Extroverted Ninjas

extroverted ninjasThey say ninjas should be silent, composed, and invisible…we are not those ninjas. Make a truly eye-catching headband, belt and tunic. And forgo the nunchucks in favor of some fantastic dancing ribbons!

We read Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed by J.C. Phillipps (Viking, 2009).
Wink is a student at the Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas, taught by the formidable Master Zutsu. Unfortunately, Wink can’t be silent, can’t stop dancing, can’t stop showing up in brightly patterned clothes, and just can’t stop drawing attention to himself. Expelled from the school, Wink happens across a young boy unsuccessfully training for the circus. When Wink offers to help him find his inner balance, he discovers that while his desire to be noticed isn’t great for ninjas, it’s PERFECT for the Lucky Dragon Circus!

You’ll need:

Our headbands were 2.25″ x 21″ pieces of poster board cut down to the appropriate diameter and decorated with patterned tape and self-adhesive foam shapes. The belts were also poster board, but slightly wider and longer (we started at 3″ x 28″ and then cut them down to the appropriate girth).

You can use a stapler to secure the headband together, but for the belt, we punched holes in either end and laced ribbon through the holes. Here’s a shot of the headband and belt from the back. Sorry this is a bit blurry (LOTS of jumping, dancing, and running that day!)

back of tunicTo make the tunic, cut a slit in the center of a big rectangle of plastic table cloth (I definitely don’t recommend going any bigger than a 39.5″ x 47″ rectangle). Stick your head through the slit and let the tablecloth drape like a poncho. Next, tie the poster board belt around your waist. Instant tunic! Trim the bottom and shoulders of the tunic as needed, then decorate it with patterned tape and self-adhesive foam shapes.

They kids had a great time putting together their costumes, but the REAL fun came when we made dance ribbons. These are the exact same dance ribbons I created for a Frozen magic project. All you need are 2 dowel rods, a metallic tablecloth, and tape.

let it go 2

I bought my metallic tablecloths from Oriental Trading Company (a 54″ x 6′ tablecloth costs $3.25). To make 1 set of dance ribbons, spread out the tablecloth and cut 8 ribbons from it. Here are my ribbon measurements (you can adjust yours according to the height of your child):

  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 41″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 49″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 60″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 66″

Bunch 4 ribbons (one of each size) together, twist tightly, and tape securely to one end of a wooden dowel with colored masking tape. Continue wrapping the tape downward and around the dowel until it’s covered. Repeat the above steps with a second dowel. Definitely wait until the very end to make ribbons, because once the kids get them…it gets crazy!

ninja dance ribbonsWithout a doubt, this is a high-energy-get-your-wiggles-out-lots-of-fun story time project. So make sure you have plenty of space. For there will be bouncing, kicking, twirling and leaping!

leaping ninja

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

Bird, House, Hat

bird house hatEvery bird needs a home, and this deluxe house has everything one needs – doors, windows, a chimney, flowers, and a white picket fence. Best of all, it’s a HAT!

We read Brimsby’s Hats by Andrew Prahin (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Brimsby the hatmaker lives in a quiet cottage. His life is full of making hats and chatting with his best friend over tea. But one morning, his friend announces that he’s off to pursue adventures on the high seas, and Brimsby becomes very lonely. Trudging through the snow on a solitary walk, he finds some birds who might make good friends. Unfortunately, they’re too busy shoveling snow out of their nests to chat. That gives Brimsby a tremendous idea. He eagerly sets to work, making hat houses for all the birds. Once the hat houses are in place, there’s no more snow shoveling, no more freezing nights, and the birds are free to visit their new friend!

You’ll need:

This is an incredibly easy project that only involves a few steps:

  1. Circle the crown of the hat with construction paper and/or patterned paper
  2. Create a hatband using the white picket fences from the template
  3. Cut, color, and attach the windows, door, and welcome mat from the template
  4. Add tissue paper shrubs (hot glue is best when attaching these to the hat)
  5. Attach flowers from the template to pipe cleaner stems, then tape them to the hat

If you’d like a chimney, roll a piece of construction paper into a 4″ tube, cut three, 1″ tabs in the bottom, spread the tabs, and attach them to the top of hat using tape or hot glue.

finished house hatNow for the bird! Wrap a toilet paper tube in white construction paper. Then, wrap another color of construction paper three-quarters of the way around the bird, thus creating a white tummy. Add wings, eyes, and a beak (our beak was a snippet of self-adhesive foam). Tape a small feather to the top of the tube.

bird for houseIntroduce the bird to its new home (if the hats are a little big, stuff them with tissue paper)!

bird meets house