Come On Get Snappy

get snappySnapdragon anyone? I’ve offered this simple project at a number of programs in the past, and it’s always well-received. “Snappy” has decorated the edges of a swamp at a Halloween party, hid in an Alice in Wonderland garden, and grown out of pots at a “Primordial Plants” event table!

event tableYou’ll need:

  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 small rectangle of green construction paper for head (approximately 1.5″ x 3″)
  • A sliver of red construction paper for tongue
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Extra green construction paper for leaves

First, fold the green construction paper rectangle in half to form Snappy’s mouth. Tab the ends of the mouth, then cut out teeth.

mouth stepsMake sure to leave a gap in the lower teeth (this is where the tongue will rest later).

gapNext, punch a hole in the back of Snappy’s head…

punched holeThen thread a green pipe cleaner through the hole. Twist the pipe cleaner around and thread it through the hole once again. Pull gently to tighten, then curl the end.

stem steps Cut the sliver of red construction paper to look like a forked tongue and tape (or glue) it into the mouth.

tongueUse markers to draw eyes. I added my eyes at the very end, but younger kids might have an easier time drawing the eyes earlier, such as before they attach the head to the pipe cleaner stem.

close up of faceTape the pipe cleaner stem inside the paper cup. Use extra green construction paper to add foliage. Done! Perhaps you can test out your new Snappy skills with this garden story time?

Surely You Jest

court jesterIt’s comedy old school style with this jester motley (a.k.a. “cap ‘n bells”) and scepter (a.k.a. “bauble”). A scroll of hilarious jokes is included, such as: Why did Cinderella lose the football game? Because her coach was a pumpkin! Oh ho ho!

We read Serious Trouble by Arthur Howard (Voyager Books, 2007). Prince Ernest has very serious parents who expect him to proceed seriously through life and eventually rule the kingdom. Seriously. The problem is, Ernest wants to be a jester. But his occupational dream couldn’t come at a worse time, because the kingdom is being threatened by a terrible three-headed dragon. When Ernest sneaks out of the castle to practice some jokes, he unfortunately runs into the dragon. The grumpy dragon agrees to let him go if Ernest can make him laugh. Can the princely comic deliver? Of course he can (it helps that dragons are way ticklish)!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large poster board strip for hat band (approximately 2.5″ x 22″)
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 3 poster board triangles in different colors (mine were approximately 8″ at the base and 17.5″ tall).
  • 5 medium pom-poms (mine were 1″)
  • 6 jingle bells
  • 1 paper towel tube
  • 1 piece of construction paper, any color
  • Multiple pieces of curling ribbon
  • Multiple pieces of fabric ribbon
  • 1 small rectangle of construction paper (approximately 2.75″ x 6.5″)
  • 1 jester head template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 3 small pom-poms (mine were 0.5″)
  • 1 set of Ye Olde Funny Jokes, printed on standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Stapler, hole punch, scissors, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

jester hatStart with the hat! Decorate the large strip of poster board with colored tape. Then circle it around your head, remove, and staple to create a hat band. For the pointy part of your hat, use long poster board triangles that look like this:

trianglesTuck each triangle inside the hat band and staple into place. It’s absolutely OK if the bases of the triangles overlap. In fact, it looks rather snazzy.

overlap okNext, punch a hole at the end of each triangle. You want the hole to be close to the tip of the triangle, but not so close that the jingle bell might tear loose.

triangle holeThread a small piece of curling ribbon through each jingle bell, and then knot a bell through each hole. Don’t knot the ribbon too tight, or it will cut through the poster board!

bellFinish by hot gluing 5 medium pom-poms around the exterior of the hat band. Done!

hot glue hatNow for your scepter. Wrap a paper towel tube with construction paper, and use colored masking tape to add some stripes. Then, take a 5.5″ piece of colored masking tape and place it sticky side up on the table. Gently press the ends of the curling and fabric ribbon onto the tape. Include at least 3 pieces of curling ribbon.

ribbonWrap the ribbon tape around the top of the paper towel tube BUT…drop it about 1″ from the top of the tube.

wrapped ribbonTrim the ribbon if it seems too long, and then knot a jingle bell onto each curling ribbon (the fabric ribbon is too soft for threading). Next, cut a zig-zag pattern into the small rectangle of construction paper…

collarThen wrap it around the top of the paper towel tube. Like the ribbon tape, you’ll want to drop the zig-zag paper about 1″ from the top of the tube.

wrapped collarUse markers to color the jester head template, then curl the long tabs of the template around the top of the paper towel tube and fasten with tape. Finish by hot gluing 3 small pom-poms on the ends of the hat.

finished scepter All you need now are jokes! I printed the joke sheets in advance and used a piece of curling ribbon to turn them into scrolls. Then I hid the jokes around the gallery and turned it into a jester quest. The gallery was full of giggling, jingling kids. It was fabulous!

If you are in need of a dragon to accompany this project, try this fella!

D is for Dragon

d is for dragonDragons are always popular at our story times. Who doesn’t love a dragon? This dragon is simple to construct, but allows plenty of room for creativity.

We read East Dragon, West Dragon written by Robyn Eversole and illustrated by Scott Campbell (Atheneum Books, 2012). The East Dragon and the West Dragon lives on opposite sides of the earth, but both have heard of the others’ long tail, mighty wings, and massive fire power. So they stay away from each other. However, after a funny political mishap (involving dragon-paranoid knights and the introduction of the honorable court dragons of the East) the two dragons must meet to sort out the mess – and rescue each other in the process. They become great friends and throw the ultimate dragon party.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (I used a 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½” white craft box, but a large tissue box works too)
  • 1 dragon head template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 1 wings template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • White poster board pieces for tail and legs
  • A selection of eye stickers
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • A selection of construction paper
  • Gold heavy weight paper for wings (optional)
  • Markers for decoration
  • Scissors and scotch tape for construction

Since I was going to run this program without an assistant, I prepped the head, wings, legs, and tails in advance.

You can certainly use the head and wings templates as they are – meaning,  printed on card stock. However, since I knew I would be using colored masking tape and other weighty art materials, I traced the head template onto poster board, and the wings onto gold faux leather paper I had left over from another program.

After you’ve cut the dragon’s head from them template, fold it along the little dotted line to create the “nose.”

little dotted lineThen fold the thicker dotted lines at the base of the neck outwards. This creates the tabs that allow you to tape the dragon’s head to its body. And don’t forget the sticker eyes!

fold tabs outCut the tail and legs from poster board. My tail was about 3.5″ x 14.5″ and the legs were 1.5″ x 5″

tail and legDuring the story time, we decorated the box first, then we decorated the head, tail, and legs before we taped them on the box. After all of those items were attached, we added pipe cleaner “horns,” construction paper spines, wings, and I brought out the Bling Bin for some extra touches (and, as always, the hot glue gun was ready and waiting)!

During story time, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this marvelous dragon, with its super-special mobility modification…

dragon feetWish I had thought of that!