Ice Capades

ice-capadesTwirl, leap, coast and spin! The skating rink is open and you’re invited to strut your stuff, courtesy of a magnet attached to the bottom of a toilet paper tube skater. If things start to get a little chilly, glide through our cozy hot chocolate shack for a fill up!

hot-chocolate-stopWe read Little Red Gliding Hood, written by Tara Lazar, and illustrated by Troy Cummings (Random House, 2015). Little Red is a great skater, but her ice skates have definitely seen better days. When a skating competition is announced, along with a prize of brand new skates, Little Red is thrilled. Unfortunately, it’s a pairs skating competition, and she has no partner. Unfortunately, while searching for a partner, she encounters the Big Bad Wolf! After a face-paced and spirited chase across the ice, he finally catches her. But he’s not going to eat her…he just wanted to tell her that her laces were untied! Turns out the not-so-bad Wolf needs new skates too, and he’s a great skater to boot. The day of the competition, Little Red and the Wolf enter the completion. They put on such a great performance, the judges give them a perfect 10 and the grand prize!

You’ll need:

  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • 2 circles of tagboard or cardboard (approximately 1.75″ in diameter)
  • Construction paper, various colors
  • 4 s
  • 2 champagne (or wine) corks
  • 1 small tissue box
  • 1 hot chocolate shack template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 8 medium craft sticks (4.5″ long)
  • 1 skating rink (more on that later!)
  • Tape and scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll begin with the skaters, which are toilet paper tubes with magnets glued to the bottoms of them. Later, the skaters’ magnets will connect with a magnet wand held underneath the cardboard skating rink. Move the magnet wand, and the skater magically glides!

First, hot glue 2 tagboard circles to the bottoms of 2 toilet paper tubes. Definitely use hot glue – you really want those circle to stay adhered to the tubes.

skater-tube-circlesNext, use construction paper and markers to turn your tubes into a pair of ice skaters. In keeping with the book, one of our skaters was Little Red, and the other was the Big Bad Wolf. Katie put this adorable duo together, and added a bit of red ribbon for Red’s hood and the Wolf’s sash.

skating-duoHot glue a button magnet to the bottom of each tube.The bigger the magnet, the better the results on the rink! Our magnets were 0.75″ in diameter. We tried smaller ones, but they just couldn’t keep the connection.

magnet-on-bottom-of-skaterNext, hot glue button magnets to the bottoms of 2 corks (but test to make sure the skater magnets and the wand magnets attract before hot gluing them to the corks). We used champagne corks because they have a bulge at the bottom that was easier for little kids to grip. But wine corks work too.

skater-magnet-corkNow for the hot chocolate shack! Cut the bottom and 2 sides off a small tissue box. Your shack should have no floor, and the doorways should be tall enough for your skaters to glide through easily.

shack-boxWe used tagboard for the sides of the shack and the roof, but construction paper works too. Cut and color the sign and 2 windows from the shack template and attach them to the shack. We reinforced the sides of the box by gluing craft sticks on above and below the windows and on both sides of the doorways. The final touch – a chimney- is totally optional. Cut a bubble tea straw down to 6.75″ and add a little polyester fill smoke rising from it.

hot-chocolate-shack

Now for the ice skating rink. We snagged a huge, 3″ x 63″ box lid through this program. Since kids needed to reach underneath the rink, we hot glued four 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft boxes in each corner, and reinforced them with packing tape.

ice-rink-on-boxesPlace your skater on the top of the box, then place your magnet wand underneath the box. The magnets will connect through the cardboard, and you can start skating!

skater-on-icePlunk your hot chocolate shack down, crank up the Tchaikovsky, and skate!

on-the-ice

We learned that if you tilt the magnet cork juuuust so while you’re pulling your skater, you can actually make him/her spin rapidly. Check out these fantastic moves:


When story time was over, the giant skating rink stayed at the library for a future project. But we did give each kid a 14″ cardboard cake circle to continue the skating fun at home.

Looking for another way to enjoy the ice? How about a little ice fishing? Or maybe you need a little frozen magic? Or you might be dreaming of spring

Chick Magnet

barnyard with magnetThis little farm is fun, but adventure takes on a new meaning when your pom pom chick starts exploring on his/her own, compliments of a magnet wand underneath the base!

