stick inside the box. In fact, it’s better if it wiggles because it produces a bouncier robot! With the cords dangling outside the body, hot glue the head, arms, and legs. I also offered a choice of beverage caps for eyes, ears, buttons, and hot glued them on.

Now it’s time to decorate! I broke out the Bling Bin, heaped even more metallic supplies on the tables, and told the kids to let their imaginations go wild! While they were working, I walked my robot around the art tables for inspiration. I was quite proud her dainty robot shoes.

robot shoeWhen the decorating is done, rig your robot up to the wooden dowel. Start by dangling your robot from the elastic cords so its feet are touching the floor. Then, wrap the elastic cords around the ends of the dowel and secure them with masking tape.

final cordsFinished! We walked our robots around the gallery in a sparkly, bouncy parade, but you can also put on some music and host an awesome robot dance party!