Do Your Own Thing

sheep-gridOne of these sheep is not like the other! Revel in your creative individualism by designing a fluffy cotton ball sheep that is utterly unique.

We read Woolbur, written by Leslie Helakoski, and illustrated by Lee Harper (Harper Collins, 2008). Woolbur doesn’t do what the other sheep are doing. He likes to run with the dogs, card his own wool, and dye himself bright blue. Despite Grandpaa’s assurances that there’s nothing to worry about, Maa and Paa spend many sleepless nights fretting. Finally, they take Woolbur aside and explain that he must be like everyone else. That’s what sheep do. Woolbur’s solution? He teaches everyone how to do the different things he was doing. Now, everyone is happily playing, exploring, and experimenting just like Woolbur!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box (mine was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • 4 toilet paper tubes
  • White construction paper
  • 1 paper (or styrofoam) bowl
  • 1 oval of tagboard or brown construction paper
  • 2 wiggle eyes
  • White cotton balls
  • Sheep decorating supplies (more on this later!)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

plain-sheepBegin with the basic sheep. Wrap 4 toilet paper tubes in white construction paper, then hot glue the tubes to the bottom of a box. Hot glue a brown oval nose and 2 wiggle eyes to a paper (or styrofoam) bowl, then hot glue the bowl to the box. Attach a pair of construction paper ears with tape (or hot glue). Finish by gluing white cotton balls to the box.

Once all the story time kids had completed a basic sheep, we brought out the art supplies so they could individualize them! In addition to the Bling Bin, we offered ribbon, color cotton balls (yellow, blue, and pink), iridescent fabric shapes, fabric flowers, fabric leaves, pipe cleaners, craft ties, and sparkle stems. Don’t forget to draw a smile on the face too!

decked-out-sheepThe results were fantastic. There were anklets, headdresses, bows, decorative wooly coats, and some very interesting tail modifications. Here’s our happy herd!

 

Copying…It’s Not Just for Cats

copy crocsCopy cats? How about copy crocodiles? What happens when everyone has to copy at least ONE element from a highly artistic crocodile? Ravishing repetitious reptiles of course!

We read The Copy Crocs, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Emily Bolam (Peachtree Pub Ltd, 2004). Crocodile is sick and tired of being bashed about in the croc pool by all of his friends. So he slips away to be alone. But everywhere he goes – slippery mud, a sun-filled river bank, a floating log in the river, even the top of a mountain – the copy crocs follow and do exactly what he’s doing. Finally, Crocodile manages to shake his friends and enjoy the splendor of his pool, all alone. But is he really enjoying it? It turns out that having some friends around is actually pretty wonderful. But so is being alone – every once in a while.

Each kid built a crocodile and decorated it, but while decorating, he/she also had to copy at least one thing from my model crocodile. We’ll begin, as we did at story time, with building the crocodile body first.

plain crocYou’ll need:

  • A rectangular box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9”)
  • 4 small rectangles of poster board for the legs (approximately 2″ x 3.5″)
  • 1 medium rectangle of poster board for the tail (approximately 3.5″ x 11.5″)
  • 1 large rectangle of poster board for the mouth (approximately 4″ x 15″)
  • 4 small strips of white construction paper for the teeth (approximately 1.5″ x 4″)
  • 2 small rectangles of poster board for the eyes (approximately 1.5″ x 2″)
  • Materials for decorating (more on that later!)
  • Scissors, tape for construction
  • Hot glue

First, cut crocodile toes in one end of 4 small rectangles of poster board. Bend the bottom of the poster board to make a foot, then bend the top to create a tab

legs 1Squeeze some hot glue on the top of the tabs, and attach each leg to the bottom of the box. For the tail, cut a medium rectangle of poster board into a pointed tail, tab the non-pointy end, and then hot glue (or tape) the tab to one end of the box. For the mouth, fold a large rectangle of poster board like so:

mouth step 1But before you attach it to the box, round the upper and lower edges to make it look more like a crocodile snout.

mouth step 2Hot glue the mouth to the box. If you’d like to add teeth, cut pointy tooth shapes into strips of white construction paper (definitely use construction paper, poster board is too heavy). Tab the tops of the tooth strips, the hot glue or tape inside the mouth. Last step – the eyes! We found that a tall and slightly rounded eye shape looked best.

croc eye shapeCut the eye shapes out of the small poster board rectangles, tab the bottoms, and hot glue (or tape) them to the top of the box. Done!

plain crocAt this point, everyone had the same croc. So we turned the kids loose with plenty of art supplies and let them decorate. Again, the only rule was to copy at least one thing from my example croc. And we made sure there was no lack of options…

decorated crocDecorating supplies included:

The resulting crocs were magnificent. I would guess that the pom-pom eyes, sparkle stem eyelashes, and the self-adhesive foam fruit shapes inside the crocodiles’ mouths were the most copied elements.

gang of crocsWhen everyone was finished, we celebrated by taking our crocs for a swim in our cozy crocodile pool (i.e. a blue sheet sheet stretched on the floor)!

swimming crocs

Hip Hat

hip hatsThe task…to make a hat that you NEVER want to take off. The resulting hats? Totally hip!

We read What a Hat! by Holly Keller (Greenwillow Books, 2003). Cousin Newton is visiting Henry and Wizzie. Newton doesn’t talk much, and when he does, he just says “No hat.” Newton simply refuses to take off his fuzzy knitted hat. He wears it at the dinner table, in the bathtub, and when he goes to bed! Henry tries to make Newton remove his hat, but it’s not happening. But when Wizzie falls prey to a local bully, Newton gives her his precious hat in order to make her feel better. And, like magic, it works!

You’ll need:

This is an incredibly simple story time project. Basically, give each kid a hat…

top hatThen decorate!

side of decorated top hatIf you want a big, floppy hat brim (and lots of kids did), begin by rounding the ends of a 14″ x 22″ piece of poster board.

hat steps 1 and 2Flip the hat upside down and place it in the center of the poster board. Use a pencil to trace the top of the hat onto the poster board.

hat step 3 Cut the traced circle out. Turn the hat right side up, and slide the poster board brim onto the hat. You might have to enlarge the circle a little to get it to slide all the way down to the base of the hat.

hat step 5Use a little hot glue to secure the poster board brim to the plastic hat, then decorate!

hat with wide brimQuick tip – if the hat is too big for your head, stuff the interior with extra tissue paper.