We read Good Morning, Chick by Mirra Ginsberg, illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow Books, 1989). A newly hatched chick explores a barnyard and learns about animals, sounds, and…getting wet! The plot is very simple, but this book reads in a lovely, fun, and engaging way – especially if you invite kids to make sounds and imitate movements along with you.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small yellow pom-pom
  • 2 tiny wiggle eyes
  • 1 tiny orange construction paper triangle for chick’s “beak”
  • 2 button magnets
  • 1 flat corrugated cardboard base (mine was 7.5″ x 15″)
  • 1 small box (mine was 2” x 3” x 3”)
  • Red construction paper
  • 1 piece of brown poster board for barn roof (mine was 3″ x 4″)
  • 1 piece of brown poster board for tunnel (mine was 2.5″ x 4″)
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Green tissue paper
  • 1 fence and sunflower template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 green pipe cleaners, cut into thirds.
  • 1 small piece of blue cellophane (mine was 2″ x 4″)
  • Green construction paper
  • 1 wooden spool
  • Markers for decorating
  • Scissors, white glue, and tape for construction
  • Hot glue

For this project, it’s important to make the chick first. You will need the chick to measure the various openings you create in your barn, tree, fences, and tunnel. It would be tragic to get everything glued down and then realize your chick won’t fit!

I prepped the chicks in advance, using white glue to attach 2 wiggle eyes and the orange construction paper beak to a yellow pom-pom. Then I hot glued the chick to the button magnet.

chick magnetNow for the farm! We’ll start with the biggest object first – the barn. Here are the steps I used to create it. Your barn might vary slightly, depending on the size and shape of your box. The box I used had a lid at the top, and four tabs on the bottom that interlocked to create the bottom of the box.

barn step 1I cut the lid off the box entirely, and then flipped the box over so the interlocking tabs were facing upwards (the above image on the right).

One important thing to note – the bottom of your barn needs to be open. Meaning, the “floor” of the barn is actually the corrugated cardboard base. This is so the chick magnet can slide in and out of the barn.

barn step 2To make the roof of the barn, I cut two of the interlocking tabs into triangles to form the “front” and “back” of the roof.  Then I folded the other two tabs together to form the peak of the roof. Trim and tape securely.

barn step 3Next, I cut out the barn doors. Make sure you measure to make sure the chick fits through the doors!

barn step 4Cover the barn with red construction paper, and add a brown poster board roof. Use markers to add some details.

finished barnThe tree is next! Cut four tabs in one end of a toilet paper tube like so:

tube tabsThen cut a entryway at the base of the tube for your chick. Make sure to measure!

tree testTo create foliage for your tree, ball up some green tissue paper and glue it to the tube tabs. Use markers to add a hole and some “bark” on the tree.

finished treeTo create the pond, draw some fish and frogs on the corrugated cardboard base. Then tape a piece of blue cellophane over your drawing. Try to make the cellophane as flat as possible, so your chick magnet can glide over the pond and take a “swim.”

pondTo make a sunflower garden, color and tape the flowers from the template onto the pieces of green pipe cleaner. Then bend the bottom of the pipe cleaner into an “L” shape and tape it to the corrugated cardboard base.

The fences on the template can go just about anywhere, but if you want to create a corner fence like mine, follow these steps. Cut the fences from the template, making sure to leave some space below the fence for your tab. Then, fold along the dotted line of the fence.

fence step 1Now you have a tab that attaches the fence to the corrugated cardboard base.

fence step 2Cut a slit in the middle of the tab…

fence step 3Then fold inward and tape the corner securely.

fence step 4Your corner fence is complete! And don’t forget…if you want your chick to get through the fence, make sure to cut a hole for him/her (and measure, measure, measure!).

finished fenceFor the tunnel, tab the bottom of each side of the brown poster board, and then fold and shape it into a tunnel. And…let’s say it all together now…don’t forget to measure your chick!

tunnelWhen all the pieces are complete, hot glue them to the corrugated cardboard base (the tunnel, however, does better if it’s taped). We used green tissue paper (crumbled and glued) and fringed green construction paper (secured with tape) for landscaping. We also added some details with markers (including worms for the chick to eat).

birds eye view farmThe final step, of course, is the magnet wand. This is simply a button magnet hot glued to the top of the wooden spool. HOWEVER…before you hot glue it, test it out on the chick magnet. Make SURE that the two magnets attract (rather than repel).

magnet connection checkOnce you’ve confirmed that the magnets attract, glue the magnet onto the spool.

magnet holderTo set the farm in motion, place the chick on top of the corrugated cardboard base. Place the magnet wand underneath the base and slide it over to the chick. The two magnets will connect through the base, and your chick can explore the farm